I've not seen a tackier dome than the Flood Museum Dome.. I happened to be driving to Pittsburgh in the summer of '98 and passed through Johnstown. We stopped at the Flood Museum with no prior knowledge about the flood or its history. While my wife was buying the tickets, I looked in the gift shop and saw these little black domes that used pieces of buildings instead of snow. So I bought a pair and we entered the museum.

In 1889, Johnstown, Pennsylvania was a growing steel town located in the Comenaugh river valley. Upstream was an exclusive county club with a manmade lake holding over 20 million gallons of water. On May 30, the dam that formed that lake broke and a wall of water 20 feet high wiped out the center of Johnstown. Most of the houses and some of the people that were swept away piled up at a stone bridge outside of town. There it caught fire and burned for several days. Over 2200 people either drowned or were burned up. The whole disaster is retold at the Flood Museum web site.Johnstown was rebuilt and grew even bigger.

The white pieces in the dome are taken from a famous picture taken at the time that showed an uprooted house with a tree sticking out of the second floor. The red and blue pieces are railroad boxcars. The background is from a painting of the bridge that was widely circulated in the world press after the disaster.

I agree with the many people who say this dome is really tasteless.

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July 10, 1998