127 YEARS AGO, FRIDAY, MAY 31, 1889, 4:30 PM, JOHNSTOWN, PA:
The flood struck Johnstown at 4:07 pm and by 4:30 it was all over.
A list of statistics from the flood found in, "The Club and the 1889 Flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania," by Dr. Michael McGough:
-4 square miles of Johnstown were destroyed.
-30 acres of debris were piled up at the stone bridge.
-99 entire familes were lost.
-124 women lost their husbands.
-198 men lost their wives.
-396 children under the age of 10 died.
-568 children lost one or both parents.
-771 unidentified bodies.
-1600 homes were destroyed.
-280 businesses were destroyed.
-$17,000,000 in property damage. ~NMK
As if the destruction of the flood was not bad enough, on the night of May 31, 1889, the wreckage that had accumulated and clogged the Stone Bridge at Johnstown caught fire, casting a horrific glow upon the stricken city and creating a funeral pyre for 80 people there.
Tonight, we look to the light. Not the light of destruction, but rather of those lives lost on this day 127 years ago. Beginning now, 2,209 luminaries are being lit around the remains of the South Fork Dam and other locations within the park. Each one of those lights represents a life taking from this awful disaster.
The luminaries will remain lit until 10:00 pm. Please join us if you can. The photos really don't do it justice; seeing it in person is so moving and impressive. ~NMK