the severity of the 1889 Flood, Johnstown's
progress was delayed only temporarily. Within a
few years it had regained the population it lost
by death, and most of its business houses and
manufacturing centers were back in operation. At
the time of the flood there were 10,000 people in
Johnstown Borough and 20,000 in the adjacent
communities. In 1891--two years after
consolidation--the City of Johnstown had 25,000
inhabitants and there were an additional 10,000
people living outside the city proper.
The rapid population
increase within the city limits continued for the
next three decades. Johnstown had 37,500 people
in 1901; by 1910 the figure hit 55,000; by 1920
it climbed to 67,327 and Johnstown was the
ninth-ranking city in Pennsylvania.
Between 1920 and
1940 the city population held fairly steady at
between 66,006 and 67,000. Since then it has
dropped slightly, particularly during the late
1940s and early 1950s when the trend to the
suburbs was in full stride. The 1950 census
placed Johnstown's population at 63,232.
In the past half
century, the one incident which perhaps had a
great effect on Johnstown's future, was the St.
Patrick's Day Flood in March of 1936. This flood
took several lives and caused damage estimated at
it was the disaster that prompted the
flood-control program by which Johnstown has
acquired flood-free status. Over $8 million was
spent in the five-year project to protect the
city from recurrence of the floods which had
plagued the city almost from the date of its
founding. The work of widening and deepening
river channels and building river walls was
completed on November 27, 1943.