Johnstown Flood, Johnstown PA - May 31, 1889- happened due to the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam located 14 miles upstream. 20 million gallons of water released! 2,209 people killed. Clara Barton of the American Red Cross took this on as their first major disaster relief project.
The Johnstown Flood occurred on May 31, 1889. It was the result of the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam situated on the Little Conemaugh River 14 miles upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA. The dam's failure unleashed a torrent of 20 million tons of water from the reservoir known as Lake Conemaugh. With a volumetric flow rate that temporarily equaled that of the Mississippi River, the flood killed 2,209 people.
On May 31, 1889 the combination of a horrific storm and unstable dam produced a massive flood that took the lives of more than 2,000 Johnstown residents. The Johnstown Flood museum captures the history surrounding the tragic natural disaster. Exhibits at the museum describe the timeline of the flood and include an interactive map showing the path of the storm, artifacts found after the flood, relief efforts, media representation of the flood and stories of the town’s recovery.