Adams Township was created January 5, 1870, from Richland Township. It was named for a pioneer family by that name.
The most famous landmark of Adams Township is the site of the South Fork Dam. The dam was originally constructed on South Fork Creek in 1840 to help supply water for the Pennsylvania Canal. It was completed in 1852, and was reportedly the world's largest earthen dam. It covered 420 acres and held 480 million cubic feet of water. For many years it remained unused and was sold in 1879 to Benjamin F. Rupp, who organized the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. At that time, repairs were made to the dam wall, but in doing so the discharge pipes were covered over.
On the afternoon of May 31, 1889, the dam burst as a result of exceptionally heavy rains, and there were released approximately 4,500,000,000 gallons of water which rushed down the course of South Fork Creek and on through the Conemaugh Valley to cause the disastrous Johnstown Flood of 1889.
Initially lumbering was the primary heavy industry in the area. By early in the 20th century mining of bituminous coal had become prominent in such communities as Beaverdale, Dunlo, and St. Michael.
Farming has always been a major business of the township with the communities of Elton and Salix, (originally "Adamsburg") serving as marketing centers.
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*NOTE* Adams; Adams-Summerhill; Forest Hills; Triangle Area & Beaverdale Schools, Historical Photos, Yearbooks, Class pictures, etc. may now be found on the CAMBRIA SCHOOLS PAGES
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Last Updated: 02 Jul 2019