Archive for the ‘History & Landmarks’ Category

Flax Scutching Festival

Published Friday, September 4th, 2015

Take a step back in time in Stahlstown, PA, by exploring the 2015 Flax Scutching Festival Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20.


Gravity Hill

Published Friday, August 14th, 2015

Photo courtesy of the Bedford County Visitors Bureau

Experience South Central Pennsylvania’s most intriguing illusion, Gravity Hill, located in New Paris, PA, in Bedford County.


Fort Ligonier

Published Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Photo courtesy of Fort Ligonier

Much of the historical geography of Pennsylvania is marked by three major wars fought on North American soil – eastern Pennsylvania is known for the Revolutionary War, central Pennsylvania is the site of Gettysburg and other Civil War battles, while the history of the western part of the state was shaped by the French & Indian War, an 18th century conflict that’s much less familiar to most Americans. One of several important historic sites in our region related to that early period is Fort Ligonier, a reconstructed fort based on the original, which was in use from 1758-1766. A separate, modern museum facility tells the story of what happened there.


Prince Gallitzin’s Tomb

Published Monday, October 27th, 2014

The founder of the town of Loretto was a remarkable Catholic priest named Demetrius Gallitzin, also known as the “Apostle of the Alleghenies.”  Born in 1770 to an aristocratic Russian family in living in Holland, his life would be full of adventure and service. The steel industrialist Charles Schwab funded Gallitzin’s tomb and statue in Loretto, a historic site that’s well-worth a visit today.


Eliza Furnace

Published Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Photo courtesy of Indiana Parks & Trails.

This region is known for its rich Industrial Revolution history in the development of the iron and steel industry. Johnstown’s massive Cambria Iron Company was founded in 1852, and by 1858 had grown to become one of the nation’s largest producers of rails — and later, would become known for several technological breakthroughs in the manufacture of steel.

But even before the industry’s explosive growth, the region boasted a handful of small-scale blast foundries and blast furnaces, including the Eliza Furnace. Built in 1846, the Eliza Furnace is today a major attraction along the Ghost Town Trail, a rail-to-trail hiking and biking path that stretches from Blacklick to Ebensburg.


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.”


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.


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).


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.