Fifty years ago, a “fantastically unbelievable” flood hit Lebanon County when Tropical Storm Agnes dumped more than a foot of water and left a trail of devastation in its wake.

Although Hurricane Agnes had been downgraded to Tropical Storm Agnes by the time it hit Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth is believed to have suffered the most damage out of all locales hit by the storm, with Central PA receiving the brunt of the deluge.

The Lebanon Daily News’ initial report on June 23, 1972, the day after the storm, noted that noted that the Number 3 mine of the Bethlehem Cornwall Corporation was flooded out, and water was reported in the Number 4 mine as well, but that pumping operations were underway to get the mine reopened. Although some minor areas of the mining operation would remain accessible for a bit longer, power was out long enough to leave most of the remaining iron ore deposits in the mine inexorably entombed by titanic amounts of water.

In short, the storm marked the moment that an industrial saga which began with Peter Grubb’s first forge in 1735 closed its final chapter and crossed the chasm from present to past.

This diluvian story will be told in detail during a free online lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, by geologist Michael Weber who volunteers as a guide, researcher, and lecturer at Cornwall Iron Furnace. Weber will share how a confluence of factors led to Agnes ultimately bringing an end to mining operations in Cornwall.

A brief discussion will be held following the presentation. While the lecture is free to attend, donations are encouraged.

Register for the event here to gain access to the webinar link.

Update: You can watch the recorded lecture here.


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