On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog


I know those are lilacs!



Driving through the Pennsylvania mountains can be challenging on a good day and even more so on a rainy, foggy day. I originally planned to spend today touring Pittsburgh but decided on Johnstown instead because of the museums. It was an indoor kind of day.

I first stopped at the Johnstown Flood National Memorial which is located where the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club fixed up a derelict earthworks to form Lake Conemaugh. They didn't follow up with recommendations made by the Cambria company engineers for additional drainage outlets. On May 31,1889, after several days of extremely heavy rainfalls, the dam broke. "Nearly 20 million tons of water dropped 450 feet over 14 miles in 57 minutes forming a wall of water up to 75 feet high traveling 40 miles per hour. Over 2,200 people were killed." I saw a lengthy, black and white , morbidly narrated film . There was a warning to parents that the film may not be suitable for children. Truthfully, that film isn't suitable for anybody. It begins with 2 minutes of sound only- of water dripping. The lights go off when the film starts. Too much time spent in the cemetary with the narrator using a slow, droning voice to tell about the dead. Same at the end. In between was overly dramatic.

What a difference when I saw the award winning film at the Johnstown Flood Museum. Historically accurate information presented in such a way that children won't have nightmares! The museum has a 24 foot 3D relief map that illistartes the path of the wall of water. There are artifacts and information about the relief effort by the Red Cross and their founder Clara Barton who spent months in Johnstown helping the victims. Skip the National Memorial - this is where to go to learn about the flood.

On the way to the Heritage Discovery Center I passed the Johnstown Incline Plane. It is the steepest VEHICULAR incline in the world. It can carry automobiles as well as people!

At the Center I saw an amazing film called Mystery of Steel . I learned so much about iron and steel and the innovations made in the 19th century in steelmaking. Unfortunely other parts of the center are closed for refurbishing but I can honestly say the movie was worth the visit.

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