A clarifying note on the
winning NTAMHS essay

Letter No. 342 | June 15, 2009


From the essay by Blake Michaels on the Southern Cambria Trolley:

The line opened in 1908 with the goal of connecting Johnstown, the most populous city in the county and Ebensburg. Ebensburg, even after repeated attempts by the southern parts remained the county seat. The main reason was its central location: If Johnstown were the seat, it would be over 50 miles to reach the seat when the only form of transportation was walking.

Well written article. Liked it. One minor flaw, sort of anyway. It is true that several times Johnstown tried to become the county seat. And the part about it being too far is also true. However, the real reason Johnstown, even today, can't become the county seat is that the people behind the formation of Cambria County were big landholders in the Beulah / Ebensburg area. It is written into the county charter by the state that the county seat must be located within 10 miles of the geographical center of the county. Can you imagine something like that happening. Also, Beulah was the first choice for the county seat. However, the split in the trails / roads ( current Rts 22 & 422) at Ebensburg to go to Pittsburgh and Indiana sealed the fate of Beulah.

Desmond Warzel, Belsano


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