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The Johnstown Flood

The summer of 1889 will ever be memorable for its appalling disasters by flood and flame. In that period fell the heaviest blow of the nineteenth century—a blow scarcely paralleled in the histories of civilized lands. Central Pennsylvania, a centre of industry, thrift and comfort, was deslolated by floods unprecedented in the records of the great waters. On both sides of the Alleghenies these ravages were felt in terrfic power, but on the western slope their terrors were infinitely multiplied by the bursting of the South Fork Reservoir, letting out millions of tons of water, which, rushing madly down the rapid descent of the Conemaugh Valley, washed out all its busy villages and hurled itself in a deadly torrent on the happy borough of Johnstown. The frightful aggravations which followed the coming of this torrent have waked the deepest sympathies of this nation and of the world, and the history is demanded in permanent form, for those of the present day, and for the generation to come.

MAP of the Area

From Engineering News
The Locomotives at Conemaugh
The Railroad Bridge that Held

Photographs of the Catastrophe

Debris Above the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge
Last Trains in and out of Harrisburg
Clearing the Railroad Tracks
Repairing Damages on the Pennsylvania Railroad
View of the Burned Roman Catholic Church of St. John
Ruins of the Cambria Iron Works
Ruins Showing the Path of the Flood
Johnstown—View Corner Main and Clinton Streets
View on Clinton Street, Johnstown
Third Street, Williamsport, Pa., During Flood
Wreck of the Iron Bridge at Wiliamsport, Pa.
Seventh Street, Washington, D.C., Under the Flood

Chapters from the History of the Johnstown Flood—1889

Chapter III.---Drawing of the Fatal Day—Darkness and Rain—Rumors of Evil—The Warning Voice Unheeded—A Whirlwind of Watery Death—Fate of a Faithful Telegrapher—What an Eye-Witness Saw—A Solid Wall of Water Rushing Down the Valley

Chapter IV.---The Pathway of the Torrent—Human Beings Swept away like Chaff—The Twilight of Terror—The Wreck of East Conemaugh—Annihilation of Woodvale—Locomotives Tossed about like Cockle-shells by the Mighty Malestrom

Chapter VI.---Pictures of the Flood Drawn by Eye-witness—A Score of Locomotives Swallowed Up—Railroad Cars Swept Away—Engineers who would not Abandon their Posts—Awful Scenes from a Car Window—A Race for Life—Victims of the Flood

Chapter IX.---Stories of Railroad Men and Travelers who were in the Midst of the Catastrophe—A Trains Race with the Wave—Houses Crushed like Eggshells—Relics of the Dead in Tree tops—A Night of Horrors—Fire and Flood Commingled—Lives Lost for the Sake of a Pair of Shoes

Chapter XI.---The Flight to the Mountains—Saving a Mother and her Babe—The Hillsides Black with Refugees—An Engineer's Story—How the Dam Gave Away—Great Trees Snapped off like Pipe-stems by the Torrent

Chapter XV.---A Birds Eye View of the Ruined City—Conspicuous Features of the Disaster—The Railroad Lines—Stones and Iron Tossed about like Driftwood—An Army Officer's Valuable Services in Restoring and Maintaining Order

Chapter XVI.---Clearing a Road up the Creek—Fantastic Forms of Ruin—An Abandoned Locomotive with No Rails to Run On—Iron Beams Bent like Willow Twigs—Night in the Valley—Scenes and Sounds of an Inferno

Chapter XIX.---Newspaper Correspondents Making their Way In—The Railroads Helpless—Hiring a Special Train—Making Desperate Speed—First Faces of the Flood—Through to Johnstown at Last

Chapter XXVI.---Breaking up the Ruins and Burying the Dead—Innumerable Funerals—The Use of Dynamite—The Holocaust at the Bridge—The Cambria Iron Works—Pulling out Trees with Locomotives

Chapter XXVIII.---Recovering from the Blow—The Voice of the Locomotive Heard Again—Scenes Day by Day Amid the Ruins and at the Morgue—Strange Salvage from the Flood—A Family of Little Children

Chapter XXX.---Scenes at the Relief Stations—The Grand Army of the Republic in Command—Imposing Scenes at the Railroad Station—Cars Loaded with Goods for the Relief of the Destitute

Chapter XXXVI.---The Ubiquitious Reporter Getting There—Desperate Traveling through a Storm-swept Country—Special Trains and Special Teams—Climbing Across the Mountains—Rest for the Weary in a Hay Mow

Chapter XLI.---Fire following the Flood—Ghastly Sacrafices at the Railroad Bridge—Burning Wreckage—Many Houses Destroyed by Conflagration

 
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