Archive for the ‘History & Landmarks’ Category

Commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the Johnstown Flood

Published Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Photo courtesy of the Johnstown Area Heritage Association

On May 31, 1889, an earthen dam in South Fork broke, unleashing a flood wave that would destroy virtually everything in its path and claim 2,209 victims. The weekend of May 30-June 1, 2014, Johnstown will come together to remember the great flood, and celebrate our community.

“The Johnstown flood of 1889 had a major impact on American history, and it remains a truly compelling story,” said Richard Burkert, president of the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA). “This commemoration gives us the opportunity to build pride in our community’s heritage, promote visitation here, and position our city as an interesting place to live.”

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Cambria County Historical Society

Published Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Photo Courtesy of CCHS

In February 1925, six prominent citizens of Cambria County founded a historical society to “preserve and promote the history of Cambria County through museum collections, library, and archives.” Today the Cambria County Historical Society is still going strong as an archive and museum, offering exhibits, history lectures and other community events, as well as research services.

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Johnstown Flood National Memorial

Published Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Located in St. Michael, the Johnstown Flood National Memorial tells the story of the 1889 flood, a disaster that claimed 2,209 victims and had a profound effect on American history. The National Park Service site preserves the remains of Lake Conemaugh and the earthen dam that broke, along with several original buildings – notably the Unger House and the South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club’s clubhouse (pictured above).

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Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Published Friday, May 17th, 2013

Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

In its early days, the Allegheny Portage Railroad was a wonder of modern transportation. Helping to cut the 23 day trip from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to a mere 4 days, the railroad gave Pennsylvania trade and industry a much-needed boost at its 1834 opening.

Considered a marvel of engineering, the railroad consisted 10 incline planes and a series of locomotives which connected the western and eastern divisions of the state’s Public Works canal system.

Although you may be about 150 years too late to hitch a ride, the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site offers many fun and educational things to do. Start out at the visitor center, where you can enjoy a movie portraying the life of a fictional Portage Railroad worker named Edgar West. (more…)





The Stone Bridge

Published Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Photo Courtesy of the Johnstown Area Heritage Association

The Stone Bridge has been a fixture in Johnstown since the late 1800s. This seven-arch bridge was originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1887. During the Johnstown Flood of 1889, 100,000 tons of debris got caught up in the bridge and caused a massive fire, which killed scores of flood survivors who were trapped in the debris. The bridge survived the flood and its aftermath and is still in use today by the railroad.

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Dickens of a Christmas

Published Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

If you and your family are looking for a great way to get into the Christmas spirit this year, look no further than “Dickens of a Christmas”, held annually in Ebensburg. With activities taking place November 30th through December 2nd, this event is sure to bring out the Christmas cheer for everyone.

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Windber Medical Center Labyrinth

Published Friday, March 16th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Windber Medical Center

Meditation labyrinths have existed for hundreds of years, although their existence may not be common knowledge. More and more hospitals and organizations are using these as a beneficial healing tool. Labyrinths aid in enhancing wellness, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.

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Johnstown Inclined Plane and Asiago’s Restaurant

Published Friday, January 20th, 2012

A signature of Johnstown’s landscape for many years has been the Inclined Plane. Originally built for commuters after the 1889 flood, the world’s steepest vehicular incline still offers transportation to local residents, but now offers itself as a destination for visitors and locals alike. Whether you’re looking for a bit of history, a pleasant view or something to eat, a trip to the top of the Incline is a great way to spend part of your day in town. (more…)





Laurel Arts

Published Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Photo Courtesy of Laurel Arts

The mission of Laurel Arts, according to their website, is “…to promote, exhibit, collect and preserve multi-disciplinary art, to foster the creative process of individuals and groups, to provide cultural diversity and accessibility to a broad scope of arts for people of all ages in Somerset County in particular, and to interface with people in any geographical area that may share in the mission of Laurel Arts.” Mike Oliver, Executive Director of Laurel Arts, agrees, “As a rural arts organization, we are extremely proud of the quality and quantity of the arts opportunities that we provide to the residents of Somerset County and the surrounding areas.  I am confident in saying that the talent of our instructors and local artists rival that of those in bigger cities.” (more…)





Immigrant Christmas Traditions at the Wagner-Ritter House & Garden

Published Friday, December 2nd, 2011

On December 10-11 and 17-18 at noon and 3pm, the Johnstown Area Heritage Association will be sponsoring “Immigrant Christmas Traditions” at the Wagner-Ritter House and Garden. This year, the Immigrant Christmas will focus on crafts, stories and treats from Germany, Hungary, Italy and Wales in the late 19th and 20th centuries. (more…)