Bob and I belong to a local motorcycle riding group called 2 Scoop Cycletherapy. Bob and I and some of our motorcycle riding group friends went on an all-day motorcycle ride on Sunday, July 17. The ride was planned and led by our friend Mark. Our destination was the Austin Dam in Austin, PA.
According to its website the Austin Dam broke in 1911 “and water engulfed much of the town of Austin and claimed over 78 lives. In 1994 the Austin Dam Memorial Park Association was formed and they since have worked diligently to preserve the dam remains and to create a beautiful natural park.” Bob and I visited the dam ruins a few years ago. Our friends had never been there.
The view of the dam ruins from Sykes Vista was overgrown with weeds. I had to stand on top of a wooden rail to get a picture of the dam ruins.
From Sykes Vista we rode into the Austin Dam Memorial Park. The entrance to the park was on the left a short distance from Sykes Vista. I should mention that the park entrance road, which I believe is a mile in length, is a narrow, gravel road that is steep in places. The road is especially steep on the descent into the memorial park.
Mark, Bob, Scott and Paul and Debbie making the descent
into Austin Dam Memorial Park.
Faye, Donna and I walked down the steep gravel road.
We did ride 2-up on our way out of the memorial park and up the gravel road. I asked Bob if it was a wise choice for me not to ride down that steep gravel road with him. He said yes, as he was able to handle the motorcycle better without a passenger when driving at a very low speed.
Paul at the Flood Victims Memorial
Austin Dam Ruins
The eight of us at Austin Dam Ruins
The Nutschke Pavilion contains pictures and accounts
about the flood of 1911 on its walls and on a couple of tables.
I mentioned earlier that Bob and I visited Austin Dam one time before. That visit as in October 2013, which you may read about here. I noted improvements since our earlier visit. There were informative maps located under glass on picnic tables in the pavilion. A park attendant was on hand, who talked about the tragedy that occurred in that area on September 30, 1911. There were permanent bathroom facilities available, rather than a port-a-john. The Austin Dam Memorial Association newsletters found on its website are full of information pertaining to the past, present and future of the Austin Dam. The Bayless Pulp & Paper Co. Mill ruins are also nearby. We passed by the ruins, while riding on State Route 872. We didn’t stop, as Mark did not see anywhere to pull off. According to one of the newsletters, there is a place on State Route 872, along Freeman Run, to stop and observe the ruins of the paper mill. The park attendant informed us that a trail is being planned that will link the Austin Dam ruins with those of the paper mill ruins. One of our friends remarked that he likes the kind of motorcycle rides that stay in your head for a while. Our visit to Austin Dam was that kind of ride.