The Johnstown Flood
American Experience Season 5

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Episode Info

This program is part of the acclaimed PBS series that features stories on some of the key events in American history. This episode recounts the disastrous flood of 1889 in Johnstown, PA, when the dam unexpectedly broke at a nearby resort. Developed for their own use by industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie, America's wealthiest families summered at the retreat, which was situated by an antiquated and defective dam. This logistical error cost over 2,000 people their lives, leaving thousands more bereft of their homes and possessions. The tragedy instigated safety reforms in its wake. Archival photographs, journals, and newspaper accounts re-create the horror of the Johnstown flood.