Curwensville, PA Flood "June Flood", May 1889

Curwensville, Pennsylvania
Flood - "June Flood"
May 30-31, 1889

FLOODS—A brief description from “The Curwensville Review” of June, 1889 follows: “Johnstown Flood,” or the “June Flood” as locally known. “May 30 (Thursday) at night, the rain began and by dawn of May 31 (Friday) Anderson Creek was bank full, the Susquehanna rising rapidly, in a short time the bottom lands from Bridgeport to “The Big Mill” (now tannery site), were a solid sheet of water, dotted here and there with houses from which the inhabitants had fled. The first obstruction to give way was the dam at Arnold’s saw mill at Bridgeport. With it came drift, logs, lumber, shingles, wagons, tram and railroad bridges, pig pens, outhouses and fences. The flood came rolling and crushing everything in its way, instantly sweeping the Walnut Street bridge (over Anderson Creek), on its way, and a few moments later, Filbert Street bridge crashed and the entire mooring mass swept onward in a mad effort to crush the new railroad bridge (Pa. R. R. “spur” to the “Big Mill’) and lower creek, or “Covered Bridge.” The former had with­stood the rush of water and pressure of logs and debris and was thought it would stand, but the rush was too great and it split and moved off its foundations, then held firm. This saved the main span of the “Covered Bridge,” whose approaches were destroyed and the $10,000 iron bridge (to Irwin Hill) across the river.

The lumber, logs and drift from up creek was driven into the flat around South Filbert Street, moving the Pa. R.R. tracks and trains could go no further than the Susquehanna House which served as ticket and telegraph station. Filbert Street was damaged by Tannery Run (as usual), Robison’s Iron Foundry, Hills Woolen Factory and all residences on the street.

A rivalet running wild under West State Street in­undated grounds of residents in that section.

Losses to others: W. Scott McFadden—house and all contents; Hiram L. Caldwell—valuable cow, calf and hogs; A. H. Irvin’s office went sailing down stream taking with it some railing and plank of the iron bridge—all dwellings from “Corner Stone” (now Sandri-Lezzer site) to Creek Bridge (Covered Bridge), leaving no picket or hoard fence to mark the boundary line of recently beautiful gardens and lawns.

Business was generally suspended and the townspeople, in the pouring rain, viewed the devastation from safe places.

No human lives were lost; the approximate loss between Arnold’s dam and the iron bridge was given at $75,000—the loss on the river above and below this point would run into thousands of dollars.”

The 1936 flood
centered its destruction in the Filbert Street area and lowlands bordering Anderson Creek especially at its junction with the river.

In the earlier days when facilities for control of fires and floods were not adequate, we can not realize those dire situations. Over the years have been many disastrous fires and floods to property owners which cannot be enumerated here, but with our present water system and fire fighting equipment we would not trade places with those of other years.”

Flood -- "June Flood" -- 1889, [Flooded] McLaughlin home, Irvin hill.  Alex H. Irvin barn (now v. F. W.) [water] over barn, across river Percy E. Smith ice house.

150th anniversary, 1799-1949, Curwensville, Pa., July 3rd to 8th 1949, Page 127