Head for the Hills: Johnstown Flood

View of the broken dam looking from bed of lake (Credit: Library of Congress)

The year was 1889. The South Fork Dam in Pennsylvania had existed since 1838 when construction began on it (but was not actually finished until 1852). For years there had been talk about the possibility of the dam giving way … Continue reading

“We’re Holding Our Own”: SS Edmund Fitzgerald

SS Edmund Fitzgerald (Courtesy Wikipedia)

On 10 November 1975 a ferocious storm swirled over Lake Superior, the result of two weather systems clashing. It was one of the worst storms in the collective memory of many experiencing it. And caught in the middle was the … Continue reading

Inescapable: Prisoners in Colditz

Colditz (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Colditz Castle, Oflag IVC, was supposed to be an inescapable fortress. The Nazi regime had designated it a prison for the exceptional Allied prisoners who proved themselves “high-security risks”. When the first British prisoners of war arrived on 7 November … Continue reading

“Watch Out!”: New Jersey Shark Attacks of 1916

The "man-eater" (Courtesy Library of Congress)

July 1916 had been a dreadfully hot time for thousands of New Englanders. Combine this with the new craze for swimming and you have busy beaches. In an effort to escape the heat New Englanders took to the sea, swarming … Continue reading

Soldier & Emperor: Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon (Courtesy Library of Congress)

On 15 August 1769 Napoleone di Buonaparte was born to Carlo and Leticia (Ramolino) Buonaparte in Ajaccio, Corisca. The fairly influential family of Italian heritage was of some substance. As a result Carlo was able to send Napoleone to study … Continue reading