Visit Our Towns – Loretto, Ebensburg and Cresson
Loretto was the first English-speaking Catholic settlement in the U.S. west of the Allegheny Front!
Loretto was the first English-speaking Catholic settlement in the U.S. west of the Allegheny Front! Loretto, formerly the McGuire Settlement, was named after the Shrine of the Holy House in Loreto, Italy, by Father Demetrius Gallitzin, a former Russian Prince who renounced his royal upbringing, enrolled in seminary and became the first priest to receive all of his seminary studies in the United States. Gallitzin, known as “The Apostle of the Alleghenies”, established the church and pastored the settlement in Loretto until his death in 1840. He is buried in an underground crypt with his heroic-sized statue standing atop a monument next to the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel. He is currently under consideration for sainthood.
Another famous Loretto resident was steel magnate, Charles Schwab. Born into poverty, Schwab was hired by Carnegie Steel of Pittsburgh when he was 17 and worked his way up to company president by the age of 35. Schwab contributed his financial resources significantly to the people of the Ebensburg/Loretto community financing the Carmelite Monastery and the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel.
Built as a gift to the parish from Charles Schwab. Romanesque basilica with Gothic features and designed in the shape of a Latin cross. Three bells; four Italian marble altars; the organ, a gift from Andrew Carnegie; Mexican onyx Communion railing; Stations of the Cross imported from Italy.
Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin's Tomb
Father Gallitzin rests inside a 2,300 lb sealed air tight vault. The vault is located adjacent to the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in an underground crypt.
The Shrine of Our Lady of the Alleghenies
A symbol of the heroic missionary devotion that Father Gallitzin extended to Our Blessed Mother and hius Catholic colony in the Loretto wilderness. The shrine is located between the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel and the Prince Gallitzin Chapel House.
Beautiful flower gardens, fountains, rock gardens, shrines, reflection ponds, and religious statues on the property of the Franciscan Friars. Former summer estate of Bethlehem Steel magnate Charles Schwab. Open to the public from dawn until dusk.
Father Gallitzin’s Chapel House contains a sanctuary with beautiful, stained glass windows and religious artifacts along with a residential area once occupied by Father Gallitzin. Personal effects on display including his Mass vessels, vestments made by his mother, his violin and writings, his rope bed, clock, personal desk, Gallitzin family seal, and photographs. Tours available by appointment.
Saint Francis was founded in 1847 making it the oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States. The university is located in the heart of the great outdoors on a 600-acre campus in Loretto, Pennsylvania. The university offers 60+ undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs that range from non-degree certificates to doctoral level programs.
Experience Small Town Hospitality in Ebensburg - Cambria’s County Seat
Ebensburg traces its roots back to 1797, when the Rev. Reese Lloyd and a group of eleven families traveled here from Philadelphia and established a Welsh colony. In 1804, Ebensburg was designated the seat of the newly-formed County of Cambria. During the late 19th century, Ebensburg grew and prospered as word of the area’s natural springs and scenic beauty spread. Many of the wealthy from New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh constructed summer “cottages” of fifteen to twenty rooms; while others enjoyed the services provided by the Belmont, Lloyd Springs and Mountain House. These hotels counted Andrew Carnegie, William H. Vanderbilt, and Mary Todd Lincoln as guests. This tradition of hospitality continues today, and it is worth exploring all the community has to offer.
The Ebensburg Main Street Partnership is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to improve the economic vitality of Ebensburg’s business community. To this end, the Partnership and Community Development Director develop programs designed to recruit new businesses, retain those established, and encourage reinvestment within the commercial district. This eleven-member board is also responsible for coordinating many of Ebensburg’s special events.
First held in 1891 on the present site, the fair takes place annually Labor Day week. Livestock displays; handmade & home-grown exhibits; national food vendors; and displays of new and interesting items from vendors from across the state. Nightly entertainment. Winter storage space available. During spring and summer months the grounds are available to rent for events.
A significant example of Victorian Second Empire architecture. Courtroom I is a 500-seat “auditorium setting” and is one of the largest courtrooms in the United States. A beautiful stained glass dome displays the county seal while two murals painted during the Great Depression are featured on the second floor. Guided tours by appointment: call 814-472-1680.
Explore Cambria County’s history in the restored A.W. Buck House. Resources available for historical and genealogical research. Groups welcome by appointment. Museum admission free. Fee for research library.
Located off of Route 22 on Lakeview Road. A cold and warm water fishery. Stocked year round. Fish species include rainbow, brown and brook trout; largemouth, smallmouth, and rock bass; pickerel, crappie and other panfish. Boats with electric motors permitted. Fishing permitted throughout the year. Dock accessible to physically challenged individuals.
Spend some time in Cresson – Abraham Lincoln did!
Cresson workers helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution. According to Sr. Anne Frances Pulling in her book “Around Cresson and the Alleghenies”, the town of Cresson was a “hub of commerce when the Pennsylvania Railroad established headquarters here with a roundhouse, machine shops and branch lines.” Besides railroading, Cresson industries included lumbering, coal mining, and coke yards. Laborers resided in company houses located within one mile of where high society had built mansions.
The area’s natural beauty of lush greens and mountain springs served as an escape for the Pittsburgh elite. Several built residences here including J&L Steel icon, Benjamin Jones, and U.S. Steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie. Many affluent guests, including President Abraham Lincoln, visited the elaborate Mountain House. Situated on a hillside amongst several mountain springs and private cottages, the resort accommodated 900 affluent guests who vacationed and made business decisions here. Today, the town’s primary industries include education and health and social services.
The U.S. News & World Report college guide has ranked Mount Aloysius as one of the top comprehensive colleges in the northern U.S. Established in 1853, Mount Aloysius is a comprehensive, liberal arts and science-based institution with a commitment to career-directed study.
An N5C Caboose is located along Mainline Norfolk Southern. A rail observation platform is parallel to the tracks and offers an ideal photo-taking spot.
This monument is a tribute to Cresson native and Arctic explorer, Robert E. Peary, who discovered the North Pole on April 6, 1909. Cresson is Peary’s birthplace.
The Eastern Cambria County area sits atop the Allegheny Highlands in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. It is intersected by PA routes 53 and 36 and also US route 22. The area is located between Altoona to the East and Johnstown to the Southwest. The Eastern Cambria County area primarily consists of the Boroughs of Ashville, Cresson, Gallitzin, Lilly, Loretto, Sankertown and Tunnelhill and theTownships of Allegheny, Cresson, Dean, Gallitzin, Munster and Washington.