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Welcome to the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA)! We are a non-profit organization that exists to preserve and present this region's nationally significant stories through museums, special events, cultural & educational programming, and historical collections. Choose from the navigation bar to the left to learn more about what we do.

The Stone Bridge
Stone Bridge Lighting Project

The Stone Bridge Lighting Project in memory of Rep. John Murtha was dedicated on Sept. 24, 2011, after a multi-year fundraising effort (click here to see a YouTube of that evening's lightshow). The $1.2 million project lights the bridge in colorful programmable LED lights that change frequently.

The bridge is lighted for three hours each evening, and the schedule is adjusted throughout the year depending on sunset times (see below). For special events at Peoples Natural Gas Park and in downtown Johnstown, the lights are occasionally on longer.

Click here to see the bridge live!. Our new bridge camera is made possible through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies through the Robert Waters Charitable Trust; John Polacek, Bill Polacek, and Tom Polacek; Laurel Holdings, Inc.; and In-shore Technologies, Inc.
 

 

About the Stone Bridge Lighting Project's schedule

Currently (as of late May 2014), the bridge is lighted each evening from 8:30-11:30 pm. The Johnstown Area Heritage Association is responsible for programming the lights. During the first 30 minutes of each evening, a lightshow will be presented before the lights settle into the colors for the evening. The colors are chosen with the goal of being inclusive, meaningful and fun.

Color choices often reflect holidays and special events and observances. Examples include religious and secular holidays (Yom Kippur, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, July 4, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc.); special observances (Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Election Day, World AIDS Day, St. Patrick's Day, Earth Day, etc.); and other special events (Steelers home games, the Olympics, special events in the Peoples Natural Gas Park). Otherwise, the bridge lighting color choices reflect the season of the year.

The project's Facebook page, below, is updated regularly with information on the bridge's lights.



You can see what's currently scheduled on JAHA's calendar of events, below:



JAHA is pleased to offer the opportunity for private individuals to choose the colors of the Stone Bridge lights on select days. Special colors for school reunions, weddings, birthdays, and other private events are all possibilities! The fee for this service is $250 (which covers design and programming costs). Please note that public holidays and observances take precedence over private requests, and JAHA reserves the right to refuse such requests. To inquire about lighting the bridge for a private special event, please e-mail info [at] jaha.org, with "Stone Bridge" in the subject line; include the date/other details about your event, and desired colors.



Stone Bridge History

On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam broke and a powerful wave of water roared through the valley before reaching the city of Johnstown, 14 miles downstream. The Stone Bridge suffered damage, but held its ground. Some 100,000 tons of debris carried by the floodwaters was blocked by the bridge as the water continued downstream. Many people who somehow survived the floodwaters were trapped in the debris. Tragically, a fire broke out in the acres of debris, killing many of the trapped flood victims. Pictures of the bridge have conveyed the flood's dramatic devastation to the nation and world for more than a century.

Almost a century ago, the bridge's owner, Norfolk Southern, added more railroad tracks to the bridge, covering the original stone facade. The name "Stone Bridge" is today somewhat of a misnomer, but persists because of the bridge's role in history.





Today, the Stone Bridge is still a highly visible landmark in Johnstown. It spans Routes 403 & 56, which together constitute the most heavily traveled corridor in all of Cambria County with a measured daily traffic count of 15,854 vehicles. More than 25 trains daily also cross the bridge. Located at the center of the Johnstown Discovery Network and adjacent to Peoples Natural Gas Park and the Cambria Iron Company National Historic Landmark, it represents a vital part of our region's history.

The Stone Bridge Lighting Project has restored and beautified this historic structure, which serves as a lasting memorial to the disaster and its victims.



Stone Bridge Lighting Project Credits

The money for the $1.2 million project was raised through PennDOT Enhancement Funds, corporate donations, and individual donations, as well as an in-kind commitment from Norfolk Southern, which owns the railroad bridge. Major donors included the Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, JWF Industries, and Laurel Holdings Inc. In all there were more than 400 donors to the project.

The project was engineered by H.F. Lenz Company. Mar-Allen Concrete Products, Inc. did the repair work, and the project was inspected by the EADS Group. The lighting design was done by Shadowstone, Inc. The contract for the electrical and lighting installation was completed by Blalock Electric Service, Inc. of Johnstown.

The Stone Bridge Lighting Project Committee was co-chaired by Mike Brosig of Laurel Holdings, and Richard Burkert, president and CEO of JAHA. The Committee Members were: Representative Bryan Barbin, Mary Jo Berardone, Ed Cernic Sr., Donna Christopher, Congressman Mark Critz, Tom Deter, Adia Dobbins, Mike Docherty, Dr. Anthony Gergely, Robbie Gleason, Shelley Johansson, Diane Kabo, Mike Kane, Mazen Kholi, Fred Kohler, Bob Knipple, Dave Mastovich, Chip Minemeyer, Ed Pawlowski, Denny Platt, Tom Polacek, Ron Repak, Ed Sheehan, Darby Sprincz, PJ Stevens, Kathy Wallace, Senator John Wozniak, and Don Zucco.

The Johnstown Area Heritage Association administered the project, which first got underway in 2008, and is today responsible for the lights' programming.

A fund has been established at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to cover the lights' ongoing maintenance and electricity costs. The initial $12,000 donation came from Frank Marsico, president of Shadowstone. To donate, please mail checks for "The Stone Bridge Lighting Fund" to: The Community Foundation, 116 Market Street, Johnstown, PA 15901.