Cambria County lies to the east of Westmoreland County, and at one time, this area was so remote that railroads could not traverse the steep Allegheny Mountains. Today, those mountains have been conquered, but Cambria County is still home to some of the most picturesque vistas in the state. Ebensburg is the county’s capital, and Johnstown is its largest city.
Allegheny Portage Railroad
This National Historic site preserves Pennsylvania’s first railroad to cross the Allegheny mountains. A series of inclined planes connected on either end to portions of the Pennsylvania Canal. Before the railroad, it took 23 days to travel from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by Conestoga Wagon. After the railroad, it reduced that time to four days. There are several buildings to explore at the site.
Johnstown Flood Museum
On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam on the Little Conemaugh River failed sending a wall of water rushing toward Johnstown, killing 2,209 people. Today, the Johnstown Flood Museum chronicles the unfortunate circumstances to lead to this catastrophic loss of life and property.
Johnstown Inclined Plane
The same man who designed Pittsburgh’s Monongahela and Duquense Inclines also designed the Johnstown Inclined Plane. Twice this incline has helped shuttle people from rising floodwater, during the 1936 flood and then again in 1977. The inclined plane is open to visitors from April 1 through December 31.
Prince Gallitzin State Park
Prince Gallitzin State Park is named in honor of Prince Demetrius Gallitzin, a Russian nobleman who became a Roman Catholic priest. Known as the Apostle of Alleghenies, Gallitzin became a missionary to the pioneers living in the Allegheny mountains in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The park boasts 6,249 acres and includes a 1,635-acre lake.