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there is an element of sadness in the tragedy that overwhelms every heart.
    "A slide, a series of frightful tosses from side to side, a run, and you have crossed the narrow rope bridge which spanned the chasm dug by the waters between the stone bridge and Johnstown. Crossing the bridge is an exciting task, yet many women accomplished it rather than remain in Johnstown. The bridge pitched like a ship in a storm. Within two inches of your feet rushed the muddy waters of the Conemaugh. There were no ropes to easily guide, and creeping was more convenient than walking. One had to cross the Conemaugh at a second point in order to reach Johnstown proper. This was accomplished by a skiff ferry. The ferryman clung to a rope and pulled the boat over.
    "After landing one walks across a desolate sea of mud, in which there are interred many human bodies. It was once the handsome portion of the town. The cellars are filled up with mud, so that a person who has never seen the city can hardly imagine that houses ever stood where they did. Four streets solidly built up with houses have been swept away. Nothing but a small, two-story frame house remains. It was near the edge of the wave and thus escaped, although one side was torn off. The walk up to wrecks of houses was interrupted in many places by small branch streams. Occa-

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen