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Moxham Historic District


The Moxham Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Moxham Historic District, in southern Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, is a neighborhood of architecturally distinguished homes, former carriage houses and horse barns, vernacular single and double houses and church buildings mostly dating from 1890-1930. Also included in the district are a large vacant school and a recently renovated multi-story mixed use building, both built in the early twentieth century. The district lies on the east side of Stoney Creek, which defines the northern, southern and western edges of the neighborhood known as Moxham. The site of the former iron and steel rolling mill lies to the west, between the creek and the proposed district. To the east there are steep wooded ridges. The district is the residential center of the neighborhood with a few resources pre-dating the 1889 Johnstown Flood, but most reflecting post-flood development associated with the founding and growth of the rolling mill. Resources in the district are of frame and masonry construction, mostly two and two and one-half stories, and are laid out in a street grid of approximately 20 square blocks. Bordering the Moxham Historic District to the west are large mill buildings; to the north Stoney Creek; and to the east and south vernacular housing stock with a lower degree of architectural integrity. Inside the district large homes on double lots are concentrated in the northwest, modest homes in the south and east sections and churches in the center and southwest corner. The Moxham Historic District includes 364 resources, all buildings, 330 contributing and 34 non-contributing. Contributing buildings include 315 dwellings. There are 17 former carriage/ horse barns, four adapted into dwellings and 13 converted into garages or used for storage. There are also 21 commercial buildings, 10 churches (one used as an activity center) and one vacant school.

Non-contributing resources are comprised of 23 dwellings, nine commercial buildings and two churches. Almost all resources date from the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The topography of the district's west end is flat along the Conemaugh River. Moving east there is a gradual upward slope, which becomes quite steep at the eastern edge of the district. Sam's Run, a small creek enclosed by concrete flood containment walls, flows east to west just inside the south boundary of the district. Street blocks, in the shape of long rectangles, run northeast to southwest. Street blocks are segmented by a system of narrow intersecting service alleys.

Most of the streets are lined with mature deciduous trees. Most dates of construction were estimated, based on the architectural style or type of building. The estimated number of pre-1889 Flood buildings, dating from the period ca. 1870 to 1889, is five. The most rapid expansion period in Moxham's history occurred between 1890 and 1910, when it is estimated that 239 buildings in the district were constructed. From 1910 to 1930 an estimated 94 buildings were built in the district. The number of buildings with their origins after 1930 is estimated at 26.

The well preserved architecture of residential, ecclesiastical and commercial buildings is a major feature of the district. There are intact examples of Second Empire, Queen Anne, Prairie, Foursquare, Bungalow, Tudor and Dutch Colonial Revival style homes. There are two common vernacular residential styles in the district. First is the side by side double house, four bays wide, with a front gable roof and full width porch, built in either brick or wood frame. Second is the single family two story house, usually wood frame, and one bay wide with a front gable roof and front porch. Ecclesiastical architecture includes, Gothic Revival, Classical and Colonial Revival styles. Other architecturally distinguished buildings are a turn-of-the-century school with Ecclesiastical Gothic style features and a large apartment building with Colonial Revival style details.

Between 1887 and 1889, Moxham was surveyed and a street system laid out in a rectangular grid. This original plan is shown in the 1890 Atlas Map of Cambria County. Before the 1889 Flood, several dozen homes and several businesses were built on Coleman and Park Avenues, just one block east of Central Avenue and the newly constructed mill. A stand of mature trees, the size of four square blocks, was preserved as a neighborhood park and named Von Lunen Grove. North of the Grove, managers and professionals, many employed at the mill, had large architecturally notable homes built on multiple lots. Blue collar workers built modest single and double homes south of the Grove on single lots. One of the first built north of the Grove is the ca. 1889 Entwistle residence at 401 Park Avenue. This Queen Anne style dwelling, built in brick and cut stone, has several fireplaces, art glass and original hardwood interior finishes. Another is the ca. 1889 Fenn residence at 437 Coleman Avenue, built in the Second Empire style, displaying a metal shingled mansard roof, dormers and bay windows. The first working class dwellings were built in clusters on Park and Coleman Avenues, south of the present Moham Historic District. It is unclear whether any of these survive. One residence in the district predates the mill and is representative of Moxham's agricultural origin. The ca. 1870 Louis Von Lunen farmhouse is located at 305 Highland Avenue, in the northeast corner of the district. When Moxham's grided street plan was adopted ca. 1890, the old north-south route named Von Lunen Road was reoriented and renamed Linden Avenue. Shortly after, the Von Lunen farmhouse was moved a short distance to the corner of Linden Avenue and Lunen Street. This large two and one-half story former farmhouse has spacious front and rear porches and modest decorative touches including leaded glass entryway windows and carved cross brackets in the gable ends.

Moxham was built in a relatively flood-free area, subject to only minor flooding from Sam's Run and Stoney Creek. The 1889 Johnstown Flood resulted in little physical damage to properties in Moxham. The Johnson Company lost records and materials stored in their previous headquarters in Woodvale, which was totally destroyed by the flood. Many new property owners who relocated and built homes in Moxham, after May 1889, belonged to the thousands of residents made homeless by the flood.

Between 1889 and 1910 Moxham shared in the City's building boom, which reflected the continued growth of Johnstown as a major industrial center. East of the Grove, from Cypress to Linden Avenues, middle class homes were built. Residents were within walking distance of Ohio Street, Moxham's major east-west route. Constructed in great numbers during this period were modest dwellings in the Four Square style. The ca. 1900 wood frame example at 405 Highland Avenue has the Four Square style's trademark hip roof and leaded glass entry. An example of the single family vernacular type house, two and one-half stories, one bay wide, with a front gable roof and porch, is the ca. 1900 Walter Myton House, 438 Cypress Avenue. Several one and one-half story pre-fabricated "Oklahoma houses," diverted from the Oklahoma land rush, were brought to Johnstown by rail following the 1889 flood. They were built in the hundreds throughout Greater Johnstown as temporary housing. The only intact example of this house type known to exist today is R558 Highland Avenue, to indicate its location on the rear lot of 558 Highland Avenue. The original exterior features slender vertical wood strips outlining prefabricated weatherboard sections. Also surviving are the front door and wainscot in the upper half story bedroom.

Moxham's exclusive section, north of Von Lunen Grove, continued to fill in with large architecturally ornate dwellings built on multiple lots. The ca. 1895 Queen Anne style Cauffiel House, 412 Coleman Avenue is a completely preserved urban homestead, featuring a large main house and several outbuildings sited on a five lot parcel. There is a wrap around porch, multiple gable roof, multi-story bay windows and several elegant fireplaces. Another large ca. 1895 Queen Anne style home is 404 Cypress Avenue, featuring bargeboards, bay windows, several fireplaces and a former carriage house/horse barn at the rear. Architectural plans were prepared by Grodavent Architects of Denver, Colorado.

There are a number of carriage houses and horse stables in the district, located on alleys behind middle and upper class dwellings that were constructed around the turn of the century. Most of these structures are one story, one bay, front gable, wood frame structures with weatherboard siding and a loft door in the front gable end. Today, most are used as car garages, often with a small addition to accommodate the length of present-day motor vehicles. An example is a small one and one-half story carriage house/horse barn, on the rear alley at R404 Cypress, now used as a garage. It has a steep front gable roof, peaked window lintels and a hay loft door. A few multi-story horse/carriage barns also survive, as companions to Moxham's largest homes on Coleman and Park Avenues. The district's most elaborately detailed carriage house/horse stable, built in 1894 at 434 Park Avenue, has been converted into two apartments and retains the character of its original design. The ca. 1889 former carriage house/horse stable at R419 Cypress Avenue, thought to have belonged to the A. J. Moxham estate, houses two apartments. The best preserved are a pair of ca. 1895 carriage houses/barns behind the Cauffiel House at 412 Coleman Avenue. The largest, designated as Rl 412 to indicate it is one of two buildings at the rear of 412 Coleman Avenue, is one and one-half stories with a clipped gable roof and louvered rooftop ventilator. The barn at R2 412 Coleman is smaller, with a front gable roof and sliding barn doors.

Real estate developers purchased Von Lunen Grove in 1899, divided the tract into housing lots and sold them to prospective homeowners. As a result, the four block square area formerly used as a park is now a showcase of vernacular and architecturally distinctive dwellings. The ca. 1910 Colonial Revival style house at 540 Cypress Avenue features Palladian windows, dentils, a large columned front porch and art glass. One of the largest dwellings in the district is another Colonial Revival style brick home at 524 Grove Avenue built ca. 1900. It features a two and one-half story bay window and well preserved sections of a wrap around porch. A ca. 1900 brick carriage house/horse barn on the rear alley at R524 Grove Avenue, now used as a garage, has a steep roofline, bracketed eaves and stone lintels and sills. The Prairie style is featured in the ca. 1910 brick home located at 527-29 Highland Avenue. Details include a hip slate roof with wide eaves and multiple large dormers. One of several Bungalow style houses in the area of the former Grove is the ca. 1920 example at 522 Highland Avenue, with bay windows and a broad side gable roof. The first houses of worship built in the 1890s were centrally located, near the corner of Village Street and Park Avenue and within one block of Von Lunen Grove. The 1894 former Calvary Methodist Church, 164 Village Street, is a vernacular L-shaped brick building. It is used as a gymnasium today by nearby St. Patrick's Church. It has pointed arches, a steep roofline, stone surround at the main entrance and stone foundation. Alterations include plywood panels covering original windows and newer exterior doors. The 1895 Faith Chapel, 550 Park Avenue, is a simple Shingle style building with a small corner tower and round arches with keystones. The 1898 Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church, 160 Village Street, is a modest vernacular vinyl-sided building with a front gable roof, pointed arch windows and art glass.

Moxham's first architecturally distinguished churches appeared just after the turn of the century. The 1905 St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 601 Park Avenue, was the first of these built in a Late Gothic Revival design. The front elevation has two soaring Gothic steeples, steeply pitched roof lines and Gothic arched openings. The centered main entrance is flanked by two additional entryways under the two corner towers. There are abbreviated transepts at the mid-point of the sidewalls and tracery windows in both the front and rear gable end walls. Brick sidewalls are punctuated freely with an assortment of composite stone details in pointed arches, sills and buttress weatherings. A few of the original art glass windows survive in the rear wall of the church. The interior layout is a traditional Gothic division into nave and side aisles, with piers carrying the framing of the ceiling. Built in 1902, at 501 Grove Avenue is the Grove Avenue United Methodist Church. Another Late Gothic Revival design, it is constructed in stone featuring a three-tier tower, steep gables, a crenelated side bell tower and exquisite art glass.

A large public school and a multiuse commercial building, both dating from the turn of the century, attest to the rapid growth of Moxham at that time. Cypress Avenue School, built in 1900 at 325 Cypress Avenue, was contemporary with two other multi-story brick schools, neither extant: St. Patrick's Catholic School and Village Street School. Cypress Avenue School was vacated in the mid-90's and awaits adaptive reuse. This three-story brick building was built in two sections and has a deteriorated wood frame wing built onto the north end. The oldest section of the school is eleven by six bays with a recessed entryway, fan window, round and flat arches and a slate roof. A brick addition built in the early 1900s features flat arch openings and large banks of windows. The brick three story Otto Building was erected in 1903, at 123 Ohio Street, one block from the Central Avenue commercial district. This combined commercial and residential building, rehabilitated in the mid-1990s, has well preserved Colonial Revival style elements including a goose neck pediment, fretting and round arched openings.

Between 1910 and 1930, open space and low density areas were becoming rare in Moxham, as individual property owners and housing developers continued building single and double houses wherever space was available. The former A. J. Moxham estate, located on Ohio Street across from the main entrance to the Grove, burned ca. 1912, and the cleared site became home to the 1923 Christ United Methodist Church (200 Ohio Street) and several homes. Around 1920, a private developer built "Bungalow Row," on the far north end of Park Avenue between Dupont and Linden Streets. Representative of this group of owner occupied bungalows is 326 Park Avenue, with the trademark low pitch side gable roof, second and third story dormers and a stucco and half timber finish. Between ca. 1920 and 1930 a large open area at Linden and Highland Avenues, between Dupont Street and Lunen Avenue, was built up with modestly built single family and double houses. One of this group is the ca. 1930 Coy Jay House, 344-46 Highland Avenue, a good example of the vernacular side by side double house popular in Moxham early in this century. This brick version has the typical front gable roof, full width front porch and shingled gable ends. Also popular at this time was the Foursquare style, seen at 325 Linden Avenue. This ca. 1910 dwelling has a hip roof and a front entry flanked by side and overhead lights. Early in this century many older houses were updated, like the ca. 1900 Walter Myton House, 438 Cypress Avenue. Here the first floor was redesigned ca. 1920 in the Arts and Crafts style with: leaded multipane windows, a hammered metal gas fireplace, oak wainscot with a plate rail and built-in oak bookcases.

During the teens and twenties, many of Moxham's new churches were constructed along the Ohio Street corridor. An exception, the 1914 Second Presbyterian Church at 565 Park Avenue, replaced an older church building which was moved to 129-31 Dupont Street in the district. Like St. Patrick's, Second Presbyterian was built with a three-tiered bell tower, large tracery windows and Tudor style arched openings. The interior is laid out in an "Akron Plan" floorplan, popular at the turn of the century. Maximum flexibility of space for various uses was obtained, through the opening or closing of a series of immense hinged pocket doors. The interior could serve as one large worship space on Sunday and then be divided into a series of smaller meeting and classroom spaces during the week. Churches erected along Ohio Street in this time period were the 1916 Moxham Lutheran Church, at 500 Park Avenue and the 1923 Christ United Methodist Church at 200 Ohio Street. Both were designed in the Classical Revival style and have cruciform plans with an elevated worship space built over a multiuse basement space. The worship area in each church is lighted by art glass windows and large multipane gable end windows. Both have a classically inspired two story portico: Moxham Lutheran's is supported by four Ionic style columns and Christ United Methodist's by two pairs of Doric style columns. Moxham Lutheran retains its original center dome. Historic windows, exterior details and interior fixtures are preserved in both churches.

Since Moxham was already densely built-up by 1930, additional growth often occurred through building rental units on the rear of residential lots where they were accessed by an alley. Also commonplace was the dividing of large single family homes into apartments and converting former carriage houses/horse barns into rental units. The Colonial Revival style Boyle House at 426 Park Avenue was originally a single family home, later separated into three flats. The non-contributing ca. 1950 dwelling at R342 Highland Avenue is a two story wood frame building with a cinder block foundation, built next to the alley. One of four former carriage houses/horse barns in the district converted into apartments is located at R419 Cypress Avenue. The combined Mastralembo House/Store was built in 1931/34 at 569 Highland Avenue. It replaced the original family store, which was first moved to the rear alley where it was converted into a dwelling.

A significant number of buildings have undergone alterations which do not preclude their contribution to the Moxham Historic district. These changes include: closed-in porches; removing clapboard and shingles and replacing them with asbestos shingles, vinyl, or aluminum siding; replacing original windows with aluminum or vinyl windows, and stripping off original wood trim and other decorative elements. The Moxham Personal Care Home at 438 Linden Avenue, occupying a ca. 1910 dwelling, has vinyl siding but preserves its character-defining elements: Queen Anne style sash, decorative shingles and bay windows. The house at 434-36 Linden Avenue has vinyl windows but still retains the overall character of a Prairie style home and therefore contributes to the district's integrity. The mixed use building at 218-220-222a Ohio Street, built ca. 1900, is a two and one-half story dwelling with a one story ca. 1920 gable roof retail shop attached to the front elevation. Although the shop is not architecturally compatible with the house, it is visually separated by being located along the sidewalk edge and dates to the period of significance. The Queen Anne style house at 420 Cypress Avenue has lost most of the original trim but retains a wrap around porch, multi-gable roof and intact historic interior. These and other inappropriate alterations, to individual buildings in the historic district, have not compromised their ability to contribute to the character of the overall district.

The district's non-contributing buildings are few in number and widely dispersed. One third of this group are made up of severely altered historic buildings, with major changes to openings and sheathing materials and a loss of ornamentation. An example is the former Dibert House, 436 Park Avenue, which was converted into an office and severely altered with the installation of aluminum siding, new windows and doors and the removal of all exterior historic ornamentation. Another third are residences built since 1948, mostly one story infill houses on small lots. One example is the vinyl sided front gable cottage at 407 Grove Avenue. A smaller third group is composed of commercial buildings less than 50 years old, most located on the Ohio Street corridor on sites where old houses once stood. Whitfield's Market, built ca. 1960 at 175 Ohio Street, was built after a large home on the site was demolished.

Significance

The Moxham Historic District is historically significant in the area of nineteenth century industry, being highly representative of the growth of industrial communities at this time in western Pennsylvania, in its association with the establishment and operation of the Johnstown Steel Street Rail Company. In 1887, The Johnson Company (est. 18831, relocated to what later became Moxham. The company became America's leading producer of steel trackwork for street railroad systems between 1888 and the turn of the century. It was sold in 1898 to Loraine Steel Company, a subsidiary of Federal Steel. Today the owner is the Johnstown Corporation, which employs about 500 workers and is located outside the historic district. The period of significance begins in 1870, the date of the earliest extant resource, the home of the farmer who sold the land on which Moxham was built. The period of significance ends in 1948, to encompass the vast majority of resources extant in the neighborhood which are associated with work at Moxham's rolling mill and subsequent owners of the plant. The Moxham neighborhood is named for the company's first president, Arthur J. Moxham. The neighborhood is significant as one of Johnstown's best examples of period architecture reflecting a variety of social levels. There are high style and vernacular examples of domestic and ecclesiastical architecture, including many buildings designed by the prominent Johnstown architect Walter R. Myton.

The Moxham neighborhood includes flat river land and hilly slopes on the east and south sides of the Stoney Creek River. Before 1687, the land was occupied by several Von Lunen family farms consisting of several large dwellings, barns and pasture lands. In 1887, Louis Von Lunen sold 95 acres of his farm to the Johnson Company for the new rolling mill. Albert L. Johnson, brother of company co-founder Thomas L. Johnson, purchased 94 acres of Von Lunen farmland, divided the tract into housing lots and sold them. Lots were available for purchase by anyone, not just employees of the Johnson Company. Located on this second tract, within the historic district, is the ca. 1870 Louis Von Lunen home.

The history of the Johnson Company in Moxham spans 11 years; subsequent owners of the Moxham plant have operated for 107 years up to the present day. The company was chartered in 1883 and immediately contracted with the Cambria Iron Company to roll its complex rail design. The first headquarters was established in Woodvale, located on the north side of Johnstown Borough. Cambria Iron Company's reluctance to continue rolling rails for the company forced the owners to find a site for foundries and a rolling mill. In 1887, the company purchased a 95 acre site for the mill south of Johnstown in what later became Moxham. In 1898, the Johnson Company was sold to the Loraine Steel Company, a subsidiary of the Federal Steel Company. Federal Steel was absorbed by U.S. Steel in 1901. The Johnstown plant became a maintenance mill, producing mill parts and steel rolls for other mills. By 1907, employment reached 1,300. In 1935, the plant became the Loraine Division of the Carnegie-Illinois Corporation. Trackwork operations for street railroads, railroad, industrial and mining operations continued until 1959. Several of the original Johnson Company buildings survive along the east side of Central Avenue, the Machine Shop Building (1893) and the Laying Out and Drafting Building (1893), now known as the Engineering Building. These buildings have suffered alterations including removal of windows and architectural details and the installation of vinyl soffit and fascia. Several other buildings have been demolished and the overall plant lacks the integrity to be a contributing resource in the district.

For the Johnson Company, planning and developing a neighborhood where employees could live was as important as the mill itself. The company paid for several land surveys, the first completed in 1887. A gridwork of streets and alleys were established. The boundaries for a centrally located public park, Von Lunen Grove, were also determined. The Johnson Company also built transportation systems for employees to access services in nearby Johnstown. It bought the Somerset and Johnstown Plank Road Company, renamed it Valley Pike Road, and issued bonds to build the first bridges over Stoney Creek at the north and south ends of Moxham. The company also built the Johnstown and Stoney Creek Railroad, linking with the Somerset and Cambria, to provide passenger rail service to Johnstown. Arthur J. Moxham, president of the Johnson Company, took a personal interest in the growth of the neighborhood. He spearheaded the development of other community services, including incorporating the Somerset Water Company in 1888 to develop a neighborhood water supply, chartering the Moxham Steam Fire Engine and Hose Company in 1890 and arranging natural gas service for private use and street lighting. Mr. Moxham had his own estate built across Ohio Street from Von Lunen Grove in 1889, which helped lure company managers to do the same.

Company-financed Von Lunen Grove was the jewel of Moxham, with a curvilinear carriage road system carved out of a mature stand of trees, a combined dance and dining hall, and a bowling alley. The Grove proved to be a magnet for the managerial and professional classes. Moxham's large houses were built north of the park, usually on two or three standard 40' by 120' lots. Working class homes were constructed south of the Grove, on single lots. Johnson Company Manager E. B. Entwistle built his imposing two and one-half story brick and shingle Queen Anne style house at 401 Park Avenue ca. 1888. Managers from other area companies followed his lead, including Johnson Allen, Superintendent of the Moxham Railroad. His decorative Queen Anne style house, at 429 Park Avenue, was built by 1890. At about the same time John Coffin, a mechanical engineer at the Cambria Iron Company, had a large frame house built next door to Allen at 407-09 Park Avenue.

The company philosophy of building a neighborhood for its employees adjacent to the mill site reflected current industry practice. The Johnson Company was hurt by the high cost of providing public services at company expense, and Moxham's leaders intended to merge with Johnstown Borough. The proposal was rejected by Johnstown shortly before the 1889 flood, but in 1890 Moxham joined with a number of independent boroughs to form the City of Johnstown. Physical reminders of the Johnson Company's leadership in planning and developing Moxham are evident to this day. The company set the boundaries of Moxham's industrial, commercial and residential districts, which are largely unchanged today. Central Avenue and Bridge Street still form the boundary between industrial uses on the west and commercial/residential uses on the east. The east side of Central Avenue is still the home to Moxham's neighborhood commercial district. Then as now, Moxham's residential areas are located to the east of Central Avenue and Bridge Street.

With the sale of the Johnson Company to Federated Steel in 1898, a decade of company paternalism came to an end. Von Lunen Grove was sold to developers, who divided it into residential lots. Today the former Grove area is filled with well preserved ca. 1900-20 Colonial Revival, Bungalow, Foursquare and Prairie style houses. Many houses are adorned with Craftsman era amenities such as leaded art glass, decorative shingles and columned porticos. Company president A. J. Moxham's 1889 estate on Ohio Street, located across from the former Grove, burned in 1916. Today it is the location of the 1923 Christ United Methodist Church and several modest turn of the century homes.

Moxham's growth continued, with that of the industry, through the turn of the century, fueled by Johnson Company successors Loraine Steel and U. S. Steel. Lorraine Steel Company chemist and steel melter (local vernacular term) William Watkins was in charge of the open hearth furnaces. He resided in the Foursquare style house at 556 Park Avenue, soon after it was built ca. 1900. Moxham continued to attract new residents, who relocated from Johnstown's crowded flood-prone neighborhoods. Prosperous shoe merchant Louis Zang moved from the Old Conemaugh neighborhood, building the Prairie style home at 549 Park ca. 1900. E. H. Bailey, publisher of the Tribune, settled in the ca. 1910 eclectic Arts and Crafts style home at 406 Coleman Avenue.

Walter R. Myton, Johnstown's most prolific turn of the century architect who designed many distinguished homes throughout the City, lived in Moxham and designed many of its buildings in a variety of architectural styles. Most of the homes are located on Park and Grove Avenues. One of Johnstown's largest Classical Revival style residences, built in 1902 at 538 Park Avenue, was the home of John A. Grazier, president of the Grazier Coal Mining Company. Another is the 1906 Colonial Revival style W. J. Watkins House, 556 Park Avenue. The 1910 Four Square style house at 197 Ohio Street was built for Benjamin E. Bosler. Myton's 1900 Dr. Merritt Schultz House, and 1908 Colonial Revival style doctor's office, are located at 600 Park Avenue 159 Village Street respectively. Myton designed at least two Moxham churches, including the Gothic Revival style ca. 1913 Second Presbyterian Church at 565 Park Avenue where he was a member. Another is the Gothic Revival style Grove Avenue United Methodist, 501 Grove Avenue, built in 1902. Myton and his family resided at 438 Cypress Avenue, a ca. 1900 vernacular front gable frame house. The ca. 1920 Arts and Crafts interior, reflecting his individual tastes, features a hammered metal gas fireplace, built-in faux wood grained bookcases, wainscot, a plate rail and decorative leaded art glass.

Moxham is similar to other company-sponsored neighborhoods with histories of company involvement in period, association and resource type. Whereas Moxham was planned out and partly built up before the 1889 Flood, the Westmont Historic District (National Register of Historic Places, 1995) was laid out after the flood, as a flood-free neighborhood for workers employed by the Cambria Iron Company. There is nothing to suggest that Johnson Company leaders chose Moxham because it was relatively flood-free. In both cases, the company was forced to build on the periphery of Johnstown, on large undeveloped tracts with room for many houses. At the same time, both companies funded and built all public improvements. This level of investment was made in no other industrial neighborhood in Johnstown. In terms of proximity to the mill, Moxham contrasted with Westmont and resembled Cambria City (National Register, 1991) and other millgate neighborhoods built in Johnstown. Establishing a neighborhood for the workers close to the workplace was a basic principle departed from only in the case of Westmont. As an industrial neighborhood, Moxham also differed from Westmont in that a commercial area grew in the former and not the later neighborhood. Cambria City, established a half century earlier than Moxham and Westmont, was also laid out as a neighborhood by a steel and iron company and also had a commercial zone on its principal street like Moxham. Company-built houses were built in both Westmont and Cambria City but it is not evident that the Johnson Company built housing for its workers. Both Westmont and Moxham were planned as combined working class and white collar neighborhoods. They both also had a large centrally located public park separating the two groups. All the other millgate neighborhoods in Johnstown including Cambria City, Minersville (National Register, 1995) and Old Conemaugh (National Register, 1995) were built as strictly blue collar enclaves.

Moxham, like Westmont, contains a wide range of residential architectural styles dating from the late nineteenth through early twentieth centuries. In contrast, Johnstown's other company sponsored neighborhoods are dominated by single and double vernacular type houses and contain very few architecturally distinguished homes. The district's 10 church and former church buildings, many architecturally significant, are as numerous as Cambria City's. By contrast, Westmont has only a handful of churches. Old Conemaugh has two and Minersville none.

References

Alexander, J. R. Jaybird: A. J. Moxham and the Manufacture of the Johnson Rail. Johnstown, Pa: Johnstown Area Heritage Association: 1991.

Caldwell, A. A. Illustrated Atlas of Cambria County. Atlas Publishing Co: 1890.

Mostoller, Ralph Vickroy. "The Churches of Moxham," unpublished manuscript based on speech delivered at 14th Annual Moxham Oldtimers Banquet. May 24, 1990.

Porter, Bessie Glenn. "A History of Moxham," unpublished manuscript, dated January 1976.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Johnstown, Pa. New York: Sanborn Map Co. 1895 and 1913 maps.

  1. Daily, Johnathan E., Johnstown Area Heritage Association, Minersville Historic District, nomination document, 1998, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

See Map

Street Names: 400th Place, 500th Place, 600th Place, 700th Place, 800th Place, Coleman Avenue, Cypress Avenue, DuPont Street, Grove Avenue, Highland Avenue, Linden Avenue, Lunen Street, Ohio Street, Village Street

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