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Westmont Borough

The Westmont Borough Hall is located at 1000 Luzerne Street, Johnstown PA 15905; phone: 814-255-3865.

Beginnings [1]

Westmont is sited on a hillside plateau which overlooks the city of Johnstown, in an area known as "Yoder Hill" since it was purchased by John Yoder in 1793. Utilized for farmland during the nineteenth century, a large portion of Yoder Hill was acquired by Cambria in the late 1800's. At first the company maintained the land's pastoral quality, keeping farms and pasture lands to support the mules and horses which worked the company's mills and mines.

The 1889 Johnstown Flood, which destroyed thousands of homes in the city, prompted Cambria Iron Company to build a model suburb for its workers on Yoder Hill. One of the company's first actions was building the Inclined Plane in 1889, which furnished fast and efficient transport from downtown Johnstown directly to the top of Yoder Hill. Cambria then purchased over 500 acres on Yoder Hill where the homes would be built.

Cambria employed Philadelphia landscape architects Miller and Yates to lay out the new suburb. They designed a grided street plan with bisecting alleys, a tree-lined boulevard where larger homes would be built, and reservoir and hotel sites on two hilly areas. The company laid out the streets, had them surfaced, and constructed curbing. By 1912, net sales of property to private developers had already resulted in a profit well above development costs born by Cambria. Cambria's development of a model suburb was motivated by economic interests. It helped alleviate a chronic housing shortage affecting the workers and helped retain the work force through home ownership.

  1. Daily, Jonathan E., Westmont Historic District, nomination document, 1993, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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