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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Capital Hotel

The Cambria Club House was erected at the intersection of Main and Walnut Streets by the old Cambria Iron Company for the use by its high ranking officials. It was the scene of many fine events: banquets, dances and meetings. The clubhouse was in existence as far back as 1881. The outgrowth of this building is what was known as the Capital Hotel.

 Col. Jacob Higgins of the 22nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry came to Johnstown in 1881 to take charge of the Cambria Club House as its manager for the Cambria Iron Company. 
Col. Higgins had an outstanding Civil War record and had also served in the Mexican War. A native of Blair County, he was in the hotel business in Hollidaysburg and Henrietta before coming to Johnstown.

In 1891, Jacob Higgins bought the clubhouse and continued as the manager. He later sold the Cambria Club House to P.L. Carpenter who took charge December 2, 1892 and renamed it the Capital Hotel.

During the first year, the hotel averaged only one guest per day. By 1900, the average was 100 guests daily. The hotel was developed into 100 rooms during Carpenter's ownership. Added were 12 private rooms and baths for female employees.

During one of his visits to Johnstown, Gov. Hastings was forced to sleep in the hotel parlor because of the crowded conditions. Billy Sunday, the noted evangelist was another well-known guest at the hotel. 

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