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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Johnstown Passenger Railway - Baumer Street


Reader Gary Calhoun sent this in: JOHNSTOWN PASSENGER RAILWAY COMPANY,
BAUMER STREET POWERHOUSE
 This structure, completed in 1900, was the second powerhouse constructed by
the Johnstown
Company The first was located immediately behind it against the hillside
from which coal was mined.
Some of the foundation of the original powerhouse appears to be intact, at
the base of the Route 56
bypass on-ramp at Bedford Street.

The Flood of 1889 devastated the Johnstown Passenger Railway Company by
sweeping all of its
tracks away and damaging much of the rolling stock. Subsequently. Tom
Johnson of the
Johnson Steel Street Rail Company purchased the city's street-car property
and began
electrifying the system. In 1890 Johnson constructed a powerhouse on Baumer
Street to provide
steam generated electricity for the street car line. A coal mine located
behind the power house
provided the coal for the boilers. (The original coal tipple still exists.)
By 1911 the turbines
had a 1,000 horsepower capacity. In 1945 the company began purchasing
electricity from
Penelec and the powerhouse was converted to a substation. It was shutdown m
the early 1960s,
when the Johnstown transit system converted to buses.

Prior to its demolition in 1988, the tall one-story powerhouse measured 105'
x 100'; the engine
room was taller than the adjacent transformer room. The powerhouse contained
brick pilasters,
steel roof trusses, and a stone foundation. Its walls were composed of
stretcher bond red brick.
The powerhouse featured circular brick arches spanning the multiple,
double-hung sash
windows.
Source: Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service,



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