Commemorations planned for 1889 Johnstown Flood's 133rd anniversary

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May 30—SOUTH FORK, Pa. — Members of the Johnstown community will get a chance to retrace the path of the 1889 flood on Tuesday — at the site where the dam broke and on the city streets where its water swept away thousands of lives.

At Johnstown Flood National Memorial, the National Park Service will line the ruins of the South Fork Dam with 2,209 luminaries — one for each life lost that day.

According to park ranger Elizabeth Shope, the memorial's Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, the 133rd anniversary of the flood.

At 4:07 p.m., the time when the flood reached Johnstown, park rangers will lay commemorative wreaths on both the North and South Abutments of the dam's remains. The wreath ceremony will be broadcast live on the memorial's Facebook page at

Children's activities will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the park picnic area, located off South Abutment Road, Shope said in a release to media.

Luminaries will be lit at 7 p.m., which each of them bearing the name of a flood victim. The luminaries will remain lit until the park closes at 10 p.m.

For park visitors, a shuttle will run on a loop between the Visitor Center parking lot and the dam's North Abutment from 7 to 10 p.m., but the lights are also visible from the visitors center.

The event is free to the public.

In downtown Johnstown, Johnstown Area Heritage Association will offer a walking tour of downtown Johnstown that will include photographs and stories about the destruction the flood inflicted and showcase buildings that survived it. Attendees will gather at the Johnstown Flood Museum on Washington Street at 1 p.m.

The cost is $6 for the tour, or $4 for JAHA members.

Another tour is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m.

Tickets to the museum are buy one, get one free on Tuesday, according to JAHA's website.