NWS State College Remembers the 100 Year Anniversary of the Austin Dam Break and Flood
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NWS State College Remembers the 100 Year Anniversary of the Austin Dam Break and Flood
This weekend marks the 100 year anniversary of Austin, PA dam break and flood.

The summer of 1911 was much like the summer of 2011. It was a hot summer that turned very wet at the end of August and September. By months end, flooding was widespread across the northern mountains.

A new dam had just finished being constructed a half-mile above Austin in 1909 in southwest Potter County. The dam, built for the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill, was built to supply reserve power. This concrete dam was 530 feet long, 49 feet high and at it's base, 32 feet wide.

The dam had problems from the start, actually flooding downstream in January 1910.

On September 30th, 1911 a sunny day, the reservoir was full from the recent rains and spilling over the top. 4.5 million gallons of water sat beind the walls of the dam. That afternoon a small hole developed on the western end of hte dam, and at 2:30 pm the pressure was too great, and the dam burst.

The floodwaters quickly engulfed the town of 2,000, leaving 78 citizens dead and great wreckage in its patch. This event is the second-workst flood disaster in Pennsylvania history, behind the Great Johnstown Flood of May 30, 1889.

A website commorating the this weekend is located at:


If you are ever in this beautiful part of the commonwealth, it is certainly worth a visit to this historic site.
Remnants of the Austin, PA Dam
Remnants of the Austin, PA Dam

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Page Last Modified: 30 September 2011 17:09:16 UTC
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