Friday, September 18, 2009

Path of the Flood Trail- Conemaugh to Johnstown PA

Image: Staple Bend Tunnel is oldest railroad tunnel in America, built in early 1830s. It is part of the Allegheny Portage Railroad that transported goods and passengers over the Allegheny Mountain Range. If your ancestors traveled from Philadelphia to Pittsburg between 1834 -1854, they probably went through this tunnel- so did some of the famous- like author Charles Dickens, soprano Jenny Lind, PT Barnum, and even the body of President William H. Harrison. I trusted the stone work of the Irish and Welsh immigrants who dug this tunnel so that I didn't hesitate to ride my bike through. But nevertheless, I was glad to see the light again at the other end. The Little Conemaugh River running beside the trail is the same that carried the flood waters which destroyed Johnstown in 1889. And it's worth noting that my father's first cousin, Martha Strike, the only known daughter of Julius Strike, is buried in South Fork Cemetery, another town in the flood's path. Fortunately, She was born in November, 1904, about 15 years after The Flood.

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