Three National Monuments in the Area

Johnstown Flood National Memorial

Another interesting place in the area that we did not know was here, but worth a visit.  The story again is a lot longer than I will go into here, so if interested look into it further.

The Conemaugh river was initially dammed in the 1840s by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a water source for the Main Line Canal which provided transportation from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for goods (think Erie Canal).   Shortly after completion of the dam, the railroad replaced the usefulness of the canal and it was mostly abandoned.

The dam and adjacent lake changed ownership several times and the integrity of the dam was compromised in numerous ways over the years.  Leaks were patched with mud and straw, discharge pipes for controlled water release had been removed and sold as scrap and other modifications had been made over the years.

In 1881 the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club purchased the property and built a club house and cabins for the wealthy elite from Pittsburgh.  The dam constantly sprang leaks, but they were patched and life went on for the elite owners of the club and for the communities and businesses downstream.

In 1889 May was an extremely wet month and the area was saturated.  On May 30, 1889 Memorial Day after a town Memorial Day celebration in Johnstown 14 miles downstream from the lake, the bottom fell out and it rained cats and dogs overnight and into the next day.  May 31, the dam was leaking and without the discharge pipes and blocked spillways, water was flowing over the top in the torrential rains and the rivers were well above flood state down hill already.

Maintenance directed by Elias Unger, whose house has been restored and visitor center is made to look like his original barn, was being performed on the dam the morning of May 31 as the water was breaching its top.  But the efforts were in vein, as the dam failed at 3:10 on May 31, 1889 releasing about 20 million tons of water down the Conemaugh River destroying several towns in its path including Johnstown.

Over 2,200 people were killed in this flood, it is said that the entire lake emptied in a matter of minutes and the wall of water was as high as 70 feet as it rushed down river.  I can not imagine…

Not much for pictures, but this is the south side of what remains of the dam looking towards Mr. Unger’s house safely above the lake and an artists rendition of what it may have looked like.  Before posting this (May 21, 2018) we saw on the NBC Today Show Al Roker just wrote a book about this flood.  May have to read it???

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Fort Necessity

So, we all know George Washington right.  Well this was his first battle and he was leader of the troops at 21.  In the 1750s there was bitter competition for the property known as the Ohio Valley between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.  The British and the French both claimed hold on this territory.

The battle of Fort Necessity sparked the French and Indian War when George Washington warned the French to withdraw and they refused.  Washington attacked the French and lost, but eventually the war also known as the “seven years war” ended in 1763 and the French were expelled from this territory.

This battle was also the only time Washington ever surrendered to an enemy!!!  Go George, Peace and love, Out….

We just happened upon this memorial park where there is a very informative visitors center, recreation of the fort and interesting exhibit for the first National Highway 40.  See other post for more information.  No pictures, just a stop on the road.

Last but not least, just checking to see if you read between the pictures…

Flight 93 National Memorial

September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked by al Qaeda terrorist in a planned attack against us the United States.  The first three successfully hit their targets, the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, VA.  The forth plane, United flight 93 from Newark, NJ to San Francisco, CA was delayed for 25 minutes.

The delay was the key element in this set of terrorists not hitting their target, thought to have been the Capitol in Washington, DC but will never be known for sure.  Around 9:30 over eastern Ohio four hijackers took over the plane incapacitating the captain and first officer, they turned the plane towards Washington.

At least some of the passengers and crew were herded to the back of the plane where they contacted family via cellphone and phones on the seat headrests.  They became aware of the other terrorist-initiated plane crashes and correctly assumed they were unwillingly part of the attack on US.  Mutually they decided to fight back and charged the cabin for control of the plane.  Six minutes later the plane crashed upside down at 653 miles per hour in a field just north east of where we are staying.

These were very brave men and women who saved countless lives at the terrorist planned destination.  Not sure how I would react, hopefully the same, really makes you think.  Sometimes others make decisions that have drastic consequences on many other people and there is absolutely nothing you can do in the moment to prevent it…  or can we??

The large bolder is the impact zone, there is a memorial wall with each name having a panel and the panels are in the direction of the flight plan as it crashed.   33 passengers, 7 crew and 4 terrorists were killed in this crash, but how many were saved?  PEACE AND LOVE!!!

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