Saint Michael in Cambria County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
May 31, 1889
Everything changed on May 31, 1889. At 3:15 p.m., after record rainfall, the South Fork Dam gave way. In minutes the lake was gone, and in less than an hour a devastating wall of churning water and debris hit the city of Johnstown 14 miles downstream. The death toll exceeded 2,200.
Johnstown Flood National Memorial, established by Congress in 1964, commemorates the tragic Johnstown Flood by preserving the remains of the South Fork Dam. Exhibits and programs in the Visitor Center describe the flood's origin and destructive power. A trail from the Visitor Center leads to viewpoints of the historic dam and lakebed.
“The scene of destruction presented was unparalleled in the annals of American history....”
Rev. David J. Beale, A survivor of the Johnstown Flood, 1890
[From flood path description at bottom center of marker.] The breaching of the dam here launched a deadly flood wave 30-60 feet high down the valley of the Little Conemaugh River to Johnstown. The wave travelled the 14 miles in
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 40° 20.976′ N, 78° 46.255′ W. Marker is in Saint Michael, Pennsylvania, in Cambria County. Marker can be reached from Lake Road. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, just southeast of the 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 Unger House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Dam Melts Away (within shouting distance of this marker); Lake Conemaugh (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 . . . Survivor Stories of the Johnstown Flood. (Submitted on August 23, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Disasters • Notable Events • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 908 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 23, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.