Johnstown Flood National Memorial encompasses a total area of about 178 acres of land that spreads into two different townships (Croyle Township and Adams Township) in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. More specifically, visitors can gain access to the main entrance to the park by finding US 219 and PA 869 at the South Fork Dam site and then driving about 10 miles northeast of Johnstown near St. Michael, Pennsylvania.
This historical and educational national memorial was established on August 31, 1964, and is governed by the National Park Service. The Johnstown Flood National Memorial commemorates the death of 2,209 people that were tragically killed in the Johnstown Flood of 1889, caused by a break in the South Fork Dam.
As is the case in most tragic events, a hero rose to the occasion to help the victims of the disaster. Clarissa ‘Clara’ Harlowe Barton, the pioneering nurse that founded the American Red Cross, was one such hero at the time. She was a patent clerk, a teacher, and a hospital nurse during the American Civil War. Since at the time, education in nursing was not very formalized Clara Barton was self-taught.
Additionally, she did the job at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home. Despite such circumstances, Clara Barton successfully led the Red Cross in its first disaster relief effort. Besides the somber commemoration of the death of thousands of people, there are still several other attractions that make this park an excellent place for tourists and other visitors to come.
For example, visitors can get to enjoy several recreational activities including hiking, guided tours, and interpretive programs. Like most other national parks, dogs are allowed into Johnstown Flood National Memorial as long as the pooch is kept on a leash and as long as the dog is restrained from wandering into areas of the park that are considered out-of-bounds to dogs. Additionally, dog owners are expected to clean up after their tail-wagger.