Johnstown had several Catholic and Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. It had several daily and weekly papers. The chief were the Tribune, the Democrat, and the Freie Presse.
The Cambria Iron Works, the great industry of Johnstown, originated in a few widely separated charcoal furnaces built by pioneer iron workers in the early years of the century. As early as 1803 General Arthur St. Clair engaged in the iron business, and erected the Hermitage furnace about sixteen miles from the present site of Johnstown. In 1809 the working of ores was begun near Johnstown. These were primitive furnaces, where charcoal was the only fuel employed, and the raw material and product were transported entirely on wagons, but they marked the beginning of the manufacture of iron in this country.
The Cambria Iron Company was chartered under the general law in 1852, for the operation of four old-fashioned charcoal furnaces in and near Johnstown, which was then a village of 1300 inhabitants, to which the Pennsylvania railroad had just been extended. In 1853 the construction of four coke furnaces was begun, but it was two years before the first was finished. England was then shipping rails into this country under a low duty, and the iron industry here was struggling for existence. The company at Johnstown was