Visit Johnstown PA | History & Heritage

History & Heritage

Introducing Johnstown

By Dave Hurst

If all you know about Johnstown is its flood, you are missing out on much of its history – and a lot of fun! In addition to being the “Flood City,” Johnstown has been a canal port, a railroad center, a steelmaking center, and the new home for a colorful assortment of European immigrants.

If you liked the “Rocky” movies, you’ll love Johnstown. This community was knocked down three times by devastating floods – in 1889, 1936 and 1977. Each time, our residents honored their dead, rolled up their sleeves, and rebuilt their homes and businesses.

Visit Johnstown today and you can hear the inspirational stories arising from the Johnstown floods. But you also can see how we made steel and mined coal. You can experience our immigrant heritage and arts scene in the Cambria City Historic District. Or you can party with us at one of the top-10 motorcycle rallies in the nation and other first-rate festivals celebrating music and ethnicity. You can boat whitewater in the Stonycreek Canyon; ride our byways; bicycle country lanes, mountain bike single-track and cycle rail-trails; hike atop our lush ridges; and boat, fish, or swim in lakes once owned by steel companies. And all of the Johnstown area’s attractions come beautifully framed by the scenic Allegheny Mountains.

Johnstown is located just 70 miles east of Pittsburgh (an easy drive on U.S. Route 22), less than a half-hour north of the Somerset Exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and less than an hour from the Bedford Exit.