Information on:

Johnstown Flood Museum

304 Washington Street
814-539-1889

In 2000, the Johnstown Flood Museum expanded its permanent exhibits with the addition of an original "Oklahoma" house, one of the first types of temporary houses erected to shelter the people left homeless by the flood. Originally manufactured for homesteaders in the Oklahoma Territory, these buildings were a very early example of prefabricated housing. The one-and-a-half story temporary houses were developed in Chicago and came in two sizes -- 16-by-24 feet and 10-by-20 feet. Many Johnstown families combined one large and one small Oklahoma to accommodate their needs. The houses were not attractive -- nor were they suitable for the harsh Southwestern Pennsylvania winters. A reporter from the Harrisburg Telegraph, after seeing one of the small structures, described it as ". . . a shell-like affair of drab color and has about as many points of architectural beauty as the coal shed behind a country school house." The museum's Oklahoma house was located in the City's historic Moxham neighborhood, where it was discovered after its porch caught on fire several years ago. The house shared a lot with a larger residence, which had been acquired by Habitat for Humanity. When informed of the historical significance of the smaller structure, Habitat for Humanity donated the house to the Johnstown Area Heritage Association. The Oklahoma House was moved from the Moxham neighborhood and placed on an existing patio adjacent to the museum.

The Oklahoma was renovated for its inclusion in the museum's exhibit. A wood shingle roof was installed, several exterior clapboards were replaced, and the exterior was painted. The Oklahoma provides a perfect venue for the museum to exhibit its comprehensive collection documenting the recovery efforts after the Great Flood, which includes home furnishings and domestic items provided by the American Red Cross and other agencies that helped the survivors of the disaster.



Reviews

Roger Huffman

Rating:
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
This Museum told the story very well the Johnstown Flood. Well done documentary. Divercion and interactive displays. A powerful reminder of the need to have sound inspections of aging infrastructure. Also a remarkable story of the nation's response to this tragedy. Our only regret is that we had only 1 hour. Allow yourself more time

Mary Lou Reid

Rating:
Saturday, July 14, 2018
This small museum is in the Johnstown library building and should not be missed. Only takes a short amount of time to view the diorama, photos and video presentation, but well worth the modest admission fee. An excellent accompaniment to the books by David McCollough and Al Roker. Striking illustration of the power of nature and the irresponsibility of the privileged class. Combine with a visit to the National Memorial in South Fork nearby for an extraordinary history lesson.

Kelly Diller

Rating:
Saturday, June 30, 2018
A sobering memorial about a horrible disaster. Not a natural disaster as it should have/could have been prevented. Area is well maintained. Very informative visitors center explaining what happened, why and the timeline of events.

Frank Caputo

Rating:
Monday, April 9, 2018
I expected more from such an event. Not much new in the museum and a bit dated. Film is nice, but you can see it all on PBS or similar. The surrounding area has little to offer. it is nice to go here once, but I would never come back unless forced to do so. The sounding area is dull and a bit scary looking. No real restaurants or anything in town. You will enjoy PBS more than this museum.

David Heiser

Rating:
Monday, July 2, 2018
Tour guide was excellent. After hearing him tell the story, you had a better understanding of why the flood was so deadly.

Johnstown Flood Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media