2011-08-11 / Local & State

Pa. Dog Statue From 1889 Johnstown Flood Returns

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) – Johnstown’s famous dog has gotten a makeover and will be back on public display.

The centuries-old statue known as Morley’s Dog was a popular feature in a Johnstown park for decades, until it was removed for restoration more than seven years ago, the Johnstown Tribune- Democrat http://bit.ly/oIuHQx reported Thursday.

The newly refurbished statue will be on display at this weekend’s AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival. Officials also are working to find the pooch a permanent home indoors.

The statue was swept away from the lawn of an Iron industry executive in the Great Flood of 1889, recovered from a huge pile of debris, and later donated to the city.

The Johnstown Area Heritage Society says the statue was made in the late 1800s by New York City’s J.W. Fiske Iron Works. Cambria Iron executive James Morley bought the statue and kept it on his lawn at Main and Walnut, until the May 31, 1889, flood devastated the town. It was recovered after the flood and returned to the family, and finally donated to the city in the 1940s.

Many came to believe the statue was a likeness of a real dog; others that it was specifically modeled off of a dog that saved a child during the flood. The historical society said neither is true, but the misconception probably was fueled by a reference to the flood and the statue in the 1977 Paul Newman movie “Slap Shot.’’

Instead, the famous statue was ordered out of a catalog.

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