The Flooding of Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889 - Johnstown Today

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The Johnstown Flood caused the greatest loss of civilian life in the United States before the Great Storm of 1900 struck Galveston.

After the flood of 1889, the residents of Johnstown looked for ways to protect themselves in the event another flood would hit. The Johnstown Incline Plane opened June 1, 1891. Its purpose was to connect Johnstown with higher ground and the new town of Westmont.

The incline plane is a short railway which runs up the side of a steep hill and raises and lowers cars on cables. This incline could also carry wagons, cars and people. It is the steepest vehicular incline in the world. 

The flood of 1889 was not the only flood to hit Johnstown. There were two other floods, one on March 17, 1936 (when the water reached 17 feet) and another one on July 20, 1977 (when the water reached 7 feet). Walking past the Johnstown City Hall, today, people can see three plates identifying the high water marks for the three floods.

Did the incline plane do its intended job during those two later floods? The short answer is "definitely!" It carried residents of Johnstown to safety during the floods of 1936 and 1977.

The National Park Service acquired the area around the South Fork Dam. It is now part of the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. The South Fork Hunting and Fishing clubhouse, along with a few cottages and the Elias Unger house, are also being restored.

Original Release: Nov 06, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"Johnstown Today" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 06, 2015. Nov 20, 2019.
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