Johnstown Flood, 1889

The Johnstown Flood also called the Great Flood of 1889, is on the list of 19th century disasters that occurred on May 31, after the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam on the Little Conemaugh River 12 miles upstream of the town Johnstown in Pennsylvania.

The dam broke after several days of extremely heavy rainfall, unleashing 20 million tons of water from the reservoir known as Lake Conemaugh, that killed 2,209 people and caused $17 million of damage.


People stand atop houses among ruins after flooding in Johnstown, Pa., May 30, 1889.  (AP Photo)