The Johnstown Flood - Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

David McCullough
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Chapter 2, "Sailboats on the mountain," draws its title from the odd sight of pleasure craft on the artificial Lake Conemaugh, owned by an elite club of Pittsburgh moguls after they buy the state-created reservoir whose purpose - to feed water into the canal system - becomes obsolete when the railroads come through. Chapter 2 explains how people have lived for decades with the threat of flooding, and how Johnstown has grown dependent on the Cambria Iron Company, which is already at odds with the Pittsburghers.

Some 1,500 people live in South Fork, a coal town like a half dozen others along the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Altoona and Johnstown. Seen from below, the South Fork dam is a mound of overgrown rubble, rising steeply 72 feet by 900 feet wide, with a spillway at the far left, crossed by a wooden bridge that leads...

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This section contains 2,827 words
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