Johnstown Pennsylvania History

May 31, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of a disaster that killed thousands of Pennsylvanians. Torrential rains toppled over western Pennsylvania, tore down telegraph wires and uprooted trees.

When the water sank, 2,208 people were dead, making it the deadliest disaster in U.S. history. To date, the Johnstown Flood is one of the deadliest disasters in Pennsylvania history and the second deadliest in the United States, behind only the Great Depression. At that time, more than 1,000 people died in a single event in US history, and that remains the case today. The Johntown Flood National Memorial, founded in 1964, is preserved on the site of an old dam, and there is a Johnstown Flood Museum outside the city, as well as a memorial to those killed.

The Johnstown Flood National Memorial and Johntown Flood Museum, both in town, are dedicated to the victims of the disaster.

While Grandview received a lot of attention during the Great Floods and subsequent floods of 1936 and 1977, the cemetery represents the entire history of the area, which spans a century and includes the war years. Overall, the Johnstown Flood National Memorial commemorates the victims of one of the most devastating natural disasters in Pennsylvania history.

The Old Conemaugh Borough Historic District is also known to be home to some of Johnstown's oldest neighborhoods and business districts, dating back to the time they grew on the edge of the Pennsylvania Canal Basin. The congregation was incorporated as Con Emaugh District on January 12, 1831 and renamed Johntown on April 14, 1834. In 1834, in order not to lose the shipping business to New York, the State of Pennsylvania and the great port of Philadelphia decided to dig the first section of the so-called Pennsylvania Main Line through the area, a great economic boon for the city. John Town began to benefit from the commerce and commerce of the time and was a city from 1834 to 1854, but the buildings on Pennsylvania's sewer system made it the second largest port in the United States after Philadelphia.

Settlers were persuaded to move into the valley of Conemaugh Stonycreek and settle south of historic Kittanning Path in Pennsylvania.

The main road was called Bedford, then Raystown, and the next major road that crossed the township was the Huntington, Indiana - Cambria Turnpike, which was completed in 1820. Johnstown became a stop on the main Pennsylvania Railroad line and was connected to Baltimore, Ohio by the New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Railroads, the first of its kind in the United States. In 1826, it became the site of a station for the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Railroad (P & P) and other railroad lines. The next major rail link to the USA was the Baltimore and Ohio Railway (B & O), whose main link was Johntown with Baltimore in Ohio. With the completion of this link, Johnville became an important stop along the line and a major rail hub.

Johnstown was built by the Pennsylvania Canal Barge, which was being transported piggybacked on the main route from New York City to Pittsburgh. Johnstown was and is the tip of its western offshoot, transporting and returning canal boats for the journey that led across the water from Pittsburgh to the Ohio Valley. It is and was an important stop on the eastern branch of the canal and an important railway junction. In 1826 it was also a head on its western arm as canal boats were transported and reloaded to continue their journey across the water to Pittsburgh and the Ohio Valley, and in 1827 it became another important stopover for Pennsylvania canals and barges that were transported piggyback.

After the sinking of the canal in 1863, the old Conemaugh was revived and the population continued to grow, reaching 30,000 by 1889, with about 1,500 people living in 1881 and 2,200 in 1890.

This led to years of research, including the Rosedale Oral History Project, which tried to find descendants of the Exodus, eventually banishing them from Johnstown and including interviews with many of their descendants. Over time, the aftermath of the "Great Johntown Flood" encompassed a number of events, such as its emergence into the progressive movement in the United States. It is clear that the Johnstown Flood is an event of local history that has had national repercussions and belongs in a catalogue of local historiography. Alisha B. Wormsley covers the history of Johnston, Pennsylvania, from its origins to its current status as a city.

The old Indian Trail, the Conemaugh Path, stretched from Bedford to Johnstown, from there westward through Ohio Country to Conemsaugh Gap and then westward to the Allegheny River. It first developed into what is now called Old Con Emaugh Borough, which opened in 1831. In 1832, as was customary at the time, a reservoir was built to supply water for the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. After the canal system was opened in 1853, it became obsolete, but was bought by Pennsylvania Railroad four years later.

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