population was 528 in the 2000 census; housing units: 248; land area:
0.46 square miles (296 acres); water area, 0.03 square miles (21 acres).
US Postal Service zip code: 15961
county's industrial cradle
the industrial revolution came to Cambria County, Pennsylvania, with
the opening of the county's first iron funace here around 1845, Vintondale,
as a real and lasting town, like nearby Twin Rocks and Nanty Glo, began
taking shape in the 1890's. Like them, it was known by several names
(Barker City, Vinton, Vintonvale) before the one that eventually “stuck.”
Taking the middle name of Ebensburg industrial developer Augustine Vinton
Barker, the United States Post Office played a role in the naming, by
objecting that “Vinton” or “Vintonvale” were too easily confused with
nearby Vinco. However, it's not certain just when “Vintondale” came
into general use.
small borough incorporated in 1907 (11 years before it's larger and
dominant neighbor, Nanty Glo) nestled deep in the Blacklick Valley is
immediately adjacent to the Indiana County line at the confluence
of the north and south branches of the Blacklick Creek. Its first permanent
(still-standing) houses were built for workers at the Vinton Lumber
Company which thrived in what is now Vintondale and, shortly after,
in Rexis, just northwest across the line in Indiana County, several
years before the first successful coal mines. The lumber operation harvested
and milled the hardwoods in the local forests, bringing in the first
railway spurs and mud wagon roads, via the northern branch of the Blacklick
Creek (Redmill, White Mill, Adams Crossing, and points beyond to Ebensburg
for the railroad; Belsano to Ebensburg via what is now known as State
Game Lands Road or Stoy's Lane and Redmill Road, South Street, and U.S.
Route 422 for the first wagon road. For more on the latter route, see
A Virtual Hike).
promoted by Ebensburg and Indiana interests as the route of the mainline
of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Conemaugh Valley and Johnstown beat
the Blacklick Valley and Vintondale in that competition, relegating
Vintondale to, temporarily, the status of a coal and coke boom town
and, more permanently, of small town rather than major industrial center.
After the Vinton Lumber Company was done exploiting the Blacklick Valley,
it relocated to Kentucky. From just after the beginning of the 20th
Century on, Vintondale, guided till his death (1920) by capitalist-entrepreneur
Warren Delano, flourished, for coalmining (with up to six mines) at
first, and coke production beginning later. Vintondale's last commercial
mine closed in 1968, and the coke ovens ceased operation in 1945. Though
only 12 miles from a major production center of Bethlehem Steel in that
era—Johnstown—ironically Vintondale's production was generally marketed
more than 150 miles away to Buffalo, New York, plants, because of historic
ties to Buffalo's Lackawanna Steel and its Lackawanna Coal and Coke.
Vintondale is most likely to be noticed to the outside world as the
midpoint on the Ghost Town Rails to Trails park and site of the best-preserved
early-19th Century Iron Funace in Pennsylvania, Ritter's Eliza Furnace.
Two once flourishing coalmining towns now extinct, Bracken and Wehrum,
are on the trail east and south of Vintondale, respectively. (“Ghost
town,” which usually describes a collection of abandoned buildings,
is something of a misnomer as there's hardly even a foundation, much
less buildings, visible at the site of Bracken, and only one house still
stands where Wehrum was.)
has four churches: First Baptist and a
Hungarian Reformed Church on Main Street, Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox
Church on Third Street at Lovell, and Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic
Church on Fourth Street. In its first half century of history, Vintondale
had a succession of other churches established but eventually closed,
including a Church of God (Anderson, IN), c. 1900; a Presbyterian Church,
1912, and a Christian and Mission Alliance Church founded in 1923 or
fact, the main Vintondale presence on the Internet, excepting this,
is the home page of Sts.
Peter and Paul Church, on the Western Pennsylvania
diocesan Internet server for the Orthodox Church in America. The church
was originally organized in Wehrum, a few miles from Vintondale in Indiana
County, around 1903 under sponsorship of the top-ranked Russian clergyman
in the United States at the time, who later went on to become Patriarch
of Moscow and to be glorified as an Orthodox saint, St. Tikhon. The
church history on the parish home page says the Vintondale parish was
begun in 1907 on a lot provided by the Vintondale Colliery Company for
years when Vintondale offered business
continuity services ranging from a movie theater to a train station
and a variety of general stores and professional services, it now has
no operating businesses remaining.
offering good content about Vintondale, especially pictures of the Ghost
Town Trail and Eliza Furnace, are the “Best
Fall Colors of the Web” and Ghost
Town Trail Internet sites maintained by George
Warholic, the latter of which is the best online tour of the trail.
on the map to browse
boroughs of Vintondale and Nanty Glo and Blacklick Township jointly
comprise the Blacklick Valley School District.
Three separate districts into the 1950's, the boroughs united in that
decade and Blacklick Township joined the union in 1967.
The webmaster gratefully acknowledges
Delano's Domain, A History of Warren Delano's Mining Towns of Vintondale,
Wehrum and Claghorn, by Denise Dusza Weber, 1991, 445 pages, a treasury
of historical information about Vintondale and Blacklick Valley, consulted
in preparation of these pages.
Photo of Eliza Furnace by Ruth Troutman.
questions, comments, and news about Vintondale should be sent to webmaster.
*The second photo set
from the top is a video montage of "Vintondale in the mist"
followed by a distant view of Vintondale taken in October 2004 from
the top of the Vintondale mines rockdump. To the right is seen part
of the acid mine drainage project and, adjacent the foot of the hill,
the Ghost Town Trail. The stream is the Nanty Glo branch of Blacklick
Creek, which has its source near Revloc. Just below Vintondale this
branch joins the Colver branch to continue southwesterly toward the
Conemaugh River. The third photo is the parks rest stop on the Ghost
literary figure, John "Jack" Burgan
Images of America - Vintondale published
golf course developer's death reported
2002 Homecoming photos
10 Vintondale photos
from 2001 visit
Vintondale Slide Show
Vintondale History Timeline
Vintondale High School
class lists index
News: Vintondale history
back in print
Vintondale Softball Team in 1960
Rexis from Blacklick Creek bridge,
circa late 1930s
Vintondale front porch panorama,
Lucille Beistel Hagens
Growing up in Vintondale in
the '60s and '70s, Fran Wojtowicz Ward
my home town, by Ruth George Troutman
webmaster's earliest recollections
Glo | Blacklick
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