Statement of W.C. Snyder

Q. You are employed at Altoona as Assistant Train Master?
A. Yes, sir. Ihave [sic] been there for something over 7 years.

Q. Do you recollect this rain that produced the flood?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Just go on in your own way, and state what was the character of the rain at Altoona, up the mountain to the top of it, how the streams were swollen, how the Middle Division was affected by the fall of water, etc.
A. Well, the rain was exceedingly heavy. It started in on the evening of the 30th, and continued during the night by spells. It did not rain continuously at Altoona, butt [sic] the showers were exceedingly heavy;- so heavy that the citizens in that locality think they have never seen such a rainfall in the same length of time. Quite a number of the bridges, and a considerable portion of the track on the Hollidaysburg & Morrison Cove Branches, which run south of Altoona, were washed away, and several bridges and a considerable quantity of the track on the Middle Division. I do not know just the extent of the damage on the Middle Division, as it don't interest me directly. On the mountain we never had so much trouble from rain-fall since I have been in Altoona. We occasionally had some difficulty from rocks falling, and land slides, but we never had any flow of rain sufficient to wash away any of the tracks, as occurred at Lilly, in my recollection.

Q. Now, the stream that flows with the railroad (after it comes through the tunnel), was that stream, and the streams that come in at Kittanning Point, swollen?
A. Yes, sir, very much. They were so much swollen that there was considerable doubt as to whether the reservoir at Kittanning Point, which is the City's water supply, would stand the flood.

Q. Now, in a general way, how high was that stream after it got down within two or three miles of Altoona, and at Altoona?
A. I am unable to say. I did not see the stream, and didn't hear anybody say about the height of it.

Q. Can you say what the general character of the flood was between Altoona and Harrisburg, and in a general way, what bridges were washed away?
A. No, I can't give you that information exactly.

Q. Was your telegraphic communication interrupted?
A. Our telegraphic communication was entirely cut off. We had no telegraphic communication beyond Lilly westward for a day or two, and none beyond Tyrone eastward.

Q. So far as your experience goes, the flood was unprecedented in its volume and its destructive character?
A. Yes, sir, that is my opinion.

Q. Were you up at Lilly immediately after the washout?
A. No, sir, not for a week afterwards.

Last updated: February 14, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

733 Lake Road
South Fork, PA 15956


(814) 886-6170

Contact Us