On Sunday of Juneteenth weekend, I spent the day checking out a few additional state parks in the Coudersport area along with one historic site. I headed southwest to the remains of the Austin Dam.
The Austin Dam, also known as the Bayless Dam, was a concrete gravity dam in the Austin, Pennsylvania area that served the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill. Built in 1909, It was the largest dam of its type in Pennsylvania at the time. The catastrophic failure of the dam on September 30, 1911 caused significant destruction and the death of 78 in Freeman Run Valley below the dam. The dam failed because it was not built as designed to cut cost.
The paper mill and dam were subsequently rebuilt, but the mill was lost in a fire in 1933. A new dam was built, but it also failed, in 1942, with no loss of life. The dam was not replaced after the second failure. The remains of the failed first dam still stand and are the site of a local park. The ruins consist of a series of broken sections extending east to west across the Freeman Run Valley. There are five upright sections and two large and several smaller toppled sections. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
There is a small park here. It is also possible to camp here. As I am slightly freaked out by dams and given the history, I don’t think I could camp here.
Here is a look at some places in Austin today.