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Home » Learn from a Local: Facts About Johnstown, PA

Learn from a Local: Facts About Johnstown, PA

Why choose Johnstown as a place to live, work, and play? This is something we could easily talk about for hours. Johnstown is a community of hard-working individuals who are passionate about the city and those living in it. We’re excited to tell you more about ourselves, and hopefully, one day we’ll learn more about you. To help you see the city from a local’s perspective, we compiled a list of some of the more unique facts about Johnstown that have helped transform it into the city it is today.

The Johnstown Inclined Plane 

The city of Johnstown is known for many things – one of its major claims to fame were the devastating floods. We didn’t write this article to talk about the tragic situations the city has faced, we wrote it to talk about the good. One great project that came from the first major flood in 1889 is the Johnstown Inclined Plane. Did you know it’s billed as the “world’s steepest vehicular inclined plane”?

A year after the flood in 1890, the Cambria Iron Company began construction of the famous Inclined Plane to carry people, horses, and wagons to the community located on higher grounds. With a steep grade of 70.9%, many thought that the Johnstown Inclined Plane would not be feasible. That’s the thing about the people of Johnstown – we are determined to get things done no matter the difficulty. Thankfully, we installed this inclined railway because in 1936 and 1977 two more floods devasted the Johnstown area, but this time, the city was prepared. The Inclined Plane helped carry people to the safety of higher ground and transported boats, emergency personnel, and equipment to the valley below.

The famous Johnstown Inclined Plane

The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra

Did you know that Johnstown is home to a world-class orchestra? The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra has been delighting the community since 1929. With a variety of shows offered, there is an experience for everyone. Attendees of the performance are swept off their feet by the variety of talent showcased. Are you ready to learn more about JSO?

The Oldest Record Store in America

Now, this next one might catch a couple of residents or visitors off-guard. George’s Song Shop, located on Market Street, is America’s Oldest Record Store! Since 1932, the store has been providing the community with rare 45s, full-size 12-inch records, and CDs. As the city of Johnstown changed over the years, George’s Song Shop remained the same and continues to welcome the city residents and tourists into its family business. 

George’s Song Shop located at 128 Market Street.

Cambria City Ethnic Fest

Each Labor Day weekend, the city of Johnstown celebrates its heritage by enjoying traditional ethnic foods, polka dancing, and walking around Cambria City. Pierogies, haluski, halupkis, and so much more will fill the bellies of Ethnic Fest guests. Don’t worry, you’ll be sure to dance it off by learning the polka while one of the bands plays. It’s a weekend full of friends, food, and learning more about Johnstown’s interesting history.

Hockeyville USA

We love hockey in Johnstown – so much so, the city was named the first-ever “Kraft Hockeyville USA.” Johnstown served as an inspiration for the popular hockey movie “Slap Shot,” and the city used it to showcase its passion for the sport during the contest. The 1st Summit Arena at the Cambria County War Memorial received $150,000 in arena upgrades and even hosted an NHL preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning that was televised live. Even a couple years later, we still tout our Hockeyville title with pride!

Johnstown was named the first ever Kraft Hockeyville USA in 2015.

Thunder in the Valley

Each year, during the fourth weekend in June, bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts travel from across the country for Johnstown’s Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally. Passionate bikers, sweet motorcycles, delicious food, lots of beer, and amazing bands await visitors during this weekend. Grab a few friends or come by yourself – you’re guaranteed to meet someone new – and check out Thunder in the Valley!

Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor adventures are easy to find in Johnstown. Stop traveling hours every weekend to find your next big thrill and live somewhere where adventure is in your backyard. Parks, forests, trails, and rivers saturate Johnstown and its surrounding areas. Learn more about our outdoor recreation with our post “19 Outdoor Adventure Spots Near Johnstown, PA.”

Outdoor recreation enthusiasts at the top of the Inclined Plane.