Saint Michael in Cambria County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Dam Melts Away
On that rainy morning, Col. Elias J. Unger began supervising efforts to save the dam. Unger, who was then President of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, lived in the house beside this exhibit. With a crew of some 15 laborers he tried to dig an auxiliary spillway on the far end of the dam, then tried to make the dam higher by plowing the dam's crest and piling up the dirt. Nothing worked.
At 3:15 p.m., the dam gave way. The center of the dam seemed to “melt away” under the force of the flood. And, as one witness observed, “the entire lake began to move.”
“God have mercy on the people below.”
Rev. G. W. Brown
Eyewitness at South Fork Dam
May 31, 1889
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 40° 20.956′ N, 78° 46.28′ W. Marker is in Saint Michael, Pennsylvania, in Cambria County. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of the
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lake Conemaugh (here, next to this marker); The Unger House (a few steps from this marker); May 31, 1889 (within shouting distance of this marker); The South Fork Dam (approx. ¼ mile 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); Staple Bend Tunnel (approx. 5½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saint Michael.
Also see . . . History of the Johnstown Flood. (Submitted on August 22, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Disasters • Man-Made Features • Notable Events •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 22, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,319 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 22, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.