Monday, June 21, 2010

Wild Release #947

When I was growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania, I remember hearing about The Johnstown Flood. I always thought people were talking about the flood of 1977; it wasn't until I was much older that I learned about the Great Flood of 1889. Even though I have lived here for 40 years and Johnstown is only 40 miles away, today was the first day I set foot in it—all because of a book. After reading Kathleen Cambor's "In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden," which is a mix of fact and fiction about the Great Flood, I knew the only place I could release it was in Johnstown, Pa. Mom and I headed east to Johnstown, stopping first at the Johnstown Flood National Memorial run by the National Park Service. Well worth the visit if you're ever in the area. Next, we moved on to South Fork, Pa., where the Pittsburgh millionaires had their fishing and hunting club. The main clubhouse is still standing and is open for tours, but it is in a very fragile condition. A group of volunteers has been keeping it alive for years on a shoestring budget. They have also been acquiring some of the "cottages" the club members built along what used to be the lakeshore. After our visit there, we went into downtown Johnstown to visit the Johnstown Flood Museum. We got there just minutes before it closed, but it was enough time to leave this book outside—in sunlight, in a beautiful garden.

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