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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Johnstown in Cambria County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Calamity and Prosperity

 
 
Calamity and Prosperity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
1. Calamity and Prosperity Marker
I rubbed the black film of filth off the marker with my bare fingers to reveal the text only because the friction on my fingers was barely tolerable.
Inscription. The booming period, from 1867 to 1889, was used to make steel rails and fortunes...Across this rampant industrial expansion, the Great Flood of 1889 rolled like a juggernaught.
- Nathaniel Daniel Shappee. A History of Johnstown and the Great Flood of 1889.

The Stoneycreek River, which flows beneath this bridge, rose fourteen feet in four hours during the flood of 1861. But that flood, as well as many others, is not considered among Johnstown's major floods. The so-called "major floods" include the flood of 1977, the flood of 1936, and the fabled "Great Flood of 1889."

This physically dangerous environment was created during the formation of the rivers and mountains here geologic ages ago. Ironically, it was an environment that also contained all of the ingredients to create a city "celebrated as the seat of the leading steel and iron factory in America..."

Mountains of timber, iron ore, limestone, and coal were all located at the headwaters of navigation of the Ohio River watershed.

Everything about us was in inextricable confusion, showing the effects of the terrific convulsion through which nature and humanity has passed.
Rev David J. Beale, A Survivor of the 1889 Flood.

Along toward dusk tongues of flame would shoot up in the pall around Johnstown. When some furnace door
Calamity and Prosperity Marker and Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
2. Calamity and Prosperity Marker and Bridge
In the background are the Stoneycreek River and the wide pedestrian bridge from Johnstown proper to the Inclined Plane station.
was opened the evening turned red. A boy watching from the rim of hills had a vast arena before him, a place of vague forms, great labors, and dancing fires. And the murk always present, the smell of the foundry. It gets into your hair, your clothes, even your blood.
Charlie Schwab.

On this trail you will encounter extraordinary objects created in Johnstown's steel industry, a coal mine that once fueled that industry, and a glimpse of the 300 million years of geological history invovled in the creation of coal.
 
Location. 40° 19.557′ N, 78° 55.565′ W. Marker is in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in Cambria County. Marker can be reached from Johns Street. Touch for map. Marker is located on a trail accessed from the lower station of the Johnstown Inclined Plane, immediately north of the track. Marker is in this post office area: Johnstown PA 15905, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Johnstown Flood (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Johnstown Incline (about 800 feet away); Johns Street Bridge (approx. mile away); a different marker also named Johnstown Flood (approx. 0.3 miles away); Johnstown Local Flood Protection Project
Access to the Calamity and Prosperity Marker/Trail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
3. Access to the Calamity and Prosperity Marker/Trail
Reaching the marker is fun. Upon crossing the pedestrian/bike bridge to the lower Inclied Plane station/dock, look to the left (south) and you will see this passge with a caution-striped pole centered at the beginning. Walk this way and open the door at the end.
(approx. 0.3 miles away); Flood Prevention (approx. 0.3 miles away); Pennsylvania Railroad Stone Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); American Red Cross (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Johnstown.
 
More about this marker. The marker may actually be in the Borough of Westmont because the the borough border juts down the mountainside to include the entire Johnstown Inclined Plane, but not the bridge to the lower station. There is a small free public parking area in Johnstown next to the wide pedestrian bridge to the lower Inclined Plane station. Refer to the pictures on this panel to reach the marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Johnstown Inclined Plane. (Submitted on September 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Johnstown Flood - Wikipedia. (Submitted on September 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
 
Categories. DisastersEnvironmentIndustry & Commerce
 
Access to Calamity and Prosperity Marker/Trail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
4. Access to Calamity and Prosperity Marker/Trail
After walking through a passage in part of the station, in which there are some stairs and also a pipe to duck under, you will exit at this door and walk across the narrow bridge to the trail.
Access to Calamity and Prosperity Marker/Trail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
5. Access to Calamity and Prosperity Marker/Trail
Next, walk under the Inclined Plane track to the marker at the begininng of the wood railing.
Calamity and Prosperity Marker and Trail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
6. Calamity and Prosperity Marker and Trail
The narrow bridge from the back of the station is in the background.
Calamity and Prosperity Marker and Inclined Plane car image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, August 22, 2014
7. Calamity and Prosperity Marker and Inclined Plane car
Is the thick black film of filth on the marker face dried lubricant flying off various parts of the Inclined Plane, or it is from the natural vegetation, or both?
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 210 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 5, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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