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7.08.2018

Johnstown's Inclined Plane

One thing that never gets old, no matter how many times you do it, is riding the Johnstown Inclined Plane. This is the steepest vehicular incline in the world, meaning that it has the ability to carry an automobile up the funicular. It was built two years after the fateful 1889 flood in order to allow for quicker egress out of the Conemaugh Valley in the case of another flood. The incline allows people to get out of the valley within 90 seconds, instead of the ten minute drive (without traffic) or longer hike up and out of the valley. Once you reach the top, you are in the borough of Westmont and get a spectacular view of Johnstown and the valley. 
This 896.5 foot tall funicular is the world's steepest vehicular incline. It was completed in 1891 as a means of quick escape from Johnstown in the case of another emergency. It was designed by Samuel Diescher, a Hungarian engineer that also designed the famous Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh in addition to a number of other inclines. He even designed the machinery for the first Ferris Wheel at the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago. 










Here you can see the motor room which enables to push and pull of the cars of the funicular. 


Some of the former steel company buildings along the river.
 Some specs on the Inclined Plane
The view of Johnstown from the top. The industrial past has given way towards a cleaner place for recreational opportunities. Baseball and hockey are both very popular in the city, along with tubing and rafting down the Stonycreek River. Music festivals are also happening in the city and a grand vision has been created for helping build the city as more of a tourism hub. An article on this can be read here at Keystone Crossroads. In the photo below you can see how the rivers have been channeled into concrete troughs similar to the famed LA River that you see in the famous chase scene in the Terminator 2 movie. They have saved the city from numerous serious floods and also saved it from greater damage and lost lives during the flood of 1977.
Below you can see some of the old steel buildings, and in the foreground you can see the Stone Bridge (railroad arch bridge) that dates back to 1887. This was one of the few things to survive the horrific Johnstown Flood of 1889. The bridge is a symbol of resilience, but also tragedy, in that it caught the giant pile of wreckage from the flood and then a giant fire occurred which killed many trapped in the pile. The inferno burned for three days. Recently the bridge was fully renovated with fresh paint and the addition of LED lights. 
The baseball stadium plays hosts to multiple PIAA uses including both baseball and football. The All-American Amateur Baseball Association has a huge history at the ballpark. The original ballpark was built in 1926 and was replaced in 2005. University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown's Division II baseball team also calls the stadium home.
 Better watch that guy on first!
Advance the runner! Notice the football lines in the turf. 



7.01.2018

Historic Hanna's Town: Rebuilt Frontier Town in Westmoreland County

Hanna's Town is a is a beautiful little village in Westmoreland County. We stumbled upon it on one of our random drives. The numerous 18th century buildings caught our eyes and we had to stop. The village is home to three 18th log houses, and some reconstructed buildings. 
The village was the original founded by Irish and Scotch-Irish immigrants and was the county seat of Westmoreland County, dating back to 1773. In 1782 as one of the final actions of the Revolutionary War, the village was destroyed by the King's 8th Regiment out of Fort Niagara, a Native American tribe, led by Guyasuta, that allied with the British. The village was rebuilt, though the county seat was moved to Greensburg and Forbes Road was rerouted through there instead of the village. Hannastown primarily became a farming community.
These days we are left with a glimpse as to what that village looked like back in those days.

The site also serves as an excellent archaeological spot to give a glimpse into the lifestyles from that time period. With the bulk of the surrounding area being converted into farmland, the area serves as a time capsule, making it an excellent place for archaeological finds. 

The facility is run by the nice folks at the Westmoreland County Historical Society. They are very enthusiastic and welcoming when you visit, telling you about the history of the village and more. For more information on visiting, be sure to check out their website
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