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THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD. 45

there. She said she was telegraphing from the second story and the water was gaining steadily. She was frightened, and said many houses were flooded. This was evidently before the dam broke, for our man here said something encouraging to her, and she was talking back as only a cheerful girl operator can, when the receiver's skilled ear caught a sound on the wire made by no human hand, which told him that the wires had grounded, or that the house had been swept away in the flood from the lake, no one knows which now. At 3 o'clock the girl was there, and at 3.07 we might as well have asked the grave to answer us.
    The water passed over the dam about a foot above its top, beginning at about half-past 2. Whatever happened in the way of a cloud-burst took place in the night. There had been little rain up to dark. When the workmen woke in the morning the lake was full, and rising at the rate of a foot an hour. It kept on rising until 2 P.M., when it began breaking over the dam and undermining it. Men were sent three or four times during the day to warn people below of their danger. When the final break came at 3 o'clock, there was a sound like tremendous and continued peals of thunder. Trees, rocks and earth shot up into mid-air in great columns and then started down the ravine. A farmer who escaped said that the water did not come down like a wave, but


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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen