Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Report from the Home Page front

My flights made good time to Pittsburgh via Houston on Wednesday and I checked in to the Towne Manor motel in downtown Johnstown around 1 a.m. EDT, but only 10 p.m. by my California-set watch. With help with Judy Rose, Ron Weekes, and Ted Shrock, we were able to get the webcam installed at the Niner Diner, where it is testing well. The second phase will be to affix the camera in a more or less stationary position adjacent to the window and make sure the view south on Chestnut Street is the best we can get. We were pleased to find that mounting the camera inside the window will work, because that allays a passel of fears about weather and possible mistreatment by passersby if it had to be outside. We'll have to test it in various weather conditions, as a bright sunny day may cause glare on the window, though Thursday's heavy-overcast one posed no problem to good camera views of downtown Nanty Glo.

This was my first visit to the Niner Diner and all the good reviews it has received are well earned, I think. And it turned out to be the first anniversary of its beginning in business. The food was good, the ambience is great, and Ted's and Gwen's advancing plans to make it an Internet cafe are very encouraging. It is only about half a block from the entrance to the new portion of the rails to trails hike and bike trail from Nanty Glo to Ebensburg, so tourists coming in to use the Ghost Town and the new trail should be happy to find a place with wireless Internet access. That should be reality within a few days, and high-speed ethernet access was already available on Thursday, with two computers onsite. At least initially, Internet access is being offered free to customers of the Diner. Kids under 14 must be accompanied by an adult to log on.

The restaurant's '50s decor seems fitting for Nanty Glo, as that was to many of us oldtimers at least, the town's heyday. And it augments and refreshes our memories of those happy days. The Ebensburg branch of the trail doesn't look close enough to being ready to open a week from tomorrow (which is its launch date), but it will be interesting to see how much can be done in that week. It turns out the Nanty Glo gazebo is ideally located now as it's just adjacent to the trail's starting point and will be a great place to take a break and sit a spell before going on to Ebensburg or, travelling west, Twin Rocks or Vintondale.

Thursday's Postcard was greatly delayed because I was having trouble with my wireless connection to the net and eventually ended up at the Nanty Glo Library where the content for the page was downloaded from my email, formatted into the page, and sent out Thursday evening. The library has both wireless and ethernet Internet connectivity available and I had to fall back on the latter! My thanks to the many library staff members who helped me got online then.

Though I've visited the Valley many times over the past 37 years since moving to California, it seems more apparent each time I return how much "thinning" has been taking place. In my childhood, buildings hung over the Blacklick Creek to elbow their way into downtown Nanty Glo. Now there is lots of space every place you look, and this fits well with the general tendency of the American population to migrate from urban to suburban settings since the mid-1950s. There's lots of space in the woods of Western Pennsylvania, and the living is more pleasant when it isn't so crowded. Yet there was excitement in the more crowded urban experience we remember. My Jonal picture of the week is one I got from the wall of the Niner Diner, which captures the center-city Tops Diner of years past, with a Johnstown Traction Company streetcar in the forefront (a bit of a blur added to complement the blurs of memory). Enjoy.


Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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