This museum uses artifacts to tell the story of the flood and those affected by it from a historical and fact-based standpoint. The first floor features many displays, including an excellent diorama that illustrates the timeline of events that led to the flooding of Johnstown in The museum also contains photos of the aftermath, hospital records, and items found after the flood.
There is also a list of all those known to have been killed as a result of the flood waters. Outside the museum's first floor is the last remaining Oklahoma House in Johnstown. These prefabricated homes were built to be sent to settlers in Oklahoma, but were instead repurposed as emergency homes for the survivors of the flood. The museum's second floor is home to a fantastic video about the flood. Taking a look at the flood from a historical, rather than an emotional perspective, the movie offers a lot of great information for those wanting to learn more about this tragic event.
The second floor of the museum also retains some of the elements of the library, which have been protected for posterity.
Likewise, the third floor of the building still retains its historic gym, which is home to basketball hoops, a tiny running track, and several items related to the history of Johnstown. The Johnstown Flood National Memorial is located near the site of the burst dam. When this dam burst, the lake that filled the area flooded into the valley.
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The lake was the property of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which featured many prominent citizens of western Pa. As you can image from their role as a national memorial, the visitor center here focuses more on the emotional side of the event, though it does provide a good historical overview.
The visitor center includes a small museum and a film that focuses on the human toll of the tragedy. This film really complements the one at the Johnstown Flood Museum, giving visitors a fuller picture of the event. This one-hour guided tour takes visitors inside some of the buildings that remain from the club and offers a great look at the ruins of the dam.
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While you can visit the exterior of these sites on your own, taking the tour offers a great appreciation for what the area would have looked like years ago. The Unknown Plot where those who died in the flood are buried.
Click here for a complete list of club members. Organized in , the purpose of the club was to provide the members and their families an opportunity to get away from the noise, heat and dirt of Pittsburgh. The club owned the Western Reservoir, the dam that created it, and about acres of land in the area.
- The Club and the Dam - Johnstown Area Heritage Association.
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The club renamed the reservoir, calling it Lake Conemaugh. Entertainments included an annual regatta, theatricals and musical performances. The club did engage in periodic maintenance of the dam, but made some harmful modifications to it.
& Floods - Johnstown Area Heritage Association
They also lowered the dam by a few feet in order to make it possible for two carriages to pass at the same time, so the dam was only about four feet higher than the spillway. The club never reinstalled the drainage pipes so that the reservoir could be drained. When the dam broke on May 31, , only about a half-dozen members were on the premises, as it was early in the summer season. They left immediately following the disaster, and the club members were largely silent about the tragedy. A small crowd of angry flood survivors went up to the club and broke into some of the buildings, breaking windows and destroying furniture, but no major damage was done.
No other disaster prior to was so fully described. Writing for the masses, journalists exaggerated, repeated unfounded myths, and denounced the South Fork Club. As coverage of the horror of the event began to recede, the media began to look at the causes of the disaster. Residents of Johnstown, and Americans in general, began to turn their wrath toward the members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.