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Westmont Residential District

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1889–1949. Bounded by Lehigh St., Edgehill Dr., Millcreek Rd., and Hood Ave.

Westmont borough, immediately southwest of downtown Johnstown, was conceived as a pastoral suburb separated by the 1,694-foot-high Yoder Hill from the noise, stench, and mud of the ironworks. The Cambria Iron Company owned much of the land surrounding Johnstown. Immediately after the 1889 flood, the company hired Charles Miller, of Miller and Yates, a Philadelphia landscape architecture firm, to design a model suburb on these former farmlands where the horses and mules used in the company's mills and mines grazed. The company opened the land for sale to the residents of Johnstown soon after, and completion of an inclined railway in 1891 rapidly increased lot sales. Miller's grid plan extending from Edgehill Drive to Hood Avenue followed the contours of the hill's crest. The area was popular as a place to picnic, spend a day at the Johnstown Driving Park, a horse track in operation from 1893 to 1903, or play golf or tennis at the Westmont Tennis Club of 1895. As housing developments crowded these recreational activities, the company revoked their leases, and after 1907 they moved farther outside the city.

Unofficially, the borough was divided into two neighborhoods: the southern more affluent section, the “Dinner Side,” and the northern blue-collar section with company-owned housing called the “Supper Side.” The Dinner Side is best represented by the Shingle Style house of Cambria Iron Company general manager Charles S. Price (1892; 510 Edgehill Drive). The Supper Side houses are dispersed throughout the area and date from three periods: first, the gable-roofed single and double frame houses for laborers and millworkers on Wyoming and Lehigh streets built c. 1891; second, the pyramid-roofed, single-family frame houses on Tioga Street built c. 1901 for middle management employees; and third, the middle management homes on Colgate Avenue and Tioga Street built between 1909 and 1911. Two frame Queen Anne houses at 140 and 146 Colgate Avenue, both dating to 1911, were built by the Cambria Iron Company, using kits from Sears and Roebuck. Most of the houses were modest but well constructed, and the Cambria Iron Company was known for excellent maintenance of its rental properties.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Westmont Residential District", [Johnstown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-CA22.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 316-317.

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