Pennsylvania - South Fork Dam

South Fork Dam

The collapse of the poorly engineered and poorly maintained South Fork Dam on May 31, 1889, caused the deadly Johnstown flood that wiped out an entire town and is one of the biggest nonwar disasters in United States history (over 2,200 people killed).

Looking southwest at the site of the dam and the breach in the middle. Through that breach, the US 219 freeway is easily visible. You can also see from these photos that much of the dam has been left intact, even though there's nothing left to dam up (the South Fork Creek just flows on through the opening).

A railroad now runs straight through what was once Lake Conemaugh.

Walking up toward the dam, and looking down the weed-choked path of the spillway. The spillway, the only release for excess water by 1889 due to the plugging or non-maintenance of other flood relief measures, was a beautiful creek most of the time.

Walking out to the end of the northern half of the dam, and a second survey of Lake Conemaugh.

Looking across at the southern piece of the dam.

Looking down at innocent little South Fork Creek.

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