Thursday, June 19, 2014

Johnstown Flood

One historical moment that always gets me is the Johnstown Flood.  I did not hear about it till college.  My college professor did such a GREAT job telling the story it made me cry.  It is such a sad moment in U.S. History, and it could have been prevented.  I now like to include this moment in AP US History.  It shows how powerful the wealthy businessmen of the Gilded Age were.
This flood happened in less than 20 minutes, and caused huge devastation of life an property.  It all started at the South Fork Dam.  On top of the Dam was a community of the wealthiest Americans who had summer homes there.  People like Carnegie and Fisk.  They wanted a bigger walking path around the Dam.  But the engineers kept telling them that would not work.  It would mess up the structure.  The wealthy residents did not care.  They wanted a bigger walking path no matter the cost, and construction began.
One engineer saw the danger, and tried to warn people.  Sadly no one took him seriously, and ignored the warning.  There was always warnings that the Dam was going to break.  But this time it was real.  The Dam broke and destroyed everything in it's path!  The water was too strong!  This was the moment in class I began to cry.  My college professor described it in such a way I felt I was there.  That flood was so real! 
The South Fork Dam was on top of a hill, and when it broke it went down to a valley.  Along the way it took out a railroad, towns, and a factory that made barb wire!  The destruction was so bad - here is a neighborhood afterwards:
The worst part was when people got sucked into the flood - they would get mangled in the debris.  To hear the stories was heartbreaking!  They say at the end the water was red with blood.  In the end no one was held responsible for the flood.  The wealthy were so powerful - no one could touch them.  That is how I use it in APUSH.  A great example of how powerful the wealthy were during the gilded age!

One of the best documentaries on this event!


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