Nestled in a narrow valley and along the winding stream of Freeman Run is the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill Dam, currently referred to as the Austin Dam. In 1911, the dam broke and water engulfed much of the town of Austin and claimed over 78 lives.
Come explore the ruins of the Austin Dam, the 2nd worst dam break in Pennsylvania history. Still, after more than a hundred years, an incredible sight. Ruins of the tall concrete leaners raise to the skies. A million pieces of broken aggregate lay beneath. A forest abounds around a grassy meadow that now covers this hallow ground.
In 1994, the Austin Dam Memorial Association was formed and since has worked to create a beautiful natural park. The ADMA has taken a piece of Americana and repurposed it into a recreational park enjoyed by many while preserving the local history. We tell the story behind the controversial Austin Dam, the events that led to it’s failure along with the harrowing accounts of the people who lived and died here.
Enjoy a reflective, thought-provoking visit to our park. Our friendly hosts greet intrigued visitors who want to learn about these ruins. Spend a special day at the pavilion, music stage, memorial, and picnic areas or a overnight stay at a ecofriendly campsites in this unique park in the hills of Pennsylvania.
Astounding views, rich history, seasonal welcome center and gift shop, camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking. In addition the these fun activities, our park has a number of special events throughout the year including the following:
Gathering of the Artists in July
The Austin Dam Show in August
Dam Pow wow in September
Terrifying Trail in October
Look for updates and more events to be added.
Please, stay off the Austin Dam ruins. This is a historical landmark. You are visiting a historic landmark, a place where a great tragedy occurred a century ago. This is a place of historical significance, and we expect that you will respect it as such. Stay away from the Bayless Pulp and Papermill ruins and view only from a safe distance.
© 2021 Austin Dam Memorial Association, Inc.