Johnstown Inclined Plane

Johnstown, PA

After the 1889 flood, the Cambria Iron Company purchased the hilltop just to the west of Johnstown, PA to provide a safer place for their management to live than the flood-prone valley. At the time, Yoder Hill was a farming area, and the company commissioned landscape architect Charles Miller to lay out the suburban residential district that was eventually named Westmont. Because roads to the hilltop were steep and unreliable, the company constructed this inclined plane to transport people and vehicles from Westmont down to the city and factory in Johnstown below. (reference)

The inclined plane is essentially a vertical cable-driven railway running 897 feet down a 71% grade. It was designed by Samuel Diescher (1839-1915) and is similar to other inclined planes built in mountainous western Pennsylvania during the late 19th century. A Pennsylvania Truss bridge at the base of the plane permits passengers and vehicles to cross Stonycreek River. Although probably not envisioned as an escape route, the incline plane is credited with saving 4,000 lives during the great flood of 1936. The plane was condemned during the 1970s, but was rebuilt and rededicated in 1984.

A 237-foot Pennsylvania Through-Truss bridge sits at the base of the inclined plane, permitting passage across the Stonycreek River.

Johnstown Inclined Plane - Upper station of the Inclined Plane
11/05/2008 11:40:47
Upper station of the Inclined Plane
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Observation deck
11/05/2008 11:53:34
Observation deck
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Panoramic view of Johnstown, PA
11/05/2008 11:42:53
Panoramic view of Johnstown, PA
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Tree-lined street in Westmont
11/05/2008 11:32:46
Tree-lined street in Westmont
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Tree-lined street in Westmont
11/05/2008 11:32:50
Tree-lined street in Westmont
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Johnstown flood historic marker on the observation deck
11/05/2008 11:47:11
Johnstown flood historic marker on the observation deck
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Looking down the Inclined Plane tracks
11/05/2008 11:41:26
Looking down the Inclined Plane tracks
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Looking town the Inclined Plane tracks
11/05/2008 11:43:55
Looking town the Inclined Plane tracks
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Technical info on the Inclined Plane
11/05/2008 11:42:03
Technical info on the Inclined Plane
Johnstown Inclined Plane - 1994 ASME historical marker
11/05/2008 11:42:14
1994 ASME historical marker
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Cable drive for the Inclined Plane
11/05/2008 11:49:07
Cable drive for the Inclined Plane
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Vehicle platform and passenger compartment on the Inclined Plane
11/05/2008 11:50:53
Vehicle platform and passenger compartment on the Inclined Plane
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Wheel and track closeup
11/05/2008 11:55:49
Wheel and track closeup
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Looking up the Inclined Plane tracks
11/05/2008 15:32:52
Looking up the Inclined Plane tracks
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Waiting on the return train up the hill
11/05/2008 15:24:32
Waiting on the return train up the hill
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Inclined Plane Bridge lower station
11/05/2008 12:09:48
Inclined Plane Bridge lower station
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Inclined Plane Bridge looking east into Johnstown
11/05/2008 12:07:02
Inclined Plane Bridge looking east into Johnstown
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Looking west across the bridge to the Inclined Plane lower station
11/05/2008 12:07:31
Looking west across the bridge to the Inclined Plane lower station
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Inclined Plane Bridge viewed from the southeast
11/05/2008 12:08:35
Inclined Plane Bridge viewed from the southeast
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Inclined Plane Bridge viewed from the south
11/05/2008 12:09:37
Inclined Plane Bridge viewed from the south
Johnstown Inclined Plane - Vehicle ramp down to Roosevelt Boulevard
11/05/2008 12:11:34
Vehicle ramp down to Roosevelt Boulevard

Wherever people burn books, there, in the end, will they also burn people. (Heinrich Heine)