The History of the Incline
Johnstown, Pennsylvania has become known for many things, among them a reputation for its devastating floods. The largest flood in Johnstown's history occurred on May 31, 1889 when some 2,209 people lost their lives.
The Cambria Iron Company began construction of the inclined railway in 1890, to carry people, horses and wagons to the new hilltop community of Westmont. On June 1, 1891 the Johnstown Inclined Plane began providing convenient transportation up Yoder Hill which had a steep 70.9% grade.
On March 17, 1936 when flood waters again ran through Johnstown, the Inclined Plane proved its worth by carrying almost 4,000 residents to safety. In the most recent flood to hit Johnstown on July 20, 1977, the Inclined Plane once again carried people to the safety of higher ground, as well as carrying boats, emergency personnel and equipment down to the valley to aid in rescue operations.