1) i"""" ~
JOURNEY AROUND LAKE CONEMAUGH
S ... .......
RT 869 ... ....."'
\ .- LEGEND
T W ^ '* LAKE BOUNDARY' 1889.............
The three mile drive to the North Abutment of South Fork Dam can be both historical
and enjoyable. On the way, you will pass the 1889 Clubhouse as well as some of the
summer cottages that were part of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. You will
also get a chance to drive along a peaceful country road where you may see a variety
of wildlife and many other wonders of nature. Your journey around Lake Conemaugh
will enable you to physically trace almost the entire boundary of the lake, as it existed
in 1889 so you can appreciate its size. Please drive safely and watch for traffic and
1. AS YOU LEAVE THE PARKING LOT, RETURN TO THE ENTRANCE GATE. (.5 Mile)
In 1889, the area immediately to your left would have
been under water as part of Lake Conemaugh. The
two and one-half mile long lake served as a resort for
the members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting
Club during the years 1879 to 1889. Club members
were wealthy Pittsburgh industrialists who wanted
to retreat from a smoky city during the hot summer
months. Members and their guests were the only
ones allowed to use the lake and its facilities. Many
business deals were made along the banks of Lake
Conemaugh. On summer days, one would see
horses and buggies traveling back and forth to the
2. TURN LEFT AT THE PARK ENTRANCE AND THEN BEAR TO THE RIGHT AT THE FIRST STREET TO
THE RIGHT. (.1 Mile Total .6)
This is part of the original road that led to the Clubhouse
area of the lake. As you ride along, sixteen cottages lined
the street on your right. The club members enjoyed
excellent fishing and boating on Lake Conemaugh on
3. THE CLUBHOUSE IS ON YOUR RIGHT AND IS MARKED "1889 CLUBHOUSE IT IS THE LARGE
GRAY BUILDING WITH LATTICE WORK ON THE PORCH. 1 3 Mile Total 9)
The Clubhouse must have been impressive in its
day. With 47 rooms it could accommodate members
and club guests who did not want a cottage. There
was a huge dining room that seated 150 people at
one time. It was a common rule that club members
took their meals at the Clubhouse. Although the
Clubhouse is smallerthan in 1889 (the south wing no
longer stands), it was truely a proper resort.
4. TWO OF THE ORIGINAL COTTAGES LOCATED AT THE BEND IN THE ROAD JUST UP AHEAD. (ONE
IS WHITE WITH BLUE TRIM. ONE IS RED.) THESE ARE PRIVATE RESIDENCES SO PLEASE
RESPECT THE OWNERS' PRIVACY. (.1 Mile Total 1.0)
These cottages still appear much as they did in 1889. They
reflect the architectural trend of the 1880's of the "Queen
Anne" style. Looking at them one can hardly call these three-
story 17 room buildings "cottages"! These homes still show the
elegance of the past.
AT THIS POINT, CONTINUE ON THE PAVED ROAD TO YOUR LEFT.
5. AT THE END OF THIS ROAD, TURN RIGHT. YOU ARE AGAIN ON PA. ROUTE 869. (.1 Mile -Total 1.1)
You are now below the water line of Lake Conemaugh. St. Michael, a town of
approximately 500 people, grew up around the Club's buildings when coal mining
developed in this area after 1889.
6. TAKE THE FIRST LEFT OFF PA. 869, JUST BEYOND ST. MICHAEL CATHOLIC CHURCH. DRIVE
CAREFULLY AND SLOWLY FOR THIS LEFT TURN IS NOT MARKED. (.6 Mile Total 1.7)
This left turn is the only left turn on this road, so if you miss it, don't worry. You can
turn around at the Forest Hill High School ahead, which marks the end of the lake.
After you make the turn, proceed across the bridge and railroad tracks and continue
on this road. (Caution: Be alert for trains when crossing the several sets of railroad
7. FOR THE NEXT TEN MINUTES, YOU WILL BE DRIVING DOWN THE NORTH SIDE OF THE LAKE.
(1.4 Mile Total 3.1)
The lake bed is to your left. Refer to the map to
imagine where the shoreline would be. Also watch
for wildlife. It is not uncommon to see deer, rabbits,
groundhogs woodchuckss) and birds along this
Along the way, you will pass through the "Park of
1889." The Adams-Croyle Recreation Authority
established this park in 1977 as an ongoing effort
with the National Park Service to preserve the
remaining lake bed and shoreline from further
, .. ,
8. IN ABOUT A MILE AND A QUARTER (11/4) THIS ROAD WILL FORK. TAKE THE LEFT FORK. DRIVE
DOWN THIS ROAD TO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SIGN. PLEASE PARK YOUR VEHICLE IN THE
SMALL LOT PROVIDED.
You can now take a walk up to the spillway and the North
SAbutment. This spillway became clogged with debris and
40 played a major role in the dam's breaking. From the
Observation point at the end of the abutment, you will be
able to see the Clubhouse roof in St. Michael, which was
S.just about the half-way mark of Lake Conemaugh. This
will help you visualize the immenseness of the lake. It
i certainly was a fantastic recreation-vacation spot!
Your journey around Lake Conemaugh is now over. Relax and enjoy the view. Let your
imagination wander. Picture yourself as a wealthy club member coming to spend
the summer on beautiful Lake Conemaugh. Also try to remember all you have seen
and heard at your visit to the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. Man's negligence
caused a great "natural" disaster. Tipping the balance of nature, without understand-
ing what we have done, can result in far-reaching consequences.
History is full of examples where man did not understand his environment and as a
result has suffered. History points out that more times than not, man fails to learn from
these tragic experiences and so history is repeated over and over again Can you think
of any examples where this has happened? Will we let it happen again? When will we
learn? We must find answers because it is then and only then we will live in harmony
with our environment.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
III III III III 111111111111111111llllll l
3 1262 08507 7203
TO RETURN TO ROUTE U.S. 219, RETRACE YOUR PATH TO ROUTE PA. 869. TURN RIGHT
ON PA. 869 TO ROUTE U.S. 219. WHEN YOU GO THROUGH ST. MICHAEL, IF YOU LOOK TO
YOUR LEFT, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE CLUBHOUSE FROM A FULL FRONT VIEW.
WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED JOURNEY AROUND LAKE CONEMAUGH.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
JOHNSTOWN FLOOD NATIONAL MEMORIAL
c/o Allegheny Portage Railroad
National Historic Site
P.O. Box 247
Cresson, PA 16630