Below are excerpts from 1911: The Austin Flood. Just click on the links below. You'll be able to read brief passages from several of the book's chapters.
Introduction - For countless years, tiny Freeman Run has flowed through the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in northcentral Pennsylvania, gently tugged along by gravity on its voyage to the Susquehanna River...more
Chapter 1: Too Tough To Die - This is the tale of a town that sometimes describes itself as too tough to die. It’s also a lesson in the perils of wishful thinking. Its heroes are easy to identify; the villains less clear and subject to ceaseless speculation and debate...more
Chapter 3: Let's Build A Dam - Much of the town’s vitality was pegged to Bayless Pulp and Paper Company. Conditions inside were dirty, loud, smelly and oftentimes hot and extremely humid. Grinding gears, belts and pulleys, razor-sharp chippers, beater machines, sharp copper screens, fast-spinning heavy rollers, rope drives and powerful engines were a constant danger...more
Chapter 7: Head For The Hills! - Saturday, September 30, dawned bright and sunny in Austin, a typical Indian summer day. The town was buzzing with Election Day activity. Voters were drawn in particular to the race for the three seats on the Potter County Board of Commissioners...more
Chapter 10: RIP, Austin - Sunday dawned with a veil of fog and smoke overhanging the scene. Dozens of people arrived overnight, including rescue workers, photographers, news reporters, and good Samaritans who brought food and clothing...more
Chapter 14: Who's To Blame? - Engineers and other experts agree that too many corners were cut in construction of the dam and the structure was poorly anchored. By his pennypinching stubbornness, George Bayless sabotaged his own dam. Technology of 1909 was sufficiently advanced that a safer dam could have been built...more
They Were There: Sam Costa Sr. - I was born in Costello, where my father worked at the tannery. Shortly thereafter, he moved us to Austin, where he went to work at the Bayless Paper Mill, as did many other Italians...more
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