Pat Shingleton: "The Big One, The Another"
Following the Johnstown Pennsylvania Flood of 1889, a flood control system was constructed in the Little Conemaugh Valley to withstand a 100 year flood. Experts declared that the city of Johnstown was flood-proof. As noted in a previous column, on July 19, 1977 in west Taylor Township, northwest of Johnstown, a foot of rain fell and the Laurel Dam burst. The deluge was once again heading for Johnstown with a wall of water in its wake. The second Johnstown Flood in 88 years caused $325 million in damage in seven counties and killed 77. On a hillside above the city white crosses mark the graves of 777 unidentified dead from the flood of 1889, corresponding exactly to the month and year of the second-worst flood in Johnstown's history.