Why Is Johnstown Pennsylvania Known As Flood City?

When Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was hit by a disastrous flood in 1889, it earned the not-so-nice title of “Flood City.”

Almost 100 years later, Johnstown is still having floods. In 1889, 2,200 people died in the flood. In 1936, another 30 people perished. And in 1977, 80 died when twelve inches of rain falling in just a few days caused six earth dams to burst and send a twelve-foot-high wall of water smashing down through the hills that surround this small industrial city of 48,000 people.

Dams like those that failed at Johnstown are built to protect cities and the people who live in them. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has been inspecting the thousands of such dams that have been built across our nation, and it has found that one third of them are in need of repair.

Aren’t people strange? No matter how often Johnstown gets flooded, and no matter how many die, its citizens keep rebuilding and carrying on their lives in exactly the same spots.

People do the same all over the world, whether it is flood, fire, or earthquake that is the problem.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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