The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

July 18, 2013

‘77 flood left 85 dead


The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — Saturday will mark the 36st anniversary of the 1977 Johnstown flood.

On July 20, the region awoke to begin a massive cleanup and rebuilding in the wake of Johnstown’s third major flood catastrophe in less than a century.

Heavy rain began the night of July 19 and continued into the next morning, causing rivers and streams to overflow. Several dams failed, including Laurel Run Dam, which sent water cascading into the hard-hit Tanneryville neighborhood.

The toll: 85 lives lost, including eight people never found; more than 7,300 families in seven counties affected; homes, businesses, dams, roads and bridges destroyed. The area’s economy was in shambles. Property damage reached $300 million.

Many residents suffered great personal losses to the raging waters. Many others were directly involved in the immediate aftermath of the flood – searching for bodies and comforting the survivors.

Some were responsible for bringing help to the community and delivering aid to the victims or helping Johnstown to climb out of the physical, economic and emotional quagmire of that tragedy.

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