Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

May 31, 1889


2,209 people die when a dam holding back a private resort lake upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, bursts, releasing 4.8 billion gallons of water. Owners Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, who had altered the South Fork Dam to allow for development of a resort community for wealthy industrialists, were accused of not maintaining the dam, but the court ruled that the dam break was an “Act of God” and denied the survivors compensation. Carnegie built the town a new library.

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