1889 flood commemoration events planned by St. Mark’s, JAHA, National Park Service

1889 flood commemoration events planned by St. Mark’s, JAHA, National Park Service

Here is a listing of all 1889 flood commemorative events planned in the area as the 130th anniversary of the disaster approaches.

Various dates in May and June, Johnstown Flood Museum: 1889 Flood Walking Tours of Downtown and Lower Town: Nick Wukovich will lead these tours, pointing out flood-surviving buildings and historical areas, sharing photographs, and telling stories. $5, or $3 with museum admission; no reservation required. Click here for a list of dates and times.

Sunday, May 19, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church: Community Common Prayer Service: This service will begin at 6:30, commemorating the 130th anniversary of the 1889 Johnstown Flood and the role St. Mark’s played in the flood and its aftermath. It will be a memorial to Father Alonzo Potter Diller, Rector of St. Mark’s, his wife Mrs. Marion Diller, and their children who perished at St. Mark’s and to all the 2,209 victims of the 1889 flood. Guided tours of St. Mark’s will be available. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 25, Peoples Natural Gas Park: Path of the Flood Historic Races: For complete details on this 5K, 12K, and half-marathon, visit here. The public is invited to cheer the runners on at the finish line at Peoples Natural Gas Park, and to enjoy the free post-race festival and activities, from about 8:00 am-noon.

Saturday, May 25, Johnstown Flood National Memorial: Tours of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Clubhouse: Participants will learn the history of the building and the different uses throughout the years. The tour will go through all three floors of the clubhouse. Please be aware that there is no elevator and tours will require climbing stairs. The tour times are; at 10:30 am, 11:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:00 pm, 2:30 pm 3:00 pm and 3:30 pm. Reservations are required for these tours; call 814-886-6170. Each tour lasts about 45-50 minutes. This tour is free and meets at the clubhouse building.

Sunday, May 26, Johnstown Flood National Memorial: Cottage Row Walking Tours: The tours will take place at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Thanks to newly discovered documentation discovered by members of the Cambria County Historical Society, Park Rangers and society members discovered cottage owners and how many there were. The tour will not go into any buildings as many of them are occupied. There will be various additional activities taking place in the clubhouse that day. Reservations are required for these tours; call 814-886-6170. Each tour lasts about 45-50 minutes. This tour is free and meets at the clubhouse building.

Friday, May 31, Johnstown Flood National Memorial: The visitor center will be open from 9 am to 10 pm. A statue of Mary that survived the flood from St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church will be on display in the Visitor Center. The park movie “Black Friday” will play at quarter past each hour starting at 9:15 am and the last showing will be at 9:15 pm.

  • 4:07 pm: Park Rangers will lay commemorative wreaths on both the North and South Abutments of the remnants of the South Fork Dam.
  • 6:00 pm: Friends of the Johnstown Flood National Memorial will begin reading the names of the flood victims.
  • 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm: Children’s activities will take place in the picnic area
  • 7:00 pm- 10:00 pm: 2,209 luminaries, lining the remains of the South Fork Dam and around the park Visitor Center, will be lit in honor of the victims of the Great Flood. Each luminary will have the name of a flood victim written on it.

No reservations are required for May 31 events at the Johnstown Flood National Memorial.

Friday, May 31, 7:00 pm, Peoples Natural Gas Park: Presentation of 5/31/1889: The Flood and “Power Over Truth and the Science Behind the Disaster”: The Stone Bridge Players will present a staged reading of an excerpt from 5/31/1889: The Flood, a new play commissioned by the Mountain Playhouse. The play, which will be part of the Mountain Playhouse’s 2019 season, is a fact-based fictional account of the disaster. It will be read by Paul Douglas Newman and Jayme Brooks of the Stone Bridge Players.

After the reading, Neil Coleman will present his book, “Power Over Truth and the Science Behind the Disaster,” which is the most significant piece of new research into the causes of the flood in many years.

Free and open to the public; no RSVP required.

Saturday, June 1, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Dr. Michael R. McGough book signing: Dr. McGough will be signing his new book, A Photographic History of the 1889 Johnstown Flood, in the visitor center starting at noon.

“A Cinematic Experience” will take place at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. The movie “Black Friday” will play without sound and will be interpreted through historic stories and music. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling 814-886-6170.

Sunday, June 2, 1:00-4:00 pm: 1889 Flood Bus Tour: Presented by the JAHA and the National Park Service, this 44-person bus tour will begin at the Johnstown Flood National Memorial and will feature interpretation by NPS guides Doug Bosley and Greg Zaborowski, as well as dramatic interpretation from costumed re-enactors at different points along the tour route.

The tour will include Central Park, Grandview Cemetery, and the Inclined Plane observation deck. All participants will receive a commemorative booklet exploring the history of the flood and the historical figures being portrayed by re-enactors. Tickets are $25 ($22 for JAHA members) and must be purchased in advance; get yours at the Heritage Discovery Center, or over the phone at 539-1889.