Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Saint Michael in Cambria County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Unger House

 
 
The Unger House Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., June 26, 2009
1. The Unger House Marker
Inscription. Col. Elias J. Unger, who served as manager of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, built this house in the mid-1880s. From here he had a commanding view of the club's lake and dam.

On May 31, 1889, Unger supervised a group of laborers in a desperate attempt to save the dam. Defeated by the waters, Unger trudged back up the hill to his house and collapsed as the flood wave roared toward Johnstown.

The aging Unger House and property were added to Johnstown Flood National Memorial in 1981 to help preserve the historic scene. The house had been abandoned for more than a decade, but the National Park Service was able to save most of the house and return it to its 1889 appearance. Restoration work was completed in 1989, 100 years after the great flood.

“Thursday night when I went to bed the water was no higher than usual; but it rained that night, and when I rose in the morning the water was high. I went down to the dam and soon found the water in the big body rising an inch in every 10 minutes.” Elias J. Unger, Pittsburgh Post interview, June 3, 1889

[Photo caption at bottom right of marker] The Unger House in October 1984, before restoration. Preservation specialists removed and replaced rotted sections of timber, and replicated missing hardware. Today the exterior looks much
The Unger House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., June 26, 2009
2. The Unger House and Marker
Looking south.
as it did in 1889.
[Caption at bottom left] The Unger House contains offices for park staff and is not open to the public.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 40° 20.969′ N, 78° 46.278′ W. Marker is in Saint Michael, Pennsylvania, in Cambria County. Click for map. Marker is adjacent to the Unger House, about 100 feet south of the Johnstown Flood National Memorial visitor center, off Lake Road. Marker is in this post office area: South Fork PA 15956, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Dam Melts Away (a few steps from this marker); Lake Conemaugh (a few steps from this marker); May 31, 1889 (within shouting distance of this marker); The South Fork Dam (approx. 0.2 miles away); Johnstown Flood (approx. 0.7 miles away); American Legion Post 551 Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.8 miles away); Saint Michael World War II Honor Roll (approx. 1.2 miles away); Sgt Michael Strank (approx. 6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Saint Michael.
 
Categories. DisastersMan-Made FeaturesNotable EventsNotable PersonsWaterways & Vessels
 
1889 Photo of the Unger House image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., June 26, 2009
3. 1889 Photo of the Unger House
"This 1889 photo, taken from across the valley, shows the Unger House and outbuildings shortly after the flood. The exterior of today's Visitor Center was designed to resemble Unger's barn which collapsed in 1975.
1. Unger's barn
2. The Unger House
3. Unger's spring house
4. Cross section of breached dam
5. Spillway bridge
6. Drained lake bed"
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,484 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement