Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood of 1889

The first article is from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. The original pages of this newspaper are in very poor condition, so I am glad to have the opportunity to make a more permanent record here. The illustrations that accompany the article, unfortunately, are too large for the space at this time. But I will try to describe them at the end of the article. I may be able to include more of them at a later date.

I was surprised so many drawings appeared with this one story. With the availability of photography today, we are so used to seeing first hand the events of the day and I hadn’t realized the extent that illustration had been used. I can only imagine the lasting impression these drawings and the accompanying text made on those who saw it. On particularly moving scene is the one of the flood waters bearing down on a locomotive. That this one paper was carefully put away and saved as a remembrance from the past is testimony to its impact at the time and the continued interest in the event.

The second story is an excerpt from the 1919 book “Age-Long Battle of Satan for the Crown of Christ” written by an eyewitness, Rev. J. H. Leeper.

As a child, I was told the story of the Johnstown flood by a survivor. M. Elizabeth Morgan was a clerk in the Woolworth’s Department Store in Johnstown at the time. She spoke of that day in carefully chosen words and in quiet somber tones. Because of my young age, I believe she didn’t describe too many of the details. But, her story made a lasting impression on me. As she shared her remembrance of that day, I recall being very aware, for the first time, of how hard it must be for people to recover from such a tragedy. How painful it was for her to rebuild her life. Although this retelling was many years later, it was easy to observe the mark this disaster made on her. This was but one of the tragedies she was to survive and I learned from her a great deal about how to look at life and live life, and for that I will be forever grateful.

If you’d like to learn more about the Johnstown Flood:

Johnstown Area Heritage Association
201 6th Avenue
Johnstown, PA 15907

The National Park Service – Johnstown Flood National Memorial
Johnstown Flood National Memorial – This page will lead to more photos and narratives about the flood.
Johnstown Area Heritage Foundation
Johnstown Flood Museum
Artcom Museum Tour – Directions to the Johnstown Flood Museum

© 1995-2014 Ginette Isenberg

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