The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

June 29, 2013

Partners offering industrial history tour

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Area Heritage Association and the National Park Service are partnering to offer a first-ever Industrial Heritage Bus Tour on  July 13.

Hosted by costumed interpreters, the day-long bus tour will give visitors a more complete understanding of the area’s industrial history from the early 19th century through the 1940s.

Shelley Johansson, director of communications and marketing for Johnstown Area Heritage Association, said full-day interpretive tours of sites associated with the 1889 Flood have been so successful that the time has come to focus on the area’s industrial history.

“There are a lot of fascinating stories associated with the area’s industrial importance and the role it played in developing America,” Johansson said. “Johnstown was the Silicon Valley of the steel industry. The industry’s brightest minds were sent to Johnstown to learn how to make steel.”

Costumed interpreters will be a part of a full-day tour, which includes National Park Service sites, the Lower Cambria Blacksmith Shop in Johnstown, and other significant sites.

Depending on the amount of interest, organizers are working to fill one bus before reserving any more.

Cost is $15, plus the cost of lunch. Space is limited, so Johansson encourages anyone interested in taking the tour to make reservations by calling 539-1889. Lunch will be available at Cresson Springs Family Restaurant.

Participants will begin the tour by checking in at the Heritage Discovery Center gift shop, located at 201 Sixth Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

“We will start the tour by having people view the Discovery Center’s ‘Mystery of Steel’ film and participants will receive a brief introduction from tour facilitators,” Johansson said.

The film explains Johnstown’s importance in the early steel industry, including the development of the Kelly converter and Bessemer steel production process.

“It also features modern footage of Johnstown’s steel mills, shot by Academy Award-winning director Charles Guggenheim just a few weeks before the mills were closed.”

The tour proceeds to the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site near Gallitzin.

National Park Service Ranger Gregory Zaborowski will give a tour of ALPO and will give a program which will discuss the building of the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal System and the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The tour will include costumed interpreters demonstrating 1830’s log and stone cutting.

“The history of this area is largely formed by our industrial heritage and you can’t explore or study history without addressing how industry has shaped and defined this region,” said Megan O’Malley, chief of interpretation for the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. “This is why a tour like this, that links industrial heritage sites, is so important.”

Prior to lunch, tourists will travel to the Gallitzin Tunnels, where they will be met by a costumed interpreter who will give an interpretive presentation about the Nazi sabotage plot of the Pennsylvania Railroad, based on the research and writing of Dennis McIlnay.

Retired National Park Service Ranger Mary Ann Davis will give a presentation as seen through the eyes Mrs. Andrew Carnegie’s neighbor.

The presentation will discuss the Carnegies and the Cresson Springs Resort.

Davis will be dressed in the garb of a woman living in the late 1880s.

“I plan to offer an entertaining and educational insight into the lives of the Carnegies,” Davis said. “Andrew Carnegie was an upstart before he became a competitor to Cambria Iron Works.”

The bus will return to Johnstown to visit the former Cambria Iron Co. Blacksmith Shop.

“This is rare opportunity to get inside a building that normally is not open to the public,” Johansson said.

Richard Burkert, JAHA president, will give the presentation.

The Blacksmith Shop, which was built in 1865, is part of the Cambria Iron & Steel National Historic Landmark, and is one of the nation’s oldest industrial buildings.

The octagonal structure, built circa 1864, has been stabilized with an ultimate goal of reopening the building as a fully functioning blacksmith shop.

Bethlehem closed the shop in 1992 and simply turned out the lights. Everything from steam hammers to hand tools was left behind.

Following the blacksmith shop tour, the group will return to the Heritage Discovery Center.

If you go

What: Industrial Heritage Bus Tour.

Where: Heritage Discover Center, 201 Sixth Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

When: July 13.

Cost: $15 a person.

Reservations: Call 539-1889.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads