American Disasters - Great Pennsylvania Disasters

Reviewed Resources for Students and Teachers


Great American Disasters State by State

Alabama  - Alaska  - Arizona  - Arkansas  - California  - Colorado  - Connecticut  - Delaware  - Florida  - Georgia  - Hawaii  - Idaho  - Illinois  - Indiana  - Iowa  - Kansas  - Kentucky  - Louisiana  - Maine  - Maryland  - Massachusetts  - Michigan  - Minnesota  - Mississippi  - Missouri  - Montana  - Nebraska  - Nevada  - New Hampshire  - New Jersey  - New Mexico  - New York  - North Carolina  - North Dakota  - Ohio  - Oklahoma  - Oregon  - Pennsylvania  - Rhode Island  - South Carolina  - South Dakota  - Tennessee  - Texas  - Utah  - Vermont  - Virginia  - Washington - West Virginia  - Wisconsin  - Wyoming 


These pages do not begin to cover all the disasters that have taken place in every state.  There is also controversy over what constitutes and defines a "great" disaster from any other kind.  All disasters are "great" to those directly involved in them.

So these pages are a mix of "great" and "not so great" disasters.  The major disasters are all covered in the larger sites I have linked to as resources and the rest are related items of interest.

For example, you might not find a particular major disaster on this list, but it may be included in a site such as, which is one of the resources found here.

This is an excellent place to begin your research.  The links found here lead to an ever widening amount of information.  Good luck in your efforts.

Go to Pennsylvania Social Studies - Pennsylvania History - Capital City Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Tourism - Pennsylvania Disasters - Pennsylvania Geography - Pennsylvania Lesson Plans - Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities


Austin Dam __ "Austin Dam was a dam in the Freeman Run Valley, Potter County, Pennsylvania, which serviced the Bayless Paper Mill. A failure of the dam in 1911 caused 78 deaths and approximately $10 million damage." An encyclopedic article. - From wikipedia -

Brownsville, PA Mine Accident __ Original news articles about this deadly mine accident along with links to additional resources. - From -

Category:Natural disasters in Pennsylvania __ Index of wikipedia articles about Pennsylvania disasters. - From wikipedia -

Category:Pennsylvania tornadoes __ Index of wikipedia articles about tornadoes effecting Pennsylvania. - From wikipedia -

Darr Mine Disaster, December 19, 1907 __ "The Darr Mine, at Van Meter, was the site of one of the worst coal mining disasters in the United States. On December 19, 1907 a gas and dust explosion killed 239 coal miners in the dark tunnels of the Darr Mine." A good look at the mine disaster. - illustrated - From Raymond A. Washlaski, Ryan P. Washlaski & The 20th Century Society of Western Pennsylvania. -

Fredricksburg, PA Airplane Crash, Apr 1936 __ " Quintet of Army Fliers Burned to Death as Bomber Hits Mountain in Rain Storm, Bursts Into Flames" You will find original news articles and links to additional resources. - From - 

Historic Disasters: Pennsylvania Disasters __ List of Pennsylvania disasters with live link to information about each. - From -

Johnstown Flood __ "It is an erroneous opinion that the dam burst--it simply moved away..." A good overview of what happened. Click the 'more information' link to access a gallery of Johnstown Flood pictures. - From -

Johnstown, PA Flood - May 31, 1889 __ "A neglected southwestern Pennsylvania dam and days of rain combined to create one of America's greatest tragedies. The South Fork Dam, built to hold back Lake Conemaugh for the prestigious South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club, collapsed on May 31, 1889." Full story. - illustrated - From -

Pennsylvania Disasters Floods, Fires, Tornadoes, Mine Explosions ... __ Pennsylvania Disasters. Events that touched our ancestor's lives: Pennsylvania floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, mining accidents, explosions, ..." Many click to read articles and resources. - illustrated - From -


Pennsylvania Highways: Quecreek Mine Accident __ "The summer of 2002 seemed to be like any other summer. The "dog days" of the season were begging to rear their ugly head, and most people looking up to see if any relief was on the way. However, come July 24, most of the United States if not the world would be looking down." A comprehensive report. - illustrated - From -

Pennsylvania Tornadoes __ Pennsylvania tornadoes from 1950 to 1995, listed by County. - From -
Rhoads Theater Fire __ "One fire escape was available but unable to be accessed through a locked window above a 3 foot sill. 170 people perished when the exit was crowded against to escape the fire. Entire families were wiped out." An encyclopedic article - illustrated - From wikipedia -

Steamer Aliquippa Sinking, Aliquippa, PA Aug 1928 __ Original news articles along with links to additional resources. - From -


United Airlines Flight 93 __ "...the United Airlines Boeing 757-222, registered N591UA,[1] was one of four planes hijacked as part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It did not reach its intended target, instead crashing in an empty field just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C." An encyclopedic article with links to additional resources. - illustrated - From wikipedia -
United Airlines Flight 624 __ "United Airlines Flight 624, a DC-6 (NC37506), originated in San Diego, California with stops in Los Angeles and Chicago enroute to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The four-engine propeller-driven passenger airliner crashed at 1:41 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time on June 17, 1948 at Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, killing all 4 crew members and 39 passengers on board." An encyclopedic article with links to additional resources. - illustrated - from wikipedia -

USAir Flight 427 __ "USAir Flight 427 was a scheduled flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a final destination of West Palm Beach, Florida. The flight crashed on September 8, 1994, killing everyone on board." An encyclopedic article with links to additional resources. - illustrated - From wikipedia -


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