Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1904


This panoramic photograph shows the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania as it appeared in 1904, which was 15 years after the Johnstown Flood, also known as the Great Flood of 1889. On May 31 of that year, the South Fork Dam on Lake Conemaugh, located 23 kilometers upstream of the city, failed catastrophically, unleashing an enormous wave of water that completely destroyed much of downtown Johnstown. 2,209 people were killed, including 99 entire families. Led by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross organized help for the city in its first major peacetime disaster-relief effort. $3,742,818.78 was collected for the Johnstown relief effort from within the United States and 18 foreign countries. The city quickly recovered after the flood, buoyed by its main industry, iron and steel production and fabrication. The Cambria Iron Works was constructed in 1848. After the flood the company reopened for business on June 6, 1889, and it operated continuously until 1992. In the 1850s, the works became one of the largest producers of rails in the United States and helped to end dependence on imports from Britain for railroad construction in America.

Last updated: September 15, 2014