Friday, September 7, 2007

Austin Dam Disaster Memorial State Park PA

On the way north from Austin to Coudersport, Potter Co., Pennsylvania, I passed a state park which is still being developed to memorialize Pennsylvania's second worst disaster due to a dam failure.

An Historical marker at side of Hwy states: "Austin Flood Disaster: On Sep 30, 1911, the Bayless Pulp and Paper Company dam broke here. This concrete dam, built 1909, was nearly 50 ft high; 534 ft long. It's failure sent torrents of water and debris down Freedom Run into Austin and Costello, causing great distruction and killing at least 78 people. This second worst single-dam disaster in PA inspired legislation in 1913 to regulate dam construction in the state".

In the 1930 census, Delbert Lininger, last husband of the former Leah Lewis (previously married to Julius Strike) and his sons worked for Austin paper mills.

1 comment:

Steve said...

My mother-in-law lives in Austin, and while visiting, I couldn't resist a trip to the Dam. It really is awe-inspiring standing in front of that shattered concrete, knowing what happened to the town.

I hear the group that owns the dam site is also trying to acquire the ruins of the Bayless Papermill, which built the dam.