One of my favorite parts about going back to the East Coast is the history that surrounds you. One of the saddest things about going back to where I was born on the East Coast, is the History that I see deteriorating. I’m fascinated by all the old homes, farms, school building, and churches. I want to know who use to live there, what did it look like when it was new, what does it look like inside and how could anybody just let it go? I also have this horrible problem of wanting to save everything! What I’m coming to realize is that there’s beauty in the what once was.
This beautiful old farm house sits up on a hill in Windber PA. It still has tattered lace curtains in the windows. Some of the blinds are torn and left slightly open as if someone just opened them to let in the morning light. I can imagine a rocking chair sitting of the front porch, a bike in the driveway, a swing set in the backyard or a Christmas tree lighting up the front room.
The steel mills are empty now. The “city” which use to bustling with activityis now pretty quiet. No more Penn Traffic with their beautiful window displays, no more Coe’s Subs, and central park isn’t what I remember. Before I was born my Dad working in one of those big brick buildings and I remember when I Grandpap use to work there. There was a point in history when Johnstown was thought to be the next Pittsburgh. Today it’s actually possible to buy a home for $9000 in Johnstown.
My dad says this slag pile use to be twice as high. Can you believe kids once played here while the coal mine was active? I believe this is Mine 32 in Windber. Tiny little company house line the 4 streets in neat little rows. Each mine had it’s own little “town” which was named after the mine and their own mine owned general store. All I can think about is that I don’t let Ellie by anyone who’s smoking, imagine growing up with this in the air. My Dad has never complained about his childhood, as a matter of fact he has the best stories.
My Mother’s side of the family is from another Mining Town outside of Johnstown called Lilly. Her family arrived to this little town in the early 1800’s.
This is from the Mine where my Great Grandfather worked and died. Educated, spoke 3 languages, and this is where he found work. If only he had lived in a different time, a different place…
This is the Bradley Homestead in the early 1900’s. It’s still in the family, though I don’t know the 2 brothers that live there, they’re distant cousins of mine. This is what the house looks like now….
All I can do is shack my head. Don’t they realize how hard their ancestors worked to be able to buy and keep this house? They’ve lived in this house from the day they were born. I’ve lived in 5 states and countless homes, but yet I keep coming back for just one more look.