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History of the Johnstown Flood
company has leased the land for dwelling houses, but it retains the ownership of the land and of the coal, iron and limestone in it. The flats having all been occupied, the company in recent years had put up some tenements of a better class on the north bank of the river, higher up than the flood reached. The business part of the town also was higher up than the works and the tenements of the company.
In normal times the river is but a few hundred feet wide. The bottom is stony. The current is so fast that there is little deposit along the bank. It is navigable at no time, though in the spring a good canoeist might go down it if he could stear clear of the rocks. In the summer the volume of water diminishes so much that a boy with a pair of rubber boots on can wade across without getting his feet wet, and there have been times when a good jumper could cross the river on the dry stones. Below Johnstown, after Stony creek has joined the Conemaugh creek, the volume of water increases, but the Conemaugh throughout its whole length is nothing but a mountain stream, dry in the summer and roaring in the spring. It runs down into the Kiskiminitas river and into the Allegheny river, and then on to Pittsburgh following the windings of the river, twice as far as the straight line.
30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen