The South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club

  • Neil M. Coleman


The Club begins work at the South Fork dam with a 50-man crew 5 months before John Reilly transferred the property. The Club workers removed the cast-iron discharge pipes as part of a “handshake deal” between Reilly and Ruff. They lowered the crest of the dam and filled in the partial breach of 1862, accomplishing this between late 1879 and early summer of 1881. The Club’s changes fatally weakened the dam and doomed the towns below it. John Fulton inspected the dam on behalf of Cambria Iron but his sensible comments were rebuffed by Ruff. After completing the dam, clubhouse, and other infrastructure, the elite Club officially opened in late July, 1881. The first guest in the ledger book was John Hunt. Several weeks later he returned with Robert Pitcairn.

“For I deem it to be the chief function of history to rescue merit from oblivion, and to hold up before evil words and evil deeds the terror of the reprobation of posterity.”
  • Tacitus, Roman historian, from the Annals of Tacitus, Book III


Johnstown flood 1889 South Fork Neil Coleman Clubhouse Discharge pipes Benjamin ruff John Reilly Robert Pitcairn Dam 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil M. Coleman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Energy and Earth ResourcesUniversity of Pittsburgh at JohnstownJohnstownUSA

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