On this date of May 31 in 1889, a dam collapsed releasing water that flooded the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and killed 2,209 people.

The South Fork Dam was built on the the Little Conemaugh River fourteen miles upstream from Johnstown, and, at the time, it was the largest earth dam in the United States. Wealthy men from the Pittsburgh area created the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club and owned the dam, which created Lake Conemaugh, a fishing lake.

Some blamed the Johnstown Flood on the wealthy who used Lake Conemaugh for their recreation, creating a hazard that killed thousands of working people. The aftermath led to some of the early expressions of outrage during the U.S. Industrial Age against corporate powers and the wealthy.


Night of the Jownstown Flood by Chicken Little


Give my money to the landlord
give my body to my boss
give my heart to something pretty
write my time off as a loss

I’d say I gave my life to country
if I was sure where I was from
I’d say I gave my soul to God
if I knew just what that was
if I don’t make it up to heaven
oh well, I did the best I could
I threw my weight against the levees
the night of the Johnstown flood

I’ll have all that I need
when I’m six feet underground
and you’ll be broke as me
when they lay your body down

Everything is new
everything is dead
everything is real
at least in my head
everything is known now
you can look it all up
everything was finally cleaned
the night of the Johnstown flood

There’s a devil in the river
there’s a devil in the damn
there’s an angel in my eyes
but there’s a devil in my hands

Thanks to Emma Louise & Dave for letting me use Chicken Little song.

Filmed in Second Life

Matoluta Sanctuary
Build and design by Mz Marville

■ For The University of Western Australia’s MachinimUWA VII: Transcending Borders