The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book The Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood

A Thriving City of 30,000 Inhabitants and Many Great Industrial Establishments Nearly Wiped from Earth: Many Thousands Drowned or Burned to Death: Property Worth Many Millions of Dollars Destroyed: An Avalanche of Water Sweeps Down the Conemaugh Valley: General Hastings in Command in Johnstown Herman Dieck
  • Copyright: 1889
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Page Count: 224 pages
  • Illustrations: 17 b&w illustrations
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02497-4
  • Series Name: Metalmark
  • A Metalmark Book

On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, failed, unleashing a torrent of water that killed more than two thousand people and destroyed the city. Herman Dieck's Johnstown Flood, published shortly after the event, offers sensational stories of death, escape, sacrifice, and survival along with demographic reports and an investigation of several myths-such as the legend of a Paul Revere-like messenger on horseback racing down the valley, warning of the impending flood.

The flooding of late May and early June 1889 was not limited to the Johnstown area. Dieck includes reports of rains that inundated many river towns of the mid-Atlantic region. His accounts of other catastrophic floods place the Pennsylvania disaster in historical perspective.

The book also presents the tragic story of the Pennsylvania Children's Aid Society. The group's headquarters had been transferred from Philadelphia to Johnstown just before the flood; only two officers survived. Despite this devastation, reinforcements from the Philadelphia branch office were able to establish a new, greatly needed orphanage in what proved to be one of the most effective relief efforts after the flood.

The Johnstown Flood gives a rich account of one of the worst disasters in America and the Keystone State.

View a digital version of this book online at the Penn State University Libraries website.

Herman Dieck's other known works are biographies of Grover Cleveland and Ulysses S. Grant.

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Also of Interest

Also of interest book cover

The Johnstown Horror!!!

Or Valley of Death, Being a Complete and Thrilling Account of the Awful Floods and Their Appalling Ruin