Heritage House Inn B&B: In Historic Johnstown of 1889 Flood

In 1890, the Heritage House Inn B&B, formerly the church refectory of the Saint Columba parish in Johnstown, PA, was built. Just a year before, the  Romanesque church next door withstood the flood that ravaged the town and drowned more than 2,200 when the South Fork Dam broke.

My interest in the flood brought me to Johnstown.  When I searched for a place to stay, the Heritage House Inn B&B was a happy find. Staying in an historic building in a historic town made the short weekend trip memorable.

The Heritage House Inn B&B does give a nod to Johnstown’s tragic past, but also connects guests to present day and each other. Friendliness and hospitality are part of the charm.

The rambling brick building has seven guest rooms, as well as, common rooms for visiting. Each are set up for making oneself at home.

The decor and furnishings are a mix of Victorian to more modern that reflect aspects of Johnstown’s history. Books about Johnstown’s flood are part of the mix. But that’s not all.

My friend and I stayed in the Iron Horse Room decorated to reflect Johnstown’s train and railroad connection. The hand-painted train coming out of a tunnel on the screen of the ornamental antique fireplace, and the locomotive engine lamp are clever touches. The basket of rolled up hand-towels and toiletries on the dresser was lovely and welcoming like we were favored guests.

Also, the room was large enough so that when we opened the sofa bed, there was still plenty of space to move about between it and the queen bed.

Both of us loved the original tiles of the bathroom and the other original features of the rest of the inn. In the morning we were able to look in the other guest rooms. Each have their own theme and hand-painted details.

No matter which room one stays, there is a roomy, airy feel. Each room has a flat screen TV and hair-dryer. In the upstairs common area, a refrigerator and coffee maker are available for guest use.

In the morning, breakfast served in the dining room was a tasty feast of country ham, eggs, pecan french toast, fruit salad and coffee. We were able to pick the time in the morning when we wanted to eat.

Because the innkeeper does not live onsite, I arranged to meet her in the afternoon to get the key before heading out for the evening. We actually were heading to State College, PA for the Penn State/Ohio State game. Go Bucks. Johnstown is about an hour and 15 minutes from State College so this is a doable distance.

However, the close proximity to downtown makes sightseeing from the Heritage House Inn B &B easy and another reason for the stay.

After checking out, we first went to the Johnstown Inclined Plane that has been carrying passengers and vehicles up to the top of a steep hill above the city since 1891. Then we went to the Johnstown Flood National Memorial that overlooks the site of the dam, a visit I highly recommend.

Room rates start at $90. The most expensive room is $225. I booked our room through Hotels.com. You can also book directly with the Heritage House Inn B&B at its website or try other OTA’s such as Expedia.

Post and photographs courtesy of Jamie Rhein

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