Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 Road Trip, Day 2: Western Pennsylvania

Today we had the chance to explore parts of Western Pennsylvania that we had bypassed on our last trips here.  We started with the Allegheny Portage NHS in Gallatzin, PA.

This National Park site is a tribute to the Portage Railway that hauled cargo and people over the Allegheny Mountains.  This railroad bridged the canals that connected Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  It cut travel from 23 days to as little as FIVE.

 See the pick axe marks? They're from separating smaller chunks to carve into sleeper stones for the railway.

Trains came up the railway, hauled by great steam engine houses.  These are reproduction tracks.  Notice the wood ties -- they're used on the incline, and the sleeper stones were used on the flats.

Inside the engine house.

Interactive exhibit.

After the Portage, we headed over to Johnstown, site of one of the deadliest floods in history.  The "Who's fault was it?" argument remains to this day. Our first start was the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, maintained by the NPS.

 Overlooking what was Lake Conemaugh and the South Fork Dam

National Park Exhibit that showed the path of the water.

We then headed downhill to Johnstown and the Incline Plane.  It was built in 1890, as both a commuter and emergency evacuation route.

70.5% grade.  Almost vertical.

We're riding on WHAT?

 High water mark - 21'.  For perspective, it's at the floor level of the green bridge in the picture above.

Last stop for the day...the pool!!

To catch up on all of our adventures, click here: The Great American History Tour, 2015 Edition

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