I 29.88: SO 8
Clubhouse, Brown Cottage, Moorhead Cottage,
and Clubhouse Annex
SOUTH FORK FISHING
ST. MICHAEL • PENNSYLVANIA
Printed on recycled paper
HISTORIC STRUCTURES REPORT
Architectural & Historical Data Section
South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club
St. Michael, Pennsylvania
Landmarks Design Associates, Architects
Wallace, Roberts & Todd
Prepared under contract to
The National Park Service, Denver Service Center
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission
The 1889 South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation
A. Administrative Information .
B. Methodology ....
II. Historical Overview
A. Statement of Significance
B. Historical Narrative .
C. Chronology of Ownership & Use
III. Architectural Information
A. Club Site
Existing Conditions & Evidence Narrative
Conjectural 1889 Site Plan .
Existing Conditions & Evidence Narrative
Existing Condition Plans & Elevations
Conjectural 1889 Plans
C. Brown Cottage
Existing Conditions & Evidence Narrative
Existing Condition Plans & Elevations
Conjectural 1889 Plans & Elevation .
D. Moorhead Cottage
Existing Conditions & Evidence Narrative
Existing Condition Plans & Elevations
Conjectural 1889 Plans & Elevation
E. Clubhouse Annex
Existing Conditions & Evidence Narrative
Existing Condition Elevations
Conjectural 1889 Elevations .
IV. Code Analysis and Energy Conservation
A. Clubhouse ....
B. Brown Cottage
C. Moorhead Cottage
V. Recommendations for Building Stabilization
VI. Treatment Proposals
A. Treatment Proposal Methodology
B. Summary of Recommended Treatments
C. Evaluation of Uses Given State Criteria
D. Site Treatment Recommendations
E. Reuse Plans ....
VII. Recommendations for Further Study
VIII. Bibliography .....
1. Historic Photographs
2. Family Histories
3. Property Transactions
4. Oral History Resources
5. Membership Lists
1. Paint Analysis
b. Brown Cottage .... 461
c. Moorhead Cottage . . . 467
d. Clubhouse Annex .... 476
2. Archaeologist's Report .... 479
3. Structural Engineer's Report . . . 505
a. Clubhouse ..... 507
b. Brown Cottage . . . .519
c. Moorhead Cottage .... 535
4. Contemporary Period Cottage & Clubhouse Designs 551
5. Maps ....... 573
LA. ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION
This Historic Structures Report addresses four surviving structures of the South Fork
Fishing and Hunting Club in the town of St. Michael, Pennsylvania: the Clubhouse, the
Guest Annex, the Moorhead Cottage, and the Brown Cottage (formerly known as the
Knox Cottage). The remains of the Club, which include six other cottages as well as the
four buildings treated herein, were listed on the National Register as the South Fork
Fishing and Hunting Club Historic District on 31 July 1986. Largely devoid of their
original context, the properties nonetheless serve to tell the South Fork story.
° The Clubhouse is a massive, three story frame structure with a hip roof,
clapboard siding, and a newly restored porch across the east front. The first floor
of the interior has been reconfigured over the years, while the upper floors remain
° The Moorhead Cottage, the largest and most elaborate of the survivors, is a
two-and-a-half story Queen Anne/Shingle Style house with an octagonal corner
tower, complex roof line, an extensive front porch, and aluminum siding. It has
undergone substantial alterations to convert its seventeen rooms into two living
° The Brown Cottage is a two-and-a-half story Stick Style house with a cross
gable roof, original ship lap siding, and a wrap-around porch. It, too, has been
considerably altered on the interior to create a duplex.
° The Clubhouse Annex is a simple gable roofed structure of two-and-a-half
stories above a high basement. Alterations, including raising the basement story,
have stripped it of its original character, leaving few clues behind.
Proposed Use and Treatment
It is proposed that the four buildings and portions of the overall Club site be renovated
in some cases and partially restored in others, interpreted, and put into use by the 1889
South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society, with assistance
from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission, as follows:
o The Clubhouse, as the former focal point of Club life and as the largest and
most flexible of the structures, should be accurately restored to house most of the
public functions, including the Visitors/Orientation Center, exhibit space., a
restaurant, and an inn.
o The Moorhead Cottage should be restored on the exterior and the first floor of
the interior to house exhibits and a library and to accommodate special events
and receptions. Upstairs, it will be renovated into two apartment units, one
intended for a caretaker to administer the overall project.
° The Brown Cottage should be restored on the exterior and renovated on the
interior, in keeping with its current duplex configuration, to house two rental
° The Clubhouse Annex is currently being renovated as four apartment units.
Its exterior should be restored, including reconstruction of the two-story porch.
° Portions of the historic boardwalk and the access road behind the cottages
should be replicated to provide some sense of the original context of the
As a key component in the larger restoration and interpretive program related to the
South Fork Dam and the Johnstown Flood, this report follows several other planning
° An Historic Structures Report on the South Fork Dam was prepared by the
National Park Service in 1979.
° An Historic Structures Report on the Elias J. Unger House was prepared by the
National Park Service in 1986.
° A National Register nomination form for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting
Club Historic District was completed in 1986.
o A Draft Preservation and Interpretation Plan for the South Fork Fishing and
Hunting Club Historic District and Alternatives for Establishing an Interpretive
Tour Route Between the Johnstown Flood National Memorial and The City of
Johnstown was prepared by the National Park Service and Residents of the
Village of St. Michael in 1988.
° A Plan for Allegheny Ridge was completed by the EADS Group and Lane
Frenchman for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission
Recommended Treatment for Materials Collected in Preparing This Report
The various items of wallpaper and paint samples collected during the destructive testing
of the properties will be returned to the Historical Preservation Society for subsequent
analysis, archival storage, and possible future display. The archival and research
materials collected will be made available to the Society for inclusion in its archives and
library; included in this collection will be all photographs and negatives, as well as oral
history notes and photocopies of primary documents.
This Historic Structures Report was developed to provide preservation and interpretive
direction for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club in general and four buildings in
particular: the Clubhouse, the Moorhead Cottage, the Brown Cottage (formerly referred
to as the Knox Cottage), and the Clubhouse Annex.
The historical research followed several lines of inquiry. First, the standard primary and
secondary sources pertaining to the Flood were reviewed and assimilated. 1 This included
the previously prepared Historic Structures Reports on the Unger House and the South
Fork Dam, as well as other standard reference works, contemporaneous accounts of the
1889 Flood, and common archival collections. Among the archival collections, the Lewis
Semple Clarke photographs were the most useful source. Second, research was done to
identify and locate descendants of a number of member families. Over sixty individuals
have been contacted and are aware of the work being done at South Fork. To date, that
effort has uncovered additional photographs, a copy of a Club stock certificate, and
letters recalling the attitudes of family members toward the Club and the Flood. Even
at this writing, responses continue to come in from descendants who are interested and
willing to peruse family papers for materials related to the Club, and it is fully expected
that additional primary documentation may be uncovered in time. Third, a full search
was done of deed and mortgage records of the Clubhouse and the two cottages, yielding
an almost continuous chain of title. The owners identified through that search were used
to launch the fourth line of research, the oral history interviews with owners and
occupants of the buildings during the twentieth century.
This research was augmented by extensive analysis and destructive testing of the
buildings to determine original conditions and subsequent alterations. As defined by the
National Park Service in the scope of work for this project, this testing was exhaustive
It should be noted that a number of the sources, both primary and secondary, come into conflict with
one another. A significant part of this effort has been to look objectively at these sources and draw our own
in the Moorhead Cottage, thorough in the Brown Cottage and the Clubhouse, and
minimal on the exterior of the Clubhouse Annex. Testing included removal of selected
wall and floor coverings, boring of wall core samples, paint analysis, and exposure of
structural members in selected areas. Because the Clubhouse is in continuous use, testing
there was limited. This analysis was enhanced by an analysis of contemporaneous
patternbook designs. The research and analysis components were then synthesized to
generate conjectural plans and elevations illustrating original conditions.
Based on this analysis and the expressed preferences of the 1889 South Fork Fishing and
Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society, an analysis was conducted to determine
the best strategy to accommodate functional and interpretive requirements in the four
buildings. Issues such as space allocation, structural stability, code requirements,
interpretive value, and market feasibility were all factored into this analysis.
Incorporating all of the research and analysis described above, this report provides not
only the historical information necessary for accurate preservation treatment of the
structures, but also a direction for future development of the site.
II. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
II.A. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was developed on Lake Conemaugh between
1879 and 1889, when the Club's earthen dam that retained the lake collapsed,
precipitating the Johnstown Flood. The buildings of the Club subsequently passed to
other owners and the town of St. Michael built up around them, first as a mining
community and ultimately as just one of many small towns in the area. The surviving
structures of the Club represent ten of the sixteen principal buildings believed to have
existed on over 600 acres of Club-owned property (including the lake itself.) The four
structures which are the subject of this report - the Moorhead Cottage, the Brown
Cottage, the Clubhouse, and the Clubhouse Annex -- are significant in several contexts.
The Club is significant as the exclusive rural retreat of the most influential individuals
in the industrial and related development of the region and, indeed, the nation. Business
and personal relationships among Pittsburgh's most prominent business leaders and their
families were nurtured at South Fork while they engaged in the activities of genteel
leisure - hunting, fishing, sailing, rowing, swimming, and pageantry. South Fork
represented a notable departure from the more public mountain and mineral springs
resorts that had predominated the region, such as Bedford Springs, Chalybeate Springs,
The Club and its property are also indelibly associated with the Johnstown Flood, the
most notable flood of the nineteenth century in the United States and the greatest
national tragedy of the post-Civil War era. The flood itself and the ensuing relief efforts,
in which Club members participated, are a remarkable story of disaster and human
Architecturally, the surviving Club buildings represent a good sampling of Victorian
cottage architecture. The Queen Anne/Shingle Style Moorhead and Stick Style Brown
Cottages are particularly fine examples of their respective styles in the region. The
Clubhouse, while a less sophisticated exterior design, is nonetheless quite representative
of club architecture of the 1880s, of which few examples survive in the area.
Finally, the cottages derive an additional layer of significance from their association with
the development of St. Michael as a company town of the Maryland Coal Company and
subsequently the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company. In their altered, duplex form,
they reveal something about housing conditions as provided by coal companies to their
II.B. HISTORICAL NARRATIVE
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club enjoyed a brief and ill-fated history that has
been accordingly little documented. Circumstances are such that the records of the Club
and its members are understandably quite limited. The private nature of the Club,
coupled with its limited ten-year duration and the guilt and/or trepidation with which
the majority of the members apparently viewed the flood and its aftermath, has resulted
in a dearth of reliable, primary sources. Furthering the problem has been the
perpetuation of misinformation that came with the frenzy to publicize the flood and
assign blame for it in the early months following the disaster. This narrative attempts
to question the traditionally accepted lore and arrive at a more accurate depiction of the
Club, its members, its lifestyle, and its facilities, in order to provide as full a context as
possible for the four historic structures which are the subject of this report.
Founding of the Club
While it began as a legal entity with a charter recorded in the Court of Common Pleas
of Allegheny County citing its place of business as the City of Pittsburgh, the Club's
name clearly indicates that the charter members already had in mind a resort at South
Fork. The charter, dated 15 November 1879, stated the association's object as "the
protection and propagation of game and game fish, and the enforcement of all laws of
this State against the unlawful killing or wounding of the same." 1 The stock of the
association was set at $10,000, divided into 100 shares with a value of $100 each.
The Club's sixteen charter members collectively owned 42 of the authorized 100 shares,
with Benjamin Ruff owning eight, Henry Clay Frick owning six, and the rest owning two
each. With 58 shares outstanding, it might be assumed that the sixteen originally
1 Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Charter Book, XXI: 232. According to J. J. McLaurin, the Club
was actually organized on 19 May 1879. J. J. McLaurin, The Story of Johnstown (Harrisburg: J. M. Place,
expected to swell their ranks to no more than 74 (if all further shares were to be sold
individually) and possibly as few as 45 (if all further shares were to be sold in pairs as
they had already been.) But by 1881, it was reported that the Club had applied to the
Court of Common Pleas to amend the Charter. 2 That Amendment, recorded 23 March
1881, allowed for the issuance of 100 additional shares of capital stock at $100 per share,
with a provision to add to the membership "from time to time," the total aggregate
number of shares to not exceed 400. 3
The sixteen charter members, or "subscribers," were listed as:
B. F. Ruff H. C. Frick
F. H. Sweet E. A. Meyers
Charles J. Clarke C. C. Hussey
Thomas Clarke D. R. Euwer
W. F. Fundenberg C. A. Carpenter
Howard Hartley W. S. Dunn
H. C. Yager W. L. McClintock
J. B. White A. V. Holmes
Ruff was President; Meyers, Secretary; and McClintock, Treasurer. The five Directors
were Hussey, Dunn, Carpenter, Hartley, and Fundenburg [sic]. By 1889, when the total
membership had reportedly reached 61, only five of these original sixteen members were
still listed as belonging to the Club: Charles J. Clarke, H. C. Frick, E. A. Meyers (listed
as F. A. Meyers), W. S. Dunn (listed as W. T. Dunn), and W. L. McClintock. 4 Three of
2 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 22 February 1881.
3 Cambria County Charter Book, 6: 452-457.
4 Johnstown Tribune, 20 June 1889. It is assumed that the inconsistencies in these names were the result of
misprints and athat they are, in fact, the same individuals listed on the Charter.
those ~ Charles J. Clarke, C. C. Hussey, and Walter L. McClintock -- are believed
ultimately to have built cottages. 5
It has frequently been asserted that the Club members obtained the charter in
disobeyance of the Laws of Pennsylvania, which required organizations to be chartered
in the counties in which they were to operate. It has also been suggested that they
deliberately misled the local Johnstown media about the name of the Club and other
particulars to keep their operations private. Indeed, the Johnstown Tribune did print
numerous apparently erroneous items about the projected Club and its plans for the old
reservoir. In the early days, it was the name that was reported incorrectly. On 14
October 1879, the Tribune related that there was "a rumor afloat" that the "Western Game
and Fish Association of Pittsburgh" had leased or purchased the old reservoir property
and proposed "converting it into a summer resort." 6 On the following day, the Tribune
elaborated in another story that was essentially accurate with the exception of the Club's
As will be seen by the advertisement in this issue fifty men
are wanted by Contractor Kaine to go to work on the
South Fork of the Conemaugh River, immediately. The
property has been purchased by the Western Game and
Fish Association, of Pittsburgh, a rumor to that effect
having been published in last evening's paper, which we
can now verify as fact. It is the intention of the corporation
named to commence rebuilding the dam and putting the
extensive grounds in proper shape for the erection of a
summer resort, and no better location can be found in
Western Pennsylvania for this purpose. The distance from
South Fork or Mineral Point is not over three miles, and the
place is easy of access. As soon as the necessary buildings
are erected and all the improvements made, it will be a
formidable rival to Cresson, and in course of time will
5 Discussions of the membership and a full list of cottage owners appears later in this narrative.
6 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 14 October 1879.
undoubtedly become one of the best rural resorts in the
When rain damaged the dam on Christmas Day 1879, the Tribune reported the incident,
still using the incorrect name. 8 Erroneous names continued in use when John Fulton
referred to the "Sportsmen's Association of Western Pennsylvania" in his report to D. J.
Morrell in November 1880, 9 and even as late as May 1884, when the Tribune referred to
the "Western Game and Fish Association." 10
At the same time, however, the Club did accurately advertise the charter applications,
as required, in the Commercial Gazette and the Post, both Pittsburgh papers. 11 Since the
Johnstown Tribune frequently reported news items from these two publications, it is
unclear whether the misinformation was the result of Club subterfuge or careless
Ibid., 15 October 1879. It is curious that the rivalry with Cresson persisted despite that some of the same
Pittsburghers apparently frequented both resorts. Just as the South Fork development was getting underway,
major construction was going on at the Cresson Springs Hotel in late 1880, as reported in the Tribune of 19
November 1880. Harriet Gaul, in her biography of John Alfred Brashear, mentions the rivalry and suggests
that Cresson held greater appeal to railroad men; she also discusses the importance to these resorts of
Pittsburgh artists' colonies in the mountains. See Harriet Gaul, "Gods of the Mountains," John Alfred Brashear:
Scientist and Humanitarian, 1840-1920 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940), 101-107. A
study of broader scope to examine regional mountain resorts of the late nineteenth century would be useful
in providing a context for South Fork.
8 ]ohnstown Daily Tribune, 27 December 1879.
'Letter, John Fulton to Daniel J. Morrell, 26 November 1880, printed in Johnstown Daily Tribune, 18 June 1889.
The Sportsmen's Association of Western Pennsylvania did, in fact, exist as a separate organization organized
in 1876, as reported in the Tribune on 29 August 1879. The confusion between the two organizations may
have stemmed from the fact that five of the charter members of the South Fork Club were listed among the
twenty officers and directors of the Sportsmen's Association. Furthermore, of the Association's 260 members,
the Tribune reported, many were of "great influence," suggesting possible additional overlap. By August of
1879, the Association had signed a ten year lease in a building on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh and spent
$10,000 improving the space, which included a reading, card, and billiard room, and a museum containing
some 2,000 specimens of natural history, most of them being contributions of members. It would seem that
the South Fork Club may well have been an outgrowth of this earlier group.
10 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 8 May 1884.
11 Ibid., 22 February 1881.
reporting. Despite the Club's assumed desire for privacy, it seems extreme to ascribe to
them a deliberate effort to veil their activities in privacy through misinformation. 12 At
any rate, by July of 1883, the Tribune, drawing from articles in the Pittsburgh Commercial
Gazette, began to refer to the club by its proper name, at least some of the time. 13
The membership of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was composed entirely of
Pittsburgh (and Allegheny City) industrialists. Of the 61 members in 1889, 38 were
officers, partners, or owners of business firms ranging from real estate to steel, seven
were attorneys, and four were bankers. Many were direct business associates. James W.
Brown was secretary and treasurer of Hussey, Howe and Company, Steel Works, Ltd.,
in addition to serving as vice president of the Crucible Steel Company, a trustee of the
Dollar Savings Bank, and a U. S. Congressman. Henry Holdship and his brother-in-law,
Lewis Irwin, were associated with Holdship and Irwin, American Oil Works. J. J.
Lawrence and Moses B. Suydam were partners in the paint business. Philander Chase
Knox and James Hay Reed, in addition to founding a highly successful law firm and
orchestrating the sale of Carnegie Steel to U. S. Steel, each enjoyed successful political
careers, Reed as a federal district judge and Knox as Attorney General of the United
States, a U. S. Senator, and Secretary of State under President William Howard Taft.
Calvin Wells and C. C. Hussey's father were partners in the copper and later the steel
business. And the relationship among Carnegie, Frick, and Mellon has, of course, been
12 It would seem that some have succumbed to the temptation of ascribing malevolent motives to the
Club members in hindsight. Most notable among them is Nathan Shappee, whose otherwise well-
documented study draws the conclusion, with little evidence, that ". . . the South Fork club men, by using
the wrong name, prevented an examination of their plans; and concealed the irregularity of their charter. .
. . By 1883, the Pittsburgh men had become too firmly entrenched at South Fork to be easily ejected over an
irregularity of their charter." Shappee also asserts that "although Ruff had told Morrell the correct name in
December, 1880, the local leader had kept his correspondence with the club's president from the Tribune's
editor." Nathan D. Shappee, A History of Johnstown and the Great Flood of 1889: A Study in Disaster and
Rehabilitation (Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1940), 214-215. Harlan Unrau
perpetuates this assertion in his Historic Structures Report on the South Fork Dam, 1979.
13 Johnstown Tribune, 6 July 1883, quoting Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, 3-4 July 1883. Since the Tribune
subsequently referred to the "Western Game and Fish Association" as late as May 1884, it would seem that
careless reporting was to blame for at least some of the misnomers.
well documented. The list goes on to clearly illustrate that these men were at the core
of economic and political power in Pittsburgh. These business relationships carried over
into the members' private lives as well, with several family alliances forged through
The actual membership list has been published in two sources. The Guest Register that
survives in the Archives of the Johnstown Flood Museum contains a list of 60 names at
the end dating, we believe, to c.1886, and the Johnstown Daily Tribune published a list of
61 on 20 June 1889. As with other documentation regarding the Club, conflicts appear
between the reports. The two lists contain only 36 names in common. Most noticeably
missing from the earlier list are the names of Moorhead, Knox, Brown, Bidwell, Rankin,
and Reed, all suspected to have owned cottages. The 1889 list omits only one suspected
cottage owner, C. C. Hussey. 15
In addition to the list of members at the end of the bound volume, the Guest Register
contains entries dated 28 July 1881 through 29 September 1883, indicating which
members checked in at the Club, who their guests were, whether or not they dined at the
Clubhouse, and where they were housed. Many of the members brought guests to the
Club, some of whom are known to have joined later. Certain names dominate the
entries: Hussey, Holdship, Unger, Hunt, Ruff, White, and McClintock. Among the most
frequent users of the Club were the McClintocks, who first appeared in the register on
Saturday, 10 September 1881 and continuing to visit at least two or three times a month
during the next two summers, including an apparent house party with at least fifteen
guests hosted by W. L. McClintock on Memorial Day weekend in 1883. By the end of
14 See Appendix A. 2., Family Histories. See also Ella Sue Rayburn, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Elias
J. Unger House, Historic Structure Report (National Park Service, January 1986), 55-83, for additional
professional profiles on the members.
15 It may be that Hussey died before the list was compiled. When flood survivors moved into the cottages
in the summer of 1889, the Hussey Cottage was referred to as Mrs. Hussey's, and the Hussey interests in
South Fork were ultimately deeded away by Mrs. Hussey. See Appendix A.5. for both the Guest Register
list and the Tribune list.
that season, the Guest Register would seem to have fallen into disuse by members,
perhaps as activities shifted to the newly built cottages.
Developing the Buildings and Grounds
The property that ultimately became the grounds of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting
Club was acquired through a series of nine purchases dating from 1879 to 1887. These
parcels ranged in size from the original purchase of 500 acres, 54 perches to a strip of
ground 25 feet wide separating two of the other parcels; they totalled 624 acres, 120
perches, at a total cost of over $4,100. 16 It is unclear from the deed descriptions just how
the property grew, but the bulk of the land was under Club ownership by September
1880, setting the stage for development of the buildings.
Apparently, the first improvements made to the Club property involved the dam.
Shortly after the Club was organized, the following advertisement appeared in the
WANTED -- FIFTY MEN to work on the Dam on South
Fork of Conemaugh ~ the Old Reservoir. Inquire of
DANIEL KAINE, Contractor of the Work. 17
The reconstruction took fully two years and some $17,000 to complete, and the lake was
ready for use by the 1881 season. Even as the work was proceeding, questions were
raised as to the dam's safety. 18
16 These property transactions are detailed in Appendix A.3.
17 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 15 October 1879.
18 The history of the dam has been well documented in the Historic Structures Reports on the Elias Unger
House and the South Fork Dam, as well as in Shappee. See Rayburn and Shappee. See also Harlan Unrau,
Historic Structures Report, the South Fork Dam (National Park Service, 1979.)
It is not known exactly when each of the structures at South Fork was built, but sources
suggest that the first buildings were erected in 1881, with construction continuing
through the summer of 1888. The Tribune in March of 1881 reported that a hotel would
be constructed that spring and summer. 19 This would seem to be confirmed by the Guest
Register's initial entry on 28 July 1881. 20 This intial clubhouse consisted of a small,
residential-scaled frame structure of nine bays with a cross gable roof. Accounts vary as
to how many cottages were built and when. Seven were reported by the Pittsburgh
Commercial Gazette of 4 July 1883. 21 It is also unclear whether or not the Club may have
built some cottages during the early years for use as auxiliary space for the Clubhouse,
which cottages could subsequently have been sold to members. References are made in
the Guest Register to numbered cottages to which some guests were sent after check-in. 22
By the summer of 1885, a rumor was afloat that the South Fork Fishing and Hunting
Club might be opened to the public. A lengthy piece in the Johnstown Daily Tribune on
10 August of that summer reported the rumor and described the Club facilities at that
The fine body of water and the romantic surroundings of
the place, it is thought, would make the resort the most
popular on the mountain. The opening of the place would
contemplate the erection of a large hotel, and it is said that
an architect has already received orders to prepare plans of
such a building, and it is probable work will be
commenced in the fall.
At present the public is rigidly excluded from the grounds,
and the privileged guests, from one hundred to one
hundred and fifty in number, seem to be extremely happy
in their semi-isolation. But the luxury is an expensive one,
19 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 22 March 1881, as quoted in Unrau.
20 Guest Register.
21 As reported in the Johnstown Daily Tribune, 6 July 1883.
22 Guest Register.
the club probably sees a great "spec" in publicity, and it
may be that in the near future the beautiful lake will be
surrounded by cottages and provided with hotel
accommodations sufficient for a thousand persons. There
are now about a dozen very tasty cottages and a Club
House, which provides meals for all the guests. The
seating capacity of the dining room is only ninety,
however, so that the guests are greatly inconvenienced and
the Club House people nearly driven crazy at each
recurring mealtime. Then, too, more of the members and
their relatives and friends wish to spend the heated term at
the lake, and the pressure grows yearly. Under all these
circumstances, it does not appear improbable that
additional accommodations will be provided and that the
public will be permitted to bear a portion of the general
The cottages and Club House are on the right hand side of
the lake as you enter the grounds from the old Frankstown
road and about a mile distant from the breast of the dam
or lake. Directly opposite the Club House is the beautiful
Rorabaugh farm, sloping gently to the water's edge. The
cottages are built in a damp, bad smelling woods. The
Rorabaugh farm lies open to the sun and the breeze, and is
susceptible of any degree of artificial beautifying. Here
would be the place for the great hotel. Col. Ruff, of
Pittsburgh, who is a member of the association, also owns
individually a fine stretch of dry woodland facing the lake.
But the innovation talked of will not be made for several
years, we think. Some members of the club would
certainly kick against it to the last. They have been at great
expense in the purchase and fitting up of the grounds and
are just beginning to reap the benefits.
The lake is stocked with the finest of game fish, now grown
almost to full size, and in the season wild ducks and wild
geese by the thousand alight upon the water and fall a
ready prey to the hunter's fowling piece. The sports of
fishing and hunting they would therefore not like to make
public, even for a consideration.
Col. Tice, an experienced caterer, is at present in charge of
the Club House, and is ably assisted by Clark Higgins. But
the house isn't big enough for them to bounce around in to
the extent of their ability. They need more room, which
the Hotel de Castle in the Air will give them when it
One of the dozen "tasty" cottages described in the Tribune article was undoubtedly the
Moorhead Cottage, a fine Queen Anne design set on one of the highest sites in the
lakefront row. No documentation survives to link the house to the Moorheads, but
commonly accepted local lore has always dubbed it as such. Cottage No. 6, also one of
the early ones, has been known traditionally as the Clarke Cottage, which would be
supported by a photograph in the Cooper collection featuring Charles Clarke
prominently seated on the porch steps with a family group that also includes Durbin
Whether or not the Tribune was correct in its assertions that the South Fork Club had
plans to expand and possibly go public, the Club did set out to make significant
improvements to the property in 1887. As described, the "commodious" Clubhouse
contained 47 "well furnished" bedrooms, a "nicely furnished office, a pool room, a parlor
forty feet square, a dining room 40 x 60 feet, a well-furnished kitchen, bakery, cooling-
rooms, milk room, vegetable room, and everything to be found in a well-furnished
The parcels on which the cottages were built were, at least toward the end of the Club's
life, leased by the Club to the cottage owners. Leases from the Club to P. C. Knox and
D. W. C. Bid well, dated January 1888, set forth the terms of the agreements: numbered
lots on a plan of lots laid out by the Club and measuring "100 feet fronting on said
Johnstown Daily Tribune, 10 August 1885. The somewhat sarcastic tone of this article raises some
question as to its accuracy.
A Photograph by Lewis Semple Clarke, in the collection of Virginia Cooper and the Johnstown Flood
25 W. Y. Yoder, Superintendent of Grounds, South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club, Letter to Salem (Ohio) Era,
10 June 1889, quoted in Johnstown Tribune, 25 June 1889.
Conemaugh Lake and running back, preserving the same width, about 150 feet," were
to be leased for 99 years and be "subject to the rules" of the Club. Whether or not this
lease arrangement was typical for all cottage owners is not known. Knox leased Lot No.
16 and Bid well Lot No. 18. 26 An attempt to correlate these numbers to the cottages was
inconclusive and, since only fourteen were apparently built, it may be that not all the lots
were 100 feet wide. If it were assumed that Cottage No. 1 were Lot No. 18, then the
Moorhead Cottage would actually be the Knox Cottage on Lot No. 16, but no evidence
supports this theory.
The final buildings are believed to have been constructed during the Club's last summer
season at Lake Conemaugh in 1888. The Tribune announced on 22 March 1888 that three
new cottages were to be built that summer at a cost of $5,000 each by D.W.C. Bidwell,
Dr. D. W. Rankin, and James W. Brown, who had officially joined the Club on 26 October
1886. 27 The Brown Cottage has definitely been identified through photographs in the
possession of one of his descendants, and its site does appear vacant in some of the
earlier views of the cottage row, confirming that it was a late addition. The Bidwell
Cottage, for which Bidwell leased Lot No. 18, has not been positively identified, nor has
the Rankin, assuming that they were even constructed. Perhaps Philander Knox, who
took out a land lease contemporaneously with Bidwell, built that same summer, although
no other evidence supports that theory.
Ultimately, it would seem that fourteen cottages were built in addition to the Clubhouse
and Clubhouse Annex, based on an analysis of historic maps and photographs. 28 A list
26 Cambria County Deed Books, 229: 454 (Bidwell) and 234: 468 (Knox). Oddly enough, these leases were not
recorded until 1911, after they were assigned to John S. Wicks in 1904. This would seem to be part of the
process of clearing the title to the land prior to the sale to Maryland Coal in 1907.
27 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 22 March 1888. Also, Stock Certificate, South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club,
dated 26 October 1886, in possession of Alice Reed Tucker of Pittsburgh, Brown's granddaughter.
28 It should be noted that sources vary as to how many cottages actually existed, with reports ranging from
16 to 23. Section III. A. provides an analysis of the fully developed Club site.
of eighteen known and suspected cottage owners has been compiled from several
DeWitt Clinton Bidwell Jesse H. Lippencott
James W. Brown John J. Lawrence
Charles J. Clarke Walter Lowrie McClintock
John Arunah Harper Maxwell Kennedy Moorhead
Henry Holdship Dr. D. W. Rankin
Durbin Home James Hay Reed
Curtis C. Hussey John Rorabaugh
Lewis Irwin Moses B. Suydam
Philander Chase Knox Calvin Wells 29
The clear physical evidence, however, strongly suggests that only fourteen of these
members actually built cottages.
No evidence survives to identify the involvement of any particular architects at the South
Fork Club. In fact, only one reference has been found to suggest that architects were
involved at all; the Tribune article of 10 August 1885 indicated that an architect had
already been retained to design a large hotel, perhaps the Clubhouse, which was
expanded at about that time. If architects were involved, it is entirely possible that they
might have been chosen from among the architects practicing in Pittsburgh during the
1880s. The Brickbuilder and The Inland Architect and Builder, a periodical featuring
residential design and construction projects of the time, listed at least 36 Pittsburgh
architects between c.1885 and 1892. Of those, only a few are known to have built projects
29 Johnstown Daily Tribune article of 22 March 1888, announcing three anticipated new cottages; Land leases
in names of Bidwell and Knox in Cambria County Deed Books; Tribune articles of 29 July and 28 August 1889,
describing post-flood occupancy of the the cottages; Cambria County Deed Book records pertaining to de-
acquisition of the Club property and all interests therein; and Photographs from the Cooper and Brown
Collections. Additional names - including Leishman, Frick, Carnegie, Pitcairn, Mellon and Sinclair ~ have
been passed down through local lore, but no documentary evidence has been uncovered to confirm them.
in Pittsburgh for the individuals thought to have cottages at South Fork. 30 Any attribution
of the Clubhouse or cottages to any particular architects, therefore, would have to be
entirely based on stylistic analysis. Given the simple vernacular nature of most of the
structures, such an analysis would be very difficult. The most distinctive features present
in any of the buildings are perhaps the fireplaces of the Clubhouse, which could be
likened to the work of C. M. Bartberger, who was working in Pittsburgh in the 1880s.
Alternatively, the cottages and Clubhouse might have been based, at least in part, on the
multitude of patternbooks available at the time. A study of a number of
contemporaneous patternbooks has not only revealed similar cottage designs, but has
provided some precedent for the conjectural plans of the buildings as well. Particularly
in the case of the Clubhouse, these books have illustrated typical floor plans for such
Outbuildings were no doubt a part of the Club's building development, although no firm
evidence was uncovered to either place them or describe them. It is believed, however,
that the Club had at least one barn or stable and quite possibly additional storage sheds,
as well as additional outhouses. 32
At some point along the way, site amenities were incorporated into the property
development. Walks, bridges, boathouses, and docks, both fixed and floating, are visible
in the historic photographs and have been indicated on the conjectural historic site plan.
A boardwalk of wide, transversely-set boards extended the full length of the row of
30 Bidwell, for example, used George S. Orth in 1885 for six three-story dwellings and Frederick J. Osterling
in 1889 for three brick dwellings, all apparently built for investment purposes. Durbin Home used Peabody
and Stearns for a project in 1896. Inland Architect and Builder, v. 5 (April 1885): 59; v.13 (June 1889): 92.; and
v.26 #6 (January 1896): 67. Brickbuilder, v.6 (October 1897): 257.
31 See Bibliography for a list of the patternbooks consulted and Appendix B.4. for selected excerpts of
32 The Cambria County tax records ot 1883 to 1890 list horses, mules, and as many as forty pleasure
carriages, which presumably would have been housed in some sort of structure. See Unrau, Appendix
cottages and the Clubhouse. The railings along the walkways and bridges were of a
quite rustic design, with natural branches formed into somewhat random patterns of
horizontals and diagonals. The boathouses were all gable roofed, some with ornamental
woodwork; in front of the Clubhouse, the boathouse appears to have contained 24
separate slips. In addition, telegraph poles extending across the breast of the dam and
south toward the Club buildings are visible in the historic views.
Security seems to have been of some concern at the Club property. A piece in the
Tribune of Saturday, 31 August 1889, reporting on the flood survivors inhabiting the
cottages, suggests that the property was fenced in some way:
Cottagers at South Fork Lake complain that last Sunday
they were annoyed by gangs of noisy beer drinkers, and
they have accordingly decided to keep the gates closed
James Herbert Walker, writing in 1889, described two "placards" that survived on the site,
ALL TRESPASSERS FOUND HUNTING OR FISHING ON
THESE GROUNDS WILL BE PROSECUTED TO THE
FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW.
NO FISHING OR HUNTING ON THESE PREMISES, UN-
DER PENALTY OF THE LAW, $100.
SOUTH FORK FISHING AND HUNTING CLUB. 34
No physical evidence survives on site to document these conditions.
1889 was to have been a big year for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. Just
thirty days before the flood, on 1 May 1889, the Club took out a $36,000 mortgage on the
Johnstown Daily Tribune, 31 August 1889.
34 James Herbert Walker, The Johnstown Horror!!! or Valley of Death (Philadelphia: 1889), 453.
nine parcels of land, with members Henry Holdship and Ben Thaw holding the paper. 35
The full extent of what was planned remains a mystery.
Presumably, one of the items to be developed with the proceeds of the refinancing was
the sewer that was under construction when the flood occurred on 31 May 1889.
According to Unrau, the Club's directors had voted in October 1888 to install the water
works the following year. The main sewer line was to run for nearly a mile along the
lake shore, extending from the Clubhouse to the dam, with branch lines connecting to
all the cottages. The wrought iron system, estimated to cost $12,000, was being built
under the supervision of John Grubb Parke, Jr., a recent engineering graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania. 36 The Italian workers who reportedly attempted to save the
dam under Unger's supervision were taken from the sewer construction crew. No
archaeological evidence has as yet been uncovered to locate any remains of the sewer,
but this might warrant further investigation.
Lifestyle on the Lake
Little is reported in primary sources regarding the lifestyle of the Club members on Lake
Conemaugh. An article in the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette of 4 July 1883 reported the
supposed rules of the Club, not documented elsewhere:
Under the rules a member is entitled to accommodations
for two weeks with the privilege of a long stay, if no other
member asks for the rooms. Cottages can be built by the
members and occupied permanently if they wish. The
rules are very stringent. Fishing, shooting, and playing of
any games are prohibited on Sunday, the game laws of the
state are enforced, and beside this fur, fin, and feather are
35 Cambria County Mortgage Book, 14, 268-77.
36 Unrau, 86-87, drawing from the Tribune of 4 May, 27 June, and 19 October 1888 and 9 April 1889, as well
as W. J. Maxwell, comp., General Alumni Catalogue of the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: 1917,
excerpted in Johnstown Flood (1889), Collection of Miscellaneous Materials Relating to the Flood, Historical
Society of Western Pennsylvania.
safe until the Board of Directors authorize the sportsmen to
open the season. Members can entertain their families and
friends after notification has been given the Secretary, but
no person not a member can be given the privileges of the
grounds for more than ten days in any one year. The
initiation fee is $800, the membership is limited to sixty
persons, and the rolls are full. 37
As to day-to-day life on the lake, the sources that do exist sometimes come
into conflict with one another. One source, written in 1889, suggests that
"not even Tuxedo [Park] puts on more airs." 38 This stands in marked
contrast to the report of another contemporaneous local historian:
There was no display at South Fork. The young men wore
flannel shirts and crush hats, and the girls plain costumes
that would not be injured in scrambling over rugged rocks
or fishing in turbulent streams, with the possibility of an
occasional tumble into the water. There were a few modest
cottages along the borders of the lake and a club-house that
until a year or so before the flood had been the plainest of
wood shanties. Then the club had spent a few thousands
upon it, had built a veranda and otherwise improved it. It
was a comfortable home-like place and was as different
from the ordinary fashionable summer resort as could well
be conceived. The beautiful sheet of water bore upon its
bosom in the soft evenings gay parties of young folks,
some of whom would strum the mandolin or guitar. . . The
place was exclusive only in the sense that a private house
or garden is of that character. There was no lofty disregard
of other people's rights, nor any desire on the part of the
members to set themselves above those around them. The
club was a happy family party, and nothing more. . . .
There was an atmosphere of repose over South Fork Lake
that it seemed nothing could disturb. 39
37 Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, 4 July 1883, printed in Johnstown Daily Tribune, 6 July 1883. The inaccuracy
of some information in the article, such as the $800 initiation fee, raises questions as to the veracity of the
38 Walker, 452.
39 Frank Connelly and George C. Jenks, Official History of the Johnstown Flood (Pittsburg: Journalist Publishing
Co., 1889), 46. Connelly and Jenks perhaps overstate the democratic attitudes of the Club members.
Photographs taken by Louis Semple Clarke in the mid to late 1880s would seem to
conform more closely to this second view of life on the lake. Women appear in simple
dresses, though nonetheless most often with hats, and the men in shirts and trousers or
informal, mismatched jackets and trousers with ties, with either caps or straw boaters.
Several of the photos depict people in costumes, obviously participating in some sort of
pageantry; one features a costumed young man carrying a boar's head into an
unidentified doorway. Children are included in several of the photos, although the
majority of the people shown are, not surprisingly, young adults who would have been
the photographer's peers. The majority of the photographs are, of course, posed, though
nonetheless informal in nature, showing people lingering on the bridges and walkways,
gathered on porch steps, listening to music, or reclining in hammocks. Quite a few show
sailors on the lake, and one captures the apparent launching of the club's steam yacht
with the vacant Brown site in the background. A still life shows a display of dozens of
ducks hanging in the ornamented gable end of an unidentified building. Perhaps the
only true candid is a glimpse of a group of young men, some in the nude, diving off a
crude diving board into the lake. w
The lake was initially stocked in 1881 with game fish, reportedly 1,000 black bass from
Lake Erie brought in by railroad car with oxygen tanks, at a cost of $750. 41 And, while
little is known regarding the actual hunting activities, it was reported that members
engaged in shooting contests, including live bird shoots and clay pigeons, to compete for
a silver cup. 42
But while fishing and hunting were purportedly the passions of the members and the
purpose of the Club, sailing clearly dominates the sporting images that survive.
40 Lewis Semple Clarke photographs from the Cooper Collection. See photographs incorporated into Section
III, Architectural Data, as well as Appendix A.I., Historic Photographs.
41 ]ohnstown Daily Tribune, 4 June 1881.
42 Ibid., 20 June 1884.
"Altogether there were two large steam yachts, four sailing boats, and fifty canoes and
rowboats at the lake. The most unusual craft was an electric catamaran, with a
searchlight mounted up front, which had been built by Louis Clarke, a young member
of the club." 43 Other unusual crafts are visible in the Clarke photographs.
The climax of the Club season is believed to have been the annual Regatta and Feast of
Lanterns. A copy of the program for this event, dated 22 August 1885, survives in the
Archives of the Johnstown Flood Museum. It lists eleven competitive events involving
canoes, single and double sculls, and tubs. The participants were men, women, and
children, and seemed to be drawn most heavily from families that are suspected or
known to have owned cottages. Names such as Holdship, Home, Hussey, Rankin,
Suydam, Irwin, Clarke, McClintock, Lawrence, and Wells are listed under multiple
events; Brown, who did not join the Club until 1886, and Moorhead are noticeably
missing from the program. 44 Medals were apparently awarded to the winners. Dwight
A. Home, Durbin Home's nephew, has among his father's keepsakes, a small gold medal
in the shape of a five pointed star with two crossed oars behind, in a circle of olive
leaves, suspended from a fancy triangular bar pin holder; it is engraved with
"Conemaugh Lake, 1886, Double Scull, 1 mile" on the front and "B. S. Home" (Bernard
S. Home, Durbin's brother) on the back. ^
The lifestyle of the Club members within the Clubhouse and cottages is an even greater
mystery. Marginal notes in the Guest Register and reports in the Tribune, already cited,
suggest that some cottage owners dined, at least sometimes, at the Clubhouse, and that
some of the cottages might have been maintained by the Club for use by members
43 Unrau, 88, citing the following sources: Johnstown Daily Tribune, 25 June 1889; David McCullough, The
Johnstown Flood (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), 42-43; Caldwell, Illustrated Historical Combination
Atlas, 24; and Storey, History of Cambria County, I, 457.
44 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, Conemaugh Lake, Regatta and Feast of Lanterns. Program dated
22 August 1885. In Johnstown Flood Museum Archives.
45 Dwight A. Home, letter to Eliza Smith Brown, dated 20 September 1992, in LDA files. The jeweler's
name, "C. Terreyden," is stamped on the back as well.
and/or guests. Receipts found in the Guest Register shed little light on purchases made
for the Club. 46 But major questions remain unanswered: Did the Club own any of the
cottages for use by single or multiple families? Were the servants brought from
Pittsburgh or hired locally? Did the upstairs /downstairs conventions that would have
typified the families' lives in Pittsburgh exist at the lake? Did the families move up for
the summer, or travel up on occasional or regular visits? Did they dine more often at
home or at the Clubhouse? Were certain areas or activities reserved for men only?
Possibly the only source for answers to these queries will be the private papers of family
members; they may yet be resolved.
After the Flood
Attitudes toward the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club and its members immediately
following the flood were varied. Certainly anger was the most prevalent. And yet the
Tribune reported a slightly different reaction on the part of the local farmers to the
breaking of the dam and the subsequent abandonment of the place as a summer resort:
. . . they feel very blue. From three to four hundred
people annually spent from three to four months at the
Lake -- some in the cottages and others at the Club House -
- and the provisions for the maintenance of all these were
obtained from the farmers of the immediate neighborhood,
who obtained the highest prices for everything. Beside this
ready and convenient market for the products of their
fields, the presence of the resort made property very
valuable in all the region round about. It is a pretty even
divide on the part of the farmers about the Lake in the
matter of sympathy for the Johnstown sufferers and regret
at their own misfortunes in being deprived of most of their
The Club's members assumed some involvement in the Flood Relief effort, however
46 The random receipts that survive are mostly for beef and sugar, and cannot be thought to be representative
of the typical club diet. They are located in the Johnstown Flood Museum Archives,
47 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 29 July 1889.
limited. Of the Club's 60 members, 35 and their companies are listed as contributors to
the various relief funds that were established throughout Pennsylvania. These
contributions ranged from $15 to $5,000, with Carnegie and Frick giving the greatest
amounts. In addition, at least four of the members actually served on the Citizen's Relief
Committee of Pittsburgh: Reuben Miller, H. C. Frick, Henry Phipps, and S. S. Marvin.
Miller and Marvin, in particular, worked tirelessly, Marvin as chairman of the
subcommittee on supplies and Miller as manager of the entire committee. The two were
also appointed by the governor to the Flood Relief Commission, the Pittsburgh committee
concentrating its efforts at Johnstown. 48
Nonetheless, the members were the target of lawsuits, prompting a "collective reticence"
that, to a certain extent, has persisted to this day. Elias Unger, singled out because of his
Cambria County residence, was threatened with three suits and the Club with several
more. Jacob J. Strayer, a Johnstown lumber dealer, initiated a $70,000 suit against the
Club and another against Unger. Another unnamed suit named Unger as well. Strayer's
suit prompted yet another against the Club by a consortium of merchants. The Strayer
case never came to trial due primarily to the Club's insolvency and Strayer's own
eventual bankruptcy. No other lawsuits were successful either. 49
48 Rayburn, 55-60, citing Johnstown Flood: Report of the Citizen's Relief Committee of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh: 1890)
and Re-port of the Secretary of the Flood Relief Commission Appointed to Distribute the Funds Contributed for the
Relief of Sufferers in Pennsylvania, by the Flood of May 31st, and June 1st, 1889 (Harrisburg: 1890). Frank
Connelly and George C. Jenks, writing in 1889, added the name of Robert Pitcairn, who they say initiated
the idea of a Pittsburgh Relief Committee. They go on to provide a detailed 19-page account of the relief
effort. Connelly and Jenks, 130-149. It should be noted, however, that this is one of the flood histories
whose veracity is generally held to be in question.
49 Rayburn, 64-65. The subject of law suits is covered extensively in several other sources. McCullough, 238-
268, devotes 30 pages to the reactions of the survivors and the club members and the trail of lawsuits.
Shappee, 412-416, details the suits. The most sympathetic (to the Club) contemporaneous account came from
Connelly anr 1 Jenks:
The officers of the club were all so deeply shocked by the catastrophe,
and so earnest in their efforts to help the sufferers, that they had not the
heart to think of their club's future.There were suits against the club for
damages, but, notwithstanding the fact that a coroner's jury gave a
verdict on a flood victim placing the blame upon the club, none of them
were [sic] decided adversely to the corporation. This is at it should have
been. The club owners were in no manner responsible for the disaster,
and any or all of them would have gladly parted with their millions
could it have been averted. 49-50.
An attempt to locate the litigation files for these suits, defended by Knox and Reed (now Reed Smith Shaw
The Club's facilities were apparently pressed into service by mid summer 1889 to house
flood survivors. The Tribune reported on 29 July 1889 that "the Johnstown colony at South
Fork is growing." This article and another on 28 August identified which families were
occupying which Club members' cottages:
James McMillan (the plumber)
John W. Wonders.
Capt. W. B. Kellar.
D. J. Duncan. .
B. F. Watkins.
John T. Rowley.
A. N. Hart. .
J. M. Cooper. .
F. S. Deckert. .
Frank C. Hoerle (?).
Gen. Max K. Moorehead [sic] Cottage
Charles J. Clark [sic] Cottage
Durbin Home Cottage
Walter McClintock Cottage
P. C. Knox Cottage
Henry Holdship Cottage
Colonel Lawrence Cottage
Mrs. Hussey Cottage
Jesse H. Lippencott Cottage
Undetermined Cottage 50
In describing the Club facilities, the 29 July article is surprisingly brief, given the general
hunger for information about the Club and the Victorian propensity for tremendously
detailed description in newspaper stories:
The cottages are elegantly furnished ~ just as the owners
left them -- and the occupants are given the free range of
the premises and the use of everything. A glimpse at the
interior of one of these luxurious summer homes gives one
an idea of the regal style in which the occupants lived.
There, too, in their pretty houses on the brink of the lake
are the boats of various kinds that so often bore out upon
the smooth waters the dainty ladies and their escorts and
& McClay) discovered that the records were destroyed when the firm moved into the Union Trust Building
in Pittsburgh in 1917.
Johnstown Daily Tribune, 29 July and 28 August 1889.
the happy children. Electric boats, steam boats, sail boats,
and row boats — all are there, but grass grows where the
water was, and the cattle and sheep graze there. It is a
strange and bewildering web of thought one weaves, as
from the wide porch of a cottage he gazes out upon the
scene before him. 5:
The 28 August article added that "a number of the families will remain at the cottages
during the winter." One other report, dated 31 August 1889, suggested the development
of a community atmosphere, indicating that the "Cottagers at South Fork" had
complained of disturbances by "gangs of noisy beer drinkers" and had decided to keep
the gates closed the following day. 52 Little else is known, however, about this period of
As the Tribune's interest in flood relief began to diminish, the paper switched its focus
to the Club's future plans. As early as 20 August 1889, the paper cited a piece in the
Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, headlined, "It Would Only be a Little One, but Will They
Dare to Do It?":
The general impression that the South Fork Dam would
never be rebuilt appears to be erroneous, as there is a
strong probability that a fishing lake will again be
established in that locality. A manager of the fishing ( ) of
that name said yesterday that the belief that South Fork
had been abandoned as a club resort was a mistake. The
club, he said, could not afford to lose all the money it had
invested in real estate in that locality.
The property was worth fully $200,000, and if the fishing
resort was not re-established the whole investment would
51 Ibid., 29 July 1889.
52 Ibid., 31 August 1889.
Only one of these post-flood occupants has been tracked further; Dr. Joshua M. Cooper moved to
Meadville after the flood, to Pittsburgh in 1895, and back to Johnstown in 1896, according to the Biographical
and Portrait Cyclopedia of Cambria County Pennsylvania (Union Publishing, 1896.) This could suggest that this
period of occupancy might have been brief for others as well.
became [sic] almost a (total loss). The intention, however,
was not ( ) dam of the size of the one (destroyed) but
one which would make the lake ( ) size, so that in the
event of the dam giving way no destruction to ( )
property would follow. 54
The article goes on to suggest that rebuilding would proceed after the damage suit was
The Pittsburgh Leader later that same day published a strong rebuttal to the story after
conversations with a half dozen of the most prominent members of the Club:
They stated in the most emphatic manner that all such talk
was the merest bosh, and that they very much doubted if
any member of the Club had ever thought of such a thing,
let alone given such a story to a reporter. One gentleman,
who would not allow his name to be used for reasons of
his own, said: "It has never even been hinted by the
members of the South Fork Club that the dam would be
rebuilt. It is true the members still own the property at
South Fork, but you can publish as a fact that the Club will
never have a lake there again, no matter what use we may
make of the property." 55
With this issue apparently resolved, the rumors quickly turned in a new direction,
suggesting that the Club membership would seek to develop a new facility in a different
location. Less than a week after the Leader article, the Tribune reported that "it is now
about definitely settled that the South Fork Club wih have its resort in Michigan
hereafter." Tracking the activities of the Club in an almost sleuthlike manner, the
Pittsburgh Times had ascertained that,
54 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 20 August 1889. The areas in parentheses are illegible or presumed, as the copy
of the paper that was microfilmed was in deteriorated condition.
Pittsburgh Leader, 20 August 1889, as quoted in the Johnstown Daily Tribune, 21 August 1889.
Colonel Unger and two other members of the Club have
been at Petoskey lately, where they have obtained the
refusal of eight hundred acres of ground facing on Little
Traverse Bay, on Lake Michigan. This information was
furnished by a citizen of Harbor Springs. It is certain that
Colonel Unger was registered at the Arlington Hotel in
The ground for which a refusal has been obtained is
located at the head of the bay, which is five miles long and
lies between Harbor Springs and Petoskey. The latter place
is a great summer resort, it being made up principally of
cottages, occupied by camp-meeters. Fish is plentiful in the
streams and game in the woods. Numerous fishing clubs
from Pittsburgh have often spent their vacation not far
from Petoskey, up on the Straits of Mackinac.
The new resort of the Club can be reached both by boat
and rail. From Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago steamers
sail to this point through the lakes, and it can be easily
reached by rail, the Hint and Pere Marquette Road running
through it from Reed City.
An effort was made to see some members of the Club last
night in regard to what improvements would be made in
the event of the eight hundred acres being bought, but they
could not be found. This is the first information given out
with any degree of plausibility about the new resort that
everybody supposed the Club would establish. S6
As plausible as that information might have been, yet another rumor was published in
the Tribune less than a month later, suggesting that a party of Pittsburghers had secured
the services of a civil engineer, Col. Camp, to survey Lake LeBouf and its surroundings,
near Waterford in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Acknowledging that the story was still just
a rumor, it nonetheless suggested that it was the South Fork Club that was "after the
lake," and that the Club planned improvements "similar to those made at the fatal South
Fork Lake.'' 57 The very next morning, the Commercial Gazette refuted the story, saying that
56 Pittsburgh Times, as quoted in the Johnstown Daily Tribune, 27 August 1889.
57 Johnstown Daily Tribune, 19 September 1889.
P. C. Knox had "denied emphatically that the Club had any intention of buying Lake Le
Bouf or any other lake, or that they would build another summer resort." 58 Here ended
the speculation about further resorts.
Disposition of the Club Property
The de-acquisition of the South Fork Club property occurred over a protracted period of
over twelve years, as revealed by the deed records. Several documents refer to a
mortgage foreclosure on 9 September 1891, although this search could not locate the
actual paperwork. According to a subsequent deed, however, nine bondholders were of
record at the time of the foreclosure:
Charles J. Clark [sic]
C. C. Hussey
John A. Harper
Honorable J. H. Reed
Miss Ann Peterson
Women's Industrial Exchange of of Pittsburg and Allegheny City
James S. McCord of Philadelphia 59
The nine parcels that constituted the entire Club property were transferred by Sheriff to
a Trustee, E. B. Alsip [sic], the transfer being recorded on 26 June 1901. 60 Alsop was an
attorney and also an apparent friend of the members, as his name appears in the Guest
Register on 5 July 1882. Just what the legal terms of this transfer were is unclear. Over
58 Reported in the Johnstown Daily Tribune, 20 September 1889.
59 Cambria County Deed Book, 147: 624-631.
60 Ibid., 137: 61-66.
the next 1 8 months or so, members of the Club and their heirs deeded their interests in
the land to E. B. Alsop; such deeds were found from Charles J. Clark's [sic] Executors,
The Women's Industrial Exchange, and Harriet A. Hussey et al. 61 It might be concluded
that these groups represented land leaseholders who were transferring all rights in the
property to a single entity to clear the title in anticipation of a sale.
Indeed, a sale did occur on 17 February 1903. The nine parcels were deeded to George
M. Harshberger. In a separate deed of the same day, Alsop transferred 49 acres plus "a
number of cottages, houses, etc.," "saving, excepting and reserving therefrom all right,
title, and interest which may inhere to any and all lots upon which cottages or other
buildings have been erected by virtue of leases or permits to build given by the South
Fork Fishing and Hunting Club to members thereof." 62
Almost a year to the day later, the Tribune carried an announcement of the disposition
of the Club's furnishings:
The South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club [sic], owners of
the Conemaugh Reservoir at the time of the Great Flood in
1889, will pass out of history as an organization with the
sale of all its personal effects remaining in the club house
at the reservoir site. Auctioneer George M. Harshberger
has announced that the sale will take place on Thursday,
the 25th inst, at the clubhouse, when the entire furnishings
of the house will be disposed of at auction.
In the list to be disposed of are fifty bedroom suites, many
yards of carpet, silverware and tableware with the club
monogram engraved thereon, many odd pieces of furniture
and bric-a-brac. At the time of the Great Flood, the
clubhouse was handsomely furnished and fully equipped
to care for at least 200 guests. During the summer of 1889
the clubhouse remained open, but has been since occupied
61 Ibid., 155: 119-120, 147: 620-622, and 152: 302. An additional deed of the same time period was recorded
from Maria Holdship et al to C. F. Holdship.
62 Ibid., 147: 624-631 and 152: 303. The meaning of the second deed is not clear.
only by a caretaker, and now the real estate and clubhouse,
together with a number of the cottages, having been sold
to a syndicate of Cambria County persons, the club's
Trustee, E. B. Alsop, of Pittsburg, has ordered all the
personal effects disposed of. The present owners have not
determined what disposition will be made of the surface
and buildings, the coal rights having been disposed of
some time since to the Stineman coal interests.
Persons who attend the sale will be served with hot lunch
and coffee, and the South Fork Branch trains will stop at
the clubhouse. Doubtless many persons will be attracted
to the sale by the possibility of securing momentoes of the
famous reservoir and the organization, which, while
building for the purposes of pleasure, wrought the
destruction of Johnstown. 63
Subsequent Ownership of the Cottages and Clubhouse
The Maryland Coal Company bought 31 acres of the South Fork property in 1907, sank
Maryland Shaft No. 1, and established the town of St. Michael, with the Moorhead and
Brown Cottages serving as two of the company houses for employees. The company laid
out additional lots and built additional company houses and other facilities, most of
which survive today. At the same time, John Sechler bought 30 acres, including the
Clubhouse, and laid out a plan of building lots for additional development. He
continued operation of the Clubhouse as a hotel. For 48 years, the cottages remained
under company ownership, with numerous alterations being made over the years. The
Clubhouse has continued in operation as a hotel and/or rooming house with a bar and
restaurant from 1907 until the present. 64
]ohnstown Weekly Tribune, 19 February 1904.
"See the Wertz Plan of 1907 and the Sechler Plan of Lots, 1907, which shows 208 lots east of the Clubhouse
on former lakebed land, both included in Appendix B.5.
II. C CHRONOLOGY OF OWNERSHIP AND USE
The cottages, Clubhouse, and Clubhouse Annex of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting
Club have undergone a number of changes in ownership and occupancy over their 100-
plus year history. The sequence of owners of each building is included in Appendix
A3., Property Transactions.
Because the Moorhead and Brown Cottages were occupied for much of their history by
tenants, and it was the tenants who made many of the changes, the occupancy rather
than the ownership will be addressed here. The chronology of occupancy for the
cottages covers five major periods:
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Era 1881-1889
The Flood Survivor or "Johnstown Colony" Era 1889-C.1907
The Mining Company Era 1907-1955
The Private Ownership Era 1955-1985
The Historical Preservation Society Era 1985-present
The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Era, 1881-1889
The period of occupancy by the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was ironically
both the most significant and the shortest. After the Club was established in 1879, it was
at least two years before any significant improvements were made to the property
sufficient to accommodate guests. Only in July of 1881 did the Guest Register come into
use. The Moorhead Cottage is believed to have been one of the earlier cottages, perhaps
one of the seven completed by 1883. The Brown Cottage was not built until 1888 and
was apparently occupied by the Brown Family for only one season. 1 Presumably, the
houses were maintained as built during this brief period, although some sources refer
vaguely to improvements c.1887.
The Flood Survivor or "Johnstown Colony" Era, 1889-C.1907
Immediately following the Flood, it is generally believed that the Club members
abandoned their cottages. As early as July of 1889, if the Johnstown Tribune is correct,
survivors of the Flood moved into the furnished houses of Max K. Moorhead, Charles
J. Clarke, Durbin Home, Walter McClintock, P.C. Knox, Henry Holdship, Colonel
Lawrence, Mrs. Hussey, and Jesse H. Lippencott. 2 No documentation survives to indicate
just how long this period of occupancy lasted, although the Tribune predicted that the
"cottagers" or "Johnstown Colony" would remain during that winter. No evidence
survives to suggest who might have occupied the cottages between the end of 1889 and
1907, when they were purchased by the Maryland Coal Company for employee housing.
The Mining Company Era, 1907-1955
After 26 years under Maryland Coal ownership, the cottages were transferred by deed
to Wilmore Coal Company (1933) and the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company (1955),
before passing to individual ownership, also in 1955. During the 48 years of coal
company ownership, the houses were occupied by a series of families as tenants. 3 Several
^or a documented discussion of the sequential development of the Club site, see Section II. B v Historical
Johnstown Tribune, 29 July 1889 and 28 August 1889.
3 A copy of a Berwind-White Coal Mining Company expenditure request dated 14 September 1915 lists the
rental rates for six cottages, "B" through "G", which were being used as duplexes. It is not known which
cottages these were. The documents also refers to ten units in the "old barn" and one in the "old hospital."
members of those families have been located and interviewed to determine the condition
and changes of that period, some of which were made by the company and some of
which were made by the tenants themselves. 4
The Moorhead Cottage was apparently maintained as a single family dwelling until the
early 1930s, while the Brown Cottage was converted to a duplex as early as 1921.
Additional evidence of the date of the conversion survives in the form of an expenditure
request form, dated 29 November 1921, for "labor and material necessary to rebuild four
(4) cottages, changing same from single to double dwelling." 5 Toward the end of this
period, c.1945, Berwind-White established a practice of supplying materials for
improvements to be performed with the tenants' own labor. Major alterations to the
Moorhead Cottage during this 1907-1955 period included shortening of the tower roof,
removal of a substantial portion of the porch, creation of a kitchen in the southwest
room, enclosing of the main stair, excavation of the basement, installation of the second
floor bath, and enclosing of the back porch, all completed during the 1930s. The Brown
Cottage apparently underwent three phases of renovation during this period. Alterations
to the north side during the 1920s included excavation of the basement, installation of hot
air heat (to be replaced by hot water two or three years later), and installation of the
second floor bath. Changes to the south side during the 1930s included installation of
the first floor bath in a former closet and finishing of the third floor west bedroom. In
the mid to late 1940s, the north side underwent additional renovations, including poured
concrete in the basement and a large furnace relocated from a hotel. (Some suspect that
it might have come from the Clubhouse, although no evidence supports this.) In
addition, the Brown Cottage was equipped with a new rear kitchen prior to 1946.
interviews with Evelyn Miller Brunberg, Mrs. Ray Hayman, Pat Patterson Knudsen, Mr. and Mrs. Harry
Patterson, Jr. (Opal Miller), Lynn Singer Slanoc, and Woodrow Wingard, October/ November 1992. Their
observations are detailed in the Architectural Data Section.
s Maryland Coal Company of Pennsylvania, expenditure request form, dated 29 November 1921, in possession
of Frank Kozar.
The Private Ownership Era, 1955-1985
The change in ownership in 1955 from Berwind-White to private individuals did not
immediately affect the occupancy of the cottages. The Pattersons, who purchased the
Moorhead Cottage, had already occupied it for over 20 years. The Singers, who
purchased the Brown Cottage, had occupied it for 25 years. In the case of the Pattersons,
the family continued to occupy the north side and rented the south side to tenants. The
Singers, on the other hand, moved shortly thereafter (c.1957) from the south side to the
north side and allowed the south side to remain essentially vacant for the ensuing 24
years, with the exception of the second floor bedrooms, which they used for guest
overflow, after opening the second floor connecting doorway to provide access. Changes
during this era are primarily limited to kitchen and bath fixtures and cosmetic changes,
such as the installation of plywood paneling and aluminum siding. Since the Patterson
and Singer occupancies, the cottages have continued to be somewhat altered and allowed
to deteriorate significantly.
The Historical Preservation Society Era, 1985-present
With the acquisition of the cottages by the 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club
Historical Preservation Society in 1985 (Brown) and 1986 (Moorhead), their future
stabilization and security is presumably assured.
More specifically, the occupancy periods for the cottages are outlined below:
c.1881-1889 Max K. Moorhead Family c.1881-1889 Max K. Moorhead Family
1889- James McMillan(plumber) 1889- James McMillan(plumber)
- Tenants undetermined - Tenants undetermined
-1926 Joe Mattis -1926 Joe Mattis
1926-1931 Wingard Family
1931-C.1950 Tenants undetermined
c.1950-1955 Walter Singer Family
1955-1986 Occupants undetermined
1926-1931 Wingard Family
c.1932-1965 Harry Patterson Family
C.1965-C.1970 Richard Walters Family
c. 1970-1986 Occupants undetermined
c.l 888-1 889 James W. Brown Family
Clarence Singer Family
Vacant (except 2nd floor
James W. Brown Family
George Miller Family
Ray Hayman Family
Clarence Singer Family
The Clubhouse chronology is easier to follow. It is believed that the building plus thirty
acres was purchased from George M. Wertz, who had owned the entire Club property,
by John L. Sechler, who held it until 1920, when he lost it at Sheriff's sale. Sechler is
generally thought to have operated a hotel there. 1 It is not known who his patrons were.
During the subsequent Cruikshank ownership, from 1921 to 1950, the hotel continued in
operation. Some of the guests were transient, but the hotel also accommodated some
permanent residents, including the Cruikshank family. It was during this period of
ownership that the old section of the Clubhouse was removed, probably in the 1930s, and
the multi-room suites were created on the upper floors.
The Clement Hotel was operated under the ownership of Albert and Lucy Clement from
1950 to 1958. Since that time, it is believed that it has operated primarily as a rooming
house and restaurant/ lounge. During the post-1950 period, the substantial changes to
the first floor were made. Subsequently, the property has been allowed to deteriorate.
6 An historic photograph of this era shows a sign in the front window reading "Hotel Office." In addition,
the Fowler bird's-eye view of South Fork shows a Sechler Hotel and, although it is in another location, it is
probable that a Sechler Hotel existed und was just not placed properly on the view, as the Fowler maps are
not entirely accurate graphically.
CLUB SITE PLAN
III. ARCHITECTURAL INFORMATION
III.A CLUB SITE
Based upon research conducted for this report, including the analysis of maps and
historic photographs, it is believed that the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club in 1889
had a total of fourteen cottages in addition to the Clubhouse and Clubhouse Annex. 1
Ten cottages were constructed along the lakeshore to the south of the Clubhouse and
four additional cottages were built to the north of the Annex. Clear views of the
Clubhouse and ten cottages to the north are visible in the Clarke photographs. In the
Clarke photograph of a farmer gathering hay along the lakeshore, what are believed to
be the three northern most cottages are visible in the background along the shore across
the lake. The third cottage to the right in the photographs resembles the present house
in the location.
In addition to the sixteen buildings, at least four boathouse structures were constructed
along the lakeshore, as well as a boardwalk, steps, and bridges which extended from the
Clubhouse to the last cottage to the south. Boathouses are visible along the lakeshore
in front of several of the cottages and the Clubhouse. Additional boathouses appear in
the Clarke photographs, although their locations relative to the Clubhouse have not been
determined. Paths and wooden walkways connected the boathouses and numerous
wooden docks with the main boardwalk. A road led from the dam to the rear of the
Clubhouse and continued behind the ten cottages to the south. No photographic
evidence remains of the road behind the buildings, although it appears in early 1900s
maps and it is recalled by the local residents. 2 The Clarke photograph of the Moorhead
Cottage indicates a wooden ramp behind the cottage which possibly connected the
1 See Appendix B.5. for map analysis. The photographs are included in this section and in Appendix A.l.
Interviews with Mrs. Ray Hayman, 10 November 1992 and Lynn Singer Slanoc, 5 November 1992.
cottage to the road. Physical evidence suggests that a ramp may have once existed at the
Brown Cottage as well. 3
For the purposes of this study, the cottages have been identified with the numbers 1
through 14, beginning at the southern end of the property and moving north. Although
one current resident recalls seeing a photograph showing two cottages to the south of
Cottage No. 2, and several maps have identifed a property plot at that location, no
conclusive documentation or physical evidence has been discovered to confirm the
existence of a cottage in this location. 4
Of the original sixteen buildings along the lake, the Clubhouse, Clubhouse Annex, and
seven cottages remain today. Following is a brief description of the sixteen buildings.
In cases where the cottages have been removed, there is a description of the building
based upon historic photographs and of the remaining site.
Cottage No. 1 This cottage appears on the Wertz map of 1907, and a few stone
steps and foundation stones are visible on the vacant land to the
south of existing Cottage No. 2, referred to as the Suydam Cottage.
The cottage is captured in several of the Clarke photos, including
a closeup of the building taken from the northeast which shows
the building as being in the Queen Anne style. The most dramatic
feature of the cottage was a tall, slender hexangonal tower at the
northeast corner. This house would have occupied the highest
land upon which a cottage was built for the Club.
3 See Brown Cottage Existing Condition and Evidence Narrative.
4 Interview with Mrs. Cummings, current owner of Cottage No. 2.
Cottage No. 2
Referred to today as the Suydam Cottage and shown in the
Clarke photos and on the Wertz map, this was the most
dramatic of the Shingle Style cottages. An enormous porch
wrapped three sides of the building under a broad hipped roof
that covered both the house and the porches. A tall gable
protruded from the east slope of the roof facing the lake. Today
the porches have been enclosed with siding and modern
windows, but the detailing of the original house is still visible
in the eastern gable. Like Cottages No. 3 and No. 4, the building
has been converted into a side-by-side duplex. Although the
interior has been substantially altered, the original entry hall of
the cottage with stairway, beamed ceiling, and ornamented
fireplace with a unique stained glass window in the chimney,
visible in one of the Clarke photographs, remains remarkably intact,
although the window and ceiling have been removed and the
staircase altered. 5
Cottage No. 3
This is the Moorhead Cottage which is the subject of this study.
A full description of the cottage can be read in the appropriate
sections of this report.
Cottage No. 4
This cottage has formerly been referred to as the Knox Cottage,
as it was believed to have belonged to Philander Knox.
However, research conducted for this report has discovered that
the cottage belonged to the James W. Brown family. 6 This
5 Visit and interview courtesy Mrs. Cummings, current owner of cottage.
6 Interview with Alice Reed Tucker, 8 August 1992.
cottage is also the subject of this study and further descriptions
of it are available in this report.
Cottage No. 5
This cottage was demolished after 1920 7 and the site is
currently occupied by a modern ranch style house. The Clarke
photographs show a restrained building with a hipped roof and
a two-story porch facing the lake. To the north of this house
was the inlet for two streams which remain today. In front of
the house stood a multiple bay boat house on the lake.
Cottage No. 6
Although the existing house resembles the Mining Company
houses in St. Michael, this is believed to be the original Cottage
No. 6. This cottage has been extensively made over with half
timber exterior treatment on the upper floors, although the
overall size and proportions and hipped roof of the building
attest to the fact that the shell of the structure is the original
Cottage No. 6.
Cottage No. 7
This was demolished sometime between the early 1920s, when
it appeared on a Maryland Coal Company map, and 1955, when
a survey was prepared by the Berwind-White Coal Mining
Company. A stone church currently occupies the site. As
shown on the Clarke photos this was a square house with a
hipped roof and a one-story porch wrapping three sides of the
building. Its most interesting architectural feature was an open
cupola at the peak of the hipped roof with fanciful Stick Style
7 The house appeared on the 1920 Maryland Coal Company Maps.
Cottage No. 8
This cottage was apparently demolished prior to 1907 because it
does not appear on either the Wertz or the Sechler maps. As
shown on the Clarke photographs, it is a Stick Style building
with a "widow's walk" at the peek of a hipped roof and a front
gable at the southern end of the east facade facing the lake. A
one-story porch extended on the eastern side and partially
around the northern and southern sides. This site is currently
occupied by the same modern stone church as Cottage No. 7.
Cottage No. 9
This cottage appears not only in the two Clarke lakeside
panoramas, but also in a photograph which shows it in detail
along with Cottage No. 8. This cottage retains much of its
original form but has lost a significant amount of the original
historic trim including the ornament at the barge boards on the
front gable and the extended porches to the north and south.
The building has been sided with aluminum.
Cottage No. 10
This cottage is faintly visible in the two lakeside panoramas in
the Clarke photograph collection. What is believed to be the
porch of the cottage appears in at least one other photograph. It
retains much of its original character and is currently the home
of the president of the 1889 South Fork Historical Preservation
Society. Modest one story additions have been made to the
rear of the building and do not detract from the overall historic
quality of the cottage. The current front porch railing was
installed just prior to the discovery of the Clarke photographs. 8
Local oral tradition refers to this as the Mellon Cottage, but
Mellon is not on the list compiled for this report of suspected
8 Interview with Mr. and Mrs.Walter Costlow.
Clubhouse This building is the subject of this report and further
description of it is included in the appropriate sections.
Clubhouse Annex The exterior of this building is the subject of this report and
further description of it can be seen in the appropriate sections.
Cottage No. 11 There is no photographic evidence for Cottage No. 11.
However, examination of the massing, proportions and
detailing of the Queen Anne style house north of the
Clubhouse Annex strongly suggests that this building is an
Cottages No. 12 &13 The houses which currently sit on the sites of Cottages No. 12
and No. 13 were constructed by the mining company following
the demise of the Club, as is apparent in their massing,
proportions, and construction materials. The current
placement of the houses on the sites does not correspond with
the location of the original cottages visible on the early maps. 9
Photographic evidence for Cottages No. 12 through No. 14 is
limited to the photograph of the farmer harvesting hay taken from
the eastern lake shore. Cottages No. 12 and No. 13 appear to be
of similar size to the extant Cottage No. 14 but appear to have
cross gable roofs. A boathouse is evident between No. 13 and No.
14. The existence of the trio of cottages is confirmed by three of
the very small markings on the 1890 Cambria County Atlas
showing this area and by the more detailed site plans of the
buildings on both the Wertz and the Sechler maps.
Map Analysis. See Appendix B.5.
Cottage No. 14 The overall view of Cottage No. 14 from the exterior today,
including foundation detailing, overall form and massing, and
other exterior details, resembles that of the cottage in the Clarke
CS DESIGN t
C H I T E
• — <
■ — <
es No. 6,
Photo E-l South elevation of Cottage No. 3 (Moorhead).
Photo E-2 East elevation of Cottage No. 2.
Photo E-3 Looking south past the heavily remodeled Cottage No. 6 in the foreground,
and the site of Cottage No. 5, to Cottages Nos. 4, 3, and 2 in the
Photo E-4 Looking north past Cottage No. 6 in the foreground to the church on the
site of Cottages No. 7 and 8. Cottage No. 9 is partially visible to the right of
Photo E-5 View looking southwest towards Cottage No. 9.
Photo E-6 View looking southwest towards Cottage No. 10.
I loto E-7 View looking northwest towards Cottage No. 1 1 . A Mining Company Era
house is in the background.
i )to E-8 View looking northwest towards Cottage No. 14.
The existing Clubhouse building is a three story L-shaped frame structure with a hipped
roof and a wide covered front porch which sits on a large gently sloping site. A bay
window projects into the porch at the north east corner of the first floor, near the current
entrance to the building. A pent roof wraps the perimeter of the building between the
second and third floors, except at the south elevation, and provides visual interest on the
main facades. Two modest one story frame additions fill the southwest corner of the
The Clubhouse is visible in four of the Clarke photographs and one pre-1920s photograph
(Photos H-2, H-4, H-5, H-6, and H-21). Two of the Clarke photographs are taken from
similar points southeast of Cottage No. 6 and offer small glimpses of the Clubhouse north
of the string of cottages along the lakeshore. One of these photographs predates the
construction of Cottage No. 8. Close examination of this photograph reveals that the
higher roofline of the three story Clubhouse is not visible beyond the two story section
as it is in the other, later, photograph. The earlier photograph, which appears to have
been taken late in winter or early in spring, provides a view through the bare trees to the
south elevation of the Clubhouse and suggests that two story cross gabled wing existed
to the rear of the south wing of the Clubhouse.
The original Clubhouse building was composed of two adjoining structures, the building
which remains today and a smaller 2-1 /2 story frame structure to the east. The buildings
shared a continuous wide front porch on the eastern lakefront elevation. The 2-1 /2 story
southern wing is presumed to have been the original clubhouse structure. The eastern
wing was demolished in the 1930s 1 and the only evidence which remains of the wing
are the Clarke and early twentieth century photographs of the building. Recent
archaeological surveys have located portions of brick footers, wood posts and post holes
1 Interview with Mrs. Hoffman, 15 November 1992.
of the eastern wing, 2 although the exact dimensions and location of the original wing
could not be determined. The original wing was more residential in character and bears
some resemblance to Cottage No. 9. The photographs depict a two story frame structure
with a wood shingled crossgabled roof with a flagpole at the peak of the front gable, clad
with vertical board and batten siding and featuring nine bays of shuttered windows. The
detailing of both sections of the porch are identical and the scale of the porch would
suggest that it is contemporaneous with the second addition.
There is no record as to what rooms existed in the original wing. Written accounts from
the period referred to the Clubhouse as having "47 well furnished bedrooms, a nicely
furnished office, pool room, a parlor forty feet square, a dining room 40'x60', a well-
furnished kitchen, bakery, cooling rooms, milk room & vegetable room." 3 The statement
must refer to the fully expanded Clubhouse because the current section, by far the larger
of the two, contains 30 guest rooms, leaving 17 for the original section. No rooms in the
extant building meet the dimensions quoted, the largest being 26' x 38.'
The Clarke photographs indicate that a wide boardwalk ran along the eastern front of
the Clubhouse and a row of boathouses stood in front of the building at the water's edge.
A photograph from the collection which was taken from Cottage No. 7 captures the row
of twenty-four boathouses. The archaeological survey of the area yielded no evidence
of the boardwalk. Local lore maintains a two story privy was located to the west of the
rear ell and connected to the Clubhouse with a ramp. 4 A photograph of a freestanding
two story frame outhouse reputed to have stood behind the Clubhouse is mounted above
the fireplace in the dining room. Janet Cruikshank Hoffman and Sewell Oldham,
2 Archaeological Report, Appendix B.2.
3 W. Y. Yoder, Superintendent of Grounds, South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club, Letters to Salem (Ohio) Era,
10 June 1889, quoted in Johnstown Tribune, 25 June 1889.
4 Interview with Mr. Walter Costlow.
however, remember the privy being located behind the Annex. 5 Mrs. Hoffman recalls a
second story lattice balcony located at the west side of the rear ell of the Clubhouse.
Archaeological surveys conducted behind the Clubhouse yielded no evidence of a
structure in the proposed outhouse location. 6 Mrs. Hoffman also recalls a two story
icehouse behind the Clubhouse, although the exact location of the structure could not be
determined. Close examination of the copy of a Clarke photograph belonging to the
Johnstown Flood Museum reveals a wooden protrusion at the rear ell of the building.
Alterations to the siding and window openings at the second floor of the west facade of
the ell provide evidence to support the former existence of a ramp or balcony at that
In the years following the flood, the Clubhouse functioned as a hotel and rooming house.
Although the interior of the first floor has undergone many significant renovations over
the years, the upper floors and exterior of the building remain substantially unchanged.
The building is currently in fair to poor condition. The site has been recently regraded
and covered with pine mulch to provide parking areas.
The building is a wood framed structure with a central double row of steel columns and
support beams resting on a stone foundation and piers. 7 More recent frame additions
have been constructed at the southwest corner. (Photos E-9 through E-12)
5 Interviews with Mrs. Hoffman, 15 November 1992 and Mr. Sewell Oldham, 8 October 1992.
6 Archaeological Report, Appendix B.2.
7 Structural Engineer's Report, Appendix B.3.
The main building is clad with weathered gray 4" bevelled shiplap siding on all facades
except the south. The south wall is clad with 5 1/2" coved shiplap siding circa 1930
which was probably installed when the south wing of the Clubhouse was removed.
Faded painted signage is faintly visible on this elevation.
The one story additions on the western side are both clad with a particle board type of
material with 8" horizonal striations. The two one story additions at the rear of the
building are covered with rolled roofing and shingles.
The windows on all floors on the east and north facades are the original 1/1 wood
double hung sash cased with simple 1" x 5" flat trim. The trim has a beaded edge on the
faces flanking the sash stops. The sash at the second floor on the west facade of the ell
has replaced the original doors. The trim on the two first floor windows below this area
is made of flat 3/4" x 4 1/2" boards without an interior bead, indicating a different
installation. The rear second and third floor windows on the main west facade and the
south facade of the north wing are the original 2/2 wood double hung sash. There are
original paired 1/1 windows on the west facade at the south stair landing. The Clarke
photographs show exterior window shutters at all second and third floor windows on
the east and north facades. Although no shutters remain today, the majority of the
original shutter hinges remain at the window openings. The two 1/1 windows on the
center one story addition are trimmed with the same 1" x 5" beaded edge trim indicating
that this wing may be contemporaneous with the main building. The windows on the
southwest corner addition are post c. 1950s wood fixed single pane.
The principal entry doors include the original pair of four panel double doors with a
transom above at the south stair and the pair immediately south of the northeast bay.
The south stair set is not visible in the historic photograph, although the photograph
indicates a stair leading to the porch in the eighth bay south of the projecting portion
of the porch which corresponds to the location of these doors. The northern set of entry
doors on the east facade is visible in the photograph.
A single transomed door has been added in the north facade in the fourth bay from the
west in the location of the window shown in the Clarke photograph. This door may
have been added during the Sechler ownership era (1907-1920) to provide access to a bar.
A pre -1920 photograph shows this door with the word "BAR" lettered on the transom.
Since that time a flush metal door has been installed in the location and the transom has
been covered up.
The siding has been visibly altered in the fourth bay at the first floor main porch where
it has been pieced in below the current historic plaque indicating the earlier presence of
first a single window and later a door.
At the second floor double window on the west facade of the ell extension, newer infill
boards are installed directly beneath the windows, indicating the earlier location of a
double door in this location. In addition, the ends of cut fioor joists are visible at the
second floor level. This apparently provided the second floor access to the balcony
described by Mrs. Hoffman.
The hipped roof of the main building is currently clad with pale grey asphalt shingles.
The Clarke photographs indicate that the roof was originally clad with wood shingles.
They also show extended rafters upturned at the ends and ornamented with jigsawed
profiles to support a box gutter. The current rafters seem to be foreshortened remnants
of the originals. The rafter ends at the south wall of the rear ell are more simply
detailed. A small cupola with louvered sides and a pyramidal roof rises from the rear
roof at the junction of the main wing and the ell. The roof and ceiling framing where
the cupola enters the attic suggests that the cupola may have served as a ventilation
shaft over the main stairway.
The building presently has no gutter or downspouts. The Clarke photograph shows
what appears to be a box gutter above projecting "Stick Style" outriggers with four closely
spaced round downspouts on the east facade and at least three on the north.
A pent roof wraps the perimeter of the building between the second and third floor
windows, except on the south wall and at the south stair landing windows on the west
wall. The pent roof is currently clad with a contemporary light grey asphalt shingle on
the exposed top and has a boarded soffit. The Cooper photographs indicate that the
pent roof was originally clad with eight courses of wood shingles and was open below
The main roof is pierced by two corbelled brick chimneys which flue two large fireplaces
in the building. Although another brick chimney is visible in the north elevation in the
historic photograph, it is no longer visible above the roof line. A smaller brick chimney
is visible at the roof on the east elevation. A roof hatch is located on the east side of the
main roof. Several pipes protrude from the roof.
The distinctive front porch which wraps the building is a 1992 reconstruction by the 1889
South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society with the aid of the
Clarke photographs. Deteriorated porch flooring, framing, wood posts, lattice and
portions of railing were replaced. Roll roofing has been installed at the porch roof. A
new wood wheelchair ramp constructed in a character similar to the porch has been
installed at the north elevation of the building providing access to the porch. Wood
stairs provide access to the porch at the northern and southern ends. The base of the
porch is enclosed with wood lattice. The porch is currently painted red and cream, colors
derived from the Unger House restoration.
The interior of the building is organized around a central hall which runs north-south
through the building, served by open stairs at either end and a connecting east-west hall
which links the rear ell to the rest. The two interior bearing lines extending north to
south originate at the basement and continue up through the building. This organization
is most apparent in the upper two levels of the building, where the original room layouts
and woodwork remain relatively intact. The first floor has been heavily remodelled and,
with the exception of the large room in the northeast corner of the building currently
used for dining, little of the original plan and few of the original finishes remain.
Access to the basement is provided through a trap door and stair in the south stair hall.
The basement has been partially excavated at the southern end. Stone and brick infill
foundation walls, perimeter stone piers, and central stone piers supporting the central
columns of the building are visible. The excavated portion of the basement houses coal
bins, heating and hot water equipment. Wood frame and concrete block partitions
subdivide the area. Portions of the existing floor are concrete; the remainder is dirt. The
majority of the basement is unexcavated crawl space. It is possible that the Clubhouse,
like the cottages, was originally constructed to rest on piers, rather than a continuous
perimeter foundation, and the basement was excavated during the Mining Company Era
when central heating was installed. Access in the unexcavated crawl space areas of the
basement is constricted, so thorough examination of the foundation in these areas was
The first floor has been significantly altered over the history of the building. The original
floor plan has been modified to accommodate a bar room, modern kitchen, restrooms and
storage area. The significant historic features which remain are the two brick fireplaces,
the two stairs to the upper levels, and the window and door trim in the current dining
room. Although dropped acoustic ceilings and newer wall surfaces have been installed
in most of the rooms, fragments of the original walls and transomed door openings are
still visible in places when the ceiling panels are removed.
The current dining room (Room 109) retains many of the original features of the
Clubhouse, including the massive fireplace, staircase, wood wainscot, and window and
door trim. The brick fireplace which dominates the room is centered in the room and on
the end of the central hallway. The fireplace is faced with ornamental brick and glazed
tile. (Photo E-23 and E-24) The broad main staircase opens into the room and features
carved spindles, a heavy, carved newel post, and panelling. The area beneath the stair
has been enclosed with a panelled wall with a high window and ample doorway with
bevelled wood trim. A smaller cased doorway with a wood and glass "French" door has
been inserted into the opening. The ghosts of a wall which separated the portion of the
room with the fireplace from the section to the west exist at the ceiling and the paneled
south wall. The relation of this former wall to the panelled wall and window beneath
the stair indicates that this wall was nonoriginal and perhaps existed when the door on
the north facade served as an entry to the bar. The wood floor of the dining room is
currently covered with indoor/ outdoor carpeting and sheet vinyl. Removal of the
current floor covering in this area may yield more clues to the original layout and
function of the room.
The area beneath the stair is currently subdivided into a men's rest room (Room 110) and
service closet (Room 112). Wood wainscot matching that in the dining room wraps the
walls of the two rooms. Mrs. Hoffman recalls the area below the stair as containing a
hallway, telephone room, bathroom, and perhaps a closet, possibly for liquor storage
This evidence suggests that the layout of the rooms is original. Removal of the formica
which covers several of the wall surfaces and the current vinyl floor tile may yield
The principal alteration to the dining room has been the removal of the walls between
the room and a smaller room at the southeast corner. The smaller room (Room 108) is
currently defined by a plaster bulkhead with a lowered acoustic tile ceiling. This plaster
bulkhead is, in fact, the upper section of the wall that once existed here. Through an
opening in the west edge of the bulkhead, which is the remaining transom for a door
once below, the original upper walls of this room can be viewed. The wood wainscot
in this area has been added or altered, as it covers the lower half of the windows.
Further, the paint sample from the window trim here indicates four coats of paint,
unlike the other five samples taken from the dining room which all have an original
shellac/ varnish finish followed by a grained finish and later painted layers. This smaller
southeast space seems to be a likely position for a check-in desk and office, but no
physical evidence was uncovered to verify its original use. Its use as such during the
Cruikshank ownership (c. 1921 -1950), however, offers the possibility that the Cruikshanks
were continuing a previous condition. 8
The west wall of the current dining room was a large framed opening with a single,
square wood-clad column located south of center under the hall corridor wall above.
(Photo E-22) The off-centered column and uneven treatment of trim at this opening hint
that major changes have been made in this wall. Mitered cuts and hinge scars in the
wood casing and evidence of a floor lock centered between the southern end of the
opening and the column indicate that these were originally two separate rooms
connected by a pair of doors in this location.
To the west, a large open room (Room 113) forms an extension to the current dining
room; it has walls and a ceiling of heavily textured plaster. The window trim and
8 Interview with Mrs. Hoffman, 15 November 1992.
wainscot on the north wall of this space matches that in the adjoining space. The single
paint chip taken from the window trim shows the same original shellac/ varnish finish,
but the later history of finishes varies from the adjoining room. A raised wood dance
floor covers the original floor, suggesting that the room once served a separate purpose.
The room served as a dining room during the Cruikshank era. 9
The center west one story section forms an almost square room (Room 114) with one set
of paired windows on the west wall, a large cased opening almost the entire length of
the north wall, and a pair of four panel doors with original period trim on the east wall.
A newer set of five horizontal panel doors with original period trim and a large cased
pass-through opening connect this space to the adjoining one story addition on the south.
Preliminary paint analysis of the window trim indicates that this woodwork has the same
history of paint finishes as the room in the main section of the building to the north. 10 It
is possible that this room served as a dining room, as it was linked to the adjoining room
to the north and presumably would have served a similar purpose.
The south entry /stair (Room 101) would once have served as a link between the existing
Clubhouse and the earlier section to the south. Evidence of a possible connection is
visible in a 6'-2" patched section of baseboard on the south wall. Further evidence
probably exists in the framing of the south wall of this space, but since no destructive
testing was conducted in the Clubhouse, no further evidence was uncovered in this
study. A single steel door provides access from the entry hall to the current bar room
to the north. Patched baseboard on either side of the door suggests that a wider opening
once existed in the location. A wall and a set of panelled wood doors separate the entry
from the stair hall (Room 100) with the original wood staircase with carved newel post
and spindles. (Photo E-13) The worn varnish or shellac finish on the stair is presumed
Paint Analysis, Appendix B.l.
to be original." The wall and doors have been added, as evidenced by the continuous
baseboard on both the north and south wall of this space. Two boxed wood beams
enclose the steel beams running north-south across the ceiling of this room. Horizontal
wood beaded board encloses the area below the stair landing.
The current bar area (Room 102) with adjoining bathrooms and storage room to the north
of the stair and entry halls originally formed one large rectangular room which was
centered on the massive brick fireplace visible on the west wall of the storage room.
(Photos E-14 and E-15) The current bar area has a dropped fiberboard ceiling and
modern wainscot paneling. The original steel structural beams and columns are visible
above the dropped ceiling. A sample from one of the front windows indicates that this
woodwork is original, with a first finish of shellac/ varnish. 12 The original period raised
panelled doors which have been installed in the west wall of this room have been
relocated from another place. These doors also have a shellac /varnish finish as their
original finish. This west wall, as well as all of the partitions enclosing the two small
bathrooms, is of modern 2" x 4 " stud construction.
The storage room (Room 106) retains little historic fabric other than the brick fireplace.
(Photo E-16) The fireplace is detailed with glazed tile and ornamental brick and suffers
smoke stains and settlement cracks at the center above the mantel. Limited access
prevented examination of the condition of the area surrounding the firebox. The hearth
has been covered with a layer of concrete. The raised paneled doors to the right of this
fireplace appear to be from the nineteenth century, but their original finish is a dark
graining which is the second finish for woodwork that is original to the building. The
floor has been covered with painted resilient composite boards. The walls have been
resurfaced with particle board and drywall and no original trim remains. Sheets of
plastic cover the existing ceiling. The exposed portion of the existing ceiling which is
11 Paint analysis of the first floor of the building has concluded that woodwork and doors from the original
era of the building were shellaced or varnished.
visible at the fireplace is unplastered and exhibits a double layer of construction. (Photo
E-17) A separate set of smaller joists hold the ceiling lath and plaster, providing sound
insulation between the first floor public rooms and the sleeping rooms above. A paneled
door on the south wall leads to a crudely finished storage room (Room 105) below the
The wall separating the current bar (Room 102) and the kitchen (Room 107) is original
framed construction with wood lath and plaster on both sides. Above the current
dropped ceiling of the kitchen the trim for a double door in this wall is visible, providing
access from this large room to the center first floor north-south hall. The wood trim at
the door opening is early twentieth century and non-original to the building, suggesting
that the wall configuration is original, but that three generations of doors existed in this
location. (Photos E-18 and E-19)
The kitchen area (Room 107) has a lowered acoustical ceiling and marlite wall covering
the upper sections of the original walls. (Photo E-21) The upper portions of original
walls and transomed doorways to the hall are visible above the present dropped ceiling.
The center north-south hall, an extension of the public room to the north, bisected the
current space, creating one room each on the east and west, each accessed by a single
door from the hall. Two paint samples from the upper sections of plaster in this hall
indicate that the plaster was originally unpainted. The floor is covered with at least one
layer of sheet vinyl.
The southern one story extension is crudely divided into two maintenance and service
areas (Rooms 115 and 116). Horizonal beaded board cladding is visible above and to the
east of the doors on the north wall of the eastern room where the current heavy textured
plaster has fallen. This room has a wood framed floor, resting directly on grade and
covered with particle board. Beaded board paneling is visible on portions of the walls.
The evidence suggests that the three newer walls of this room were originally paneled
with beaded board which was subsequently covered with rock lath and heavily textured
plaster. A small piece of the Clubhouse exterior wall with original painted siding is
visible on the east wall, indicating that the room is an addition to the original building.
The western room (Room 116) is separated from the eastern room (Room 115) by a wood
frame partition with a paneled door. The walls and ceiling are partially paneled with
wood beaded board. The floor of the room is dirt. A wide framed opening on the south
wall leads directly outside.
The second and third floors of the building remain relatively unaltered. They follow the
L-shaped plan of the principal three story building with a center hall, running from the
south stair to a set of windows on the north wall, and an intersecting hall, running past
the interior northern stair to the set of windows on the west wall of the western
extension. (Photo E-25)
At the second floor the partition wall and transomed five panel double doors dividing
the south stair (Room 200) from the hall (Room 201) is newer, evidenced by the
continuous baseboard and atypical framing details. It is possible that a connection to the
original section existed through the south wall, evidenced by the patched baseboard on
this wall. The doors are stylistically correct for the period and have an original
varnish /shellac finish. The doors may have been salvaged from the original south wing
of the Clubhouse, or the Annex, which has similar doors stored in the attic.
The rooms on this floor have mainly been altered by the addition of modern veneer
paneling and dropped acoustical ceilings. However, original doors, solid panelled
transoms, window and door casing, and baseboard are intact in almost all locations.
(Photos E-26 and E-27) The majority of the wood transoms have been cut with circular
openings, presumably to provide access for heating pipes or ducts. Patched baseboard
in the demising walls of many of the rooms indicates the presence of earlier connecting
doorways approximately 2' -4" to 3' -7" wide.
The interior north stair has been enclosed with a partition made of 2" x 4" framing,
drywall, and veneer paneling. Historic wood paneling with a raised panel mold is just
visible behind the modern paneling. The historic wood paneling encloses the area
between the first run of the stair to the third floor and separates the stair from the
The room to the west of the north stair is currently a bathroom (Room 213). The room
is entered through a transomed doorway and does not contain a window. The original
purpose of the room is not known. The second room to the north of the south stair on
the west side of the building (Rooms 21 6 A and B) has been converted into a two room
laundry room and bath. Bathrooms exist in the same rooms on the third floor (Room 313
and Rooms 31 6 A and B). According to Mrs. Hoffman, indoor plumbing had been
installed in the building prior to 1920.
The two southernmost rooms on the east side of the building (Rooms 202 and 203) were
converted into a two room suite. A Mission Style cased opening with wood cased
columns and glass built-in cabinets separates the rooms. The opening has been filled in
with drywall and a five panel door. The doorway and a 5'-0" long portion of the wall to
the hall in the southwest corner of the northern room are angled 45° to the southwest.
It is possible that this configuration dates to when the southern wing of the Clubhouse
existed and was connected to the hallway at this location.
The two southwest rooms of the rear ell (Rooms 211 and 212) have been converted into
an apartment with a small kitchen, shower and toilet. A large opening was created in
the demising wall between the rooms. The original door from the westernmost room
to the hall has been closed.
At the western end of the east-west hall the two windows have been foreshortened with
awkwardly patched baseboard and casing. This is the location where the balcony would
have joined the main building.
The third floor is almost identical to the second floor, both in original layout and in the
subsequent alterations. The north stair is open to the hallway and retains its original
balustrade. (Photos E-29 and E-30) Differences on the third floor include the addition of
a drywall clad wall across the west end of the east-west hall (Room 301B) to provide a
private suite of three rooms in this area (Rooms 310, 311, and 312). Mrs. Hoffman dates
this alteration to the 1920s when her father owned the building. The majority of the
original doors and woodwork remain, except in the three rooms and the hallway of the
suite, where the doors and woodwork have been removed. Settlement of the northwest
corner of the building is evident in the deteriorated and cracked plaster of the northwest
room at the end of the east-west hall.(Room 310).
A rectangular opening in the third floor rear wing hallway ceiling and a simple wood
ladder at the wall provide access to the attic. Rough boards laid across the third floor
ceiling joists at the central hall locations provide a walkway through the attic. The areas
between the ceiling joists have been insulated. The roof and third floor ceiling framing
is visible. (Photo E-31 and E-31a)
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Photo E-9 View of east and south elevations.
Photo E-10 View of north and west elevations.
E-l 1 View of east and north elevations.
i> E-l 2 View of west and south elevations.
Photo E-13 First floor south stair (room 100) looking west.
o E-14 East wall of current bar, room 102.
c E-15 West wall of room 102. Although the wall is new, the double doors are
original and have been relocated.
Photo E-16 View of fireplace on west wall of room 106.
E-17 Ceiling of room 106 showing double set of framing.
i-18 View above existing kitchen ceiling of room 107, looking northeast at east
wall of original center hall and door opening.
Photo E-19 View looking southwest above existing ceiling in room 107, showing
original hall wall and upper part of door which once connected room to
west. The door trim with the rose blocks in the south wall is later.
Photo E-20 Looking northwest in room 114 towards window in west wall and newer,
large cased opening in north wall.
to E-21 Existing first floor kitchen in room 107, looking northeast.
I ) E-22 Looking west from room 109 into room 113. The off -centered column was
originally enclosed in a wall dividing these two rooms.
Photo E-23 View of fireplace and chimney on north wall of room 109.
Photo E-24 View of northeast bay window in room 109.
Photo E-25 Second floor hall, looking south. Note railing for
main stair at right of photo.
Photo E-26 Typical second and third floor baseboard and
Photo E-27 Typical door and transom at second and third floor
Photo E-28 View of south stair from third floor looking west.
Photo E-29 View of north (main) stair from third floor looking north.
Photo E-30 Third floor hall and main stair looking east.
Photo E-31 View of roof from attic showing framing for ventilator.
Photo E-31a View of third floor ceiling framing from attic showing framing for
III.C. BROWN COTTAGE
Traditionally referred to as the Knox Cottage by the local community, research conducted
for this report has concluded that Cottage No. 4 was constructed by the Brown family
in 1888. 1
The Brown Cottage is a modest, Stick Style, 2-1/2 story frame structure with a hipped
and gabled roof, wraparound front porch, and a one story rear wing with porches. The
northeast corner of the cottage is angled towards the dam and features a bay window on
the first floor. The cottage is located close to the existing road which services Cottages
No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 on a site which rises steeply to the west. The cottage is currently
divided into side by side duplexes with separate entrances from the front porch.
The cottage is visible in one Clarke photograph (Photo H-l) as well as two Brown family
photographs from the Tucker collection (Photos H-8 and H-9). It was one of the later
buildings to be constructed, as evidenced by its absence from three of the historic views
(Photos H-7, H-10, and H-ll) which show the surrounding cottages all standing. This
is confirmed by a news item in the Johnstown Daily Tribune of 22 March 1888 announcing
that Bid well, Rankin, and Brown would be building cottages that summer. The
boardwalk which ran in front of the cottages ran immediately in front of the Brown
Cottage. The earth in front of the boardwalk in the photograph taken from the northeast
looks freshly excavated, suggesting that the photograph was taken soon after the cottage
was completed. The two Clarke photographs capture limited /iews of the north and east
elevation of the cottage from the northeast. The two photographs from the Tucker
collection feature family portraits taken near or on the front porch and provide detailed
glimpses of the original porch construction. The exterior of the cottage remains much the
same today as it appears in the photographs.
Interview Alice Reed Tucker, 8 August 1992 and Johnstown Daily Tribune, 22 March 1988.
The cottage became the property of the Maryland Coal Company in 1907 and was
converted to a side by side duplex by 1921. Subsequent owners maintained the building
as a duplex, continuing to update the northern unit, while allowing the southern unit to
remain essentially unaltered from the 1930s. 2 The last tenant moved out of the northern
unit in c. 1985 when the 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical
Preservation Society purchased the building. The building is currently in poor condition,
with significant deterioration to the southwest foundation and front porch.
The exterior of the building remains much as it appeared originally. (Photos E-32
through E-35) Alterations to the exterior are limited to three window changes, the
addition of a door, relocation of the porch steps, removal of the shutters, and removal
of an eyelid dormer on the east roof slope. Although it has been suggested that the one
story kitchen wing at the rear of the house is a later addition to the house, 3 no physical
evidence exists to support the theory. A small rectangular concrete foundation is located
at the uphill western edge of the site opposite the rear entrance on the west facade.
Local residents recall the concrete foundations for outhouses installed by the mining
The building is a wood framed structure currently supported by a perimeter foundation
and a north-south bearing line in the center of the building. A poured-in-place concrete
foundation has been inserted under the perimeter of the house in the late 1940s 5 except
2 Interviews with Lynn Singer Slanoc and Woodrow Wingard, 5 November 1992 and Evelyn Brunberg, 20
3 Interview with Evelyn Miller Brunberg, 20 October 1992.
4 Interview with Mrs. Cummings, 14 October 1992.
5 Interviews with Lynn Singer Slanoc, and Woodrow Wingard, 5 November 1992.
under the enclosed rear porch which rests on masonry piers. On the south and west
sides of the main house this concrete foundation extends approximately six inches out
from the face of the building with a sloped top. (Photo E-36) At the southwest corner
of the house, a brick and concrete L-shaped gutter wraps the corner of the foundation.
Imbedded in the downhill (east) sides of the foundation (visible from the area beneath
the porch) are 9" round wood posts which may have supported the house when it was
first constructed or perhaps were used as support during the concrete pour. The sill at
the first floor level of the house is a 9"x9" sawn wood timber indicating that the entire
house was designed to be supported on posts or piers. If the house had been designed
to rest on a continuous masonry foundation, the sill would have been a more typical two
inch plate for continuous support. Although the existing poured in place concrete
foundation was not inserted sensitively, it does appear to be supporting the building and
does not show signs of cracking or failure.
The exterior is sheathed in 5-1/2" bevelled wood siding, painted white. In areas where
the current layer of paint is worn, a layer of mustard colored paint is visible, although
preliminary paint analysis indicates that the original finish color was gray. 6 Historic
references of the period refer to "gay bits of color" on the lake 7 which suggests that the
original gray paint was quickly followed by a more vivid color such as the mustard. A
band of vertical boarding runs horizontally around the house at the eave line and at the
base of the gables. The same siding has been used on the mam house as well as the one
story rear ell. The northwest enclosed porch is sided with 5-1 /4" coved siding. Upper
sections of the gables are match board sheathing. The sheathing is in good condition
except for lower boards on the rear southwest sides of the house which are in contact
with the earth and have suffered deterioration.
' Paint Analysis, Appendix B.l.
New York Sun, quoted in Herman Dieck, The Johnstown Flood, Philadelphia: H. Dieck, 1889, 61.
Original one-over-one wood double hung windows with plain 1" x 5" inch trim, painted
blue, exist in almost all locations. Preliminary paint analysis indicates that the trim was
painted the same color as the siding. The Clarke photographs show the sash as white.
The rear (west) elevation has three single paned fixed windows which have replaced
larger openings. The central second floor window shows indications of having been
shortened both above and below; this is the location where the access bridge from the
west would have entered the house. The siding below and above this window has clear
indications of being patched. The second floor window to the north has been shortened
from below. Patched siding indicates that this was originally a full sized window with
its sill just above the roof of the ell. The fixed window on the east facade replaces an
earlier full length window, as evidenced by the pieced siding below the existing window
and by the Clarke photos. Louvered shutters are visible on all of the second floor
windows on the east and north facades in the Clarke photographs and presumably
continued onto the rear facades; the first floor shutters, while not clearly visible in the
photographs, appear to have been panelled. No shutters remain today, although many
of the hinges remain at the window openings.
No original exterior doors survive. The entrance to the north unit on the north facade
is a horizontal five panel wood door with a transom which replaces the original panelled
double entry doors, a glimpse of which is visible in the Brown family portrait on the
porch and which is evidenced in the patched siding to the left of the current door. A
horizontal five panel wood door was inserted on the east facade as well, to provide entry
to the southern unit when the building was converted into duplexes. A wood and glass
half light door exists in the opening in the west elevation at the end of the stair hall. The
construction of this door suggests that it may actually be a four panel interior door in
which the top portion of the door containing the two panels has been replaced with
glass. A double hung window has replaced an earlier door on the south facade of the
ell as evidenced by patched siding below the window sill. A wood screen door and
wood and glass "French door" provide entrance to the enclosed rear porch on the west
The original porch is largely intact. The current conditions are very similar to those
shown in the Clarke photograph and the Tucker photographs. The principal changes
include alterations of the lattice work which enclosed the area beneath the porch to
accommodate additional entry access doors, missing ornamental brackets and relocation
of the stairs to the porch. The only access door to the underside of the porch on the east
and north sides visible in the Clarke photograph was the single door on the angled
corner portion of the porch. The Tucker photographs show a small bracket which
connects each post to the top of the hand rail at each location, of which only a few are
extant. The principal stairs to the porch shown on the Clarke photograph originally rose
to the entry doors facing the center bay on the north facade; an additional set is visible
on the south side at the southeast corner. Both have been removed and a new set has
been installed at the west end of the porch on the north side.
The porch floor structure is in poor condition with significant deterioration and
deflection. Portions of the lattice and trim boards are deteriorated from exposure to the
ground moisture. The porch is supported on piers of yellow construction block. The
ceiling is currently clad with aluminum soffit panels.
The existing roof is covered with rolled roofing material. The roof is believed to have
been originally clad with wood shingles. The eaves of the roof have been fully enclosed.
A small eyelid dormer on the Clarke photograph to the south of the principal front gable
has been removed. Two decorative wood brackets span the eave of the roof at the
second story northeast corner. The corners of the rear porch roof are original but the
structure of the porch roof is hidden by a modern metal soffit. Assuming that the cottage
once had a ramp from the second floor to the rear of the site, and that this structure once
provided a flat deck for the walkway from the west, evidence of this should be obvious
in the porch roof structure when it is dismantled. There are currently no gutters or
downspouts on the building. Although gutters and downspouts originally existed on
many of the cottages, it is not apparent from the photographs whether or not there were
any on the Brown Cottage.
There are two chimneys rising through the main roof of the house and one chimney at
the rear ell. A large unornamented brick chimney on the north slope of the main roof
flues the principal fireplace of the house. It is likely that the top of the chimney may
have once been corbelled, but the chimney is not visible in the historic photographs. The
corbelled brick chimney on the south slope of the main roof is believed to have been
installed during the Mining Company Era to flue stoves on the first floor of the south
unit. The chimney is constructed of yellow brick similar to that found in the houses
constructed by the mining company in St. Michael. The foundation of the chimney is
concrete, reinforcing the idea that the chimney was added to the house.
Although significant alterations occurred when the building was converted into a duplex,
original interior doors, window and door casings, and baseboards remain intact. The
most significant alterations include the introduction of new stairs to serve the north unit
and the creation of demising walls between the two units. The north unit contains a
modern kitchen and bathroom. Steam heat in the form of radiators was introduced into
the north unit in the 1920s by the Millers after the hot air system failed. 8 Radiators are
present in all of the first and second floor rooms of the north unit. The south unit
Interview with Evelyn Miller Brunberg, 20 October 1992.
remains much as it was when the Singers bought the house in 1955 and moved from the
south unit to the north in c. 1957. 9
A. wood access door under the front porch provides entrance to the southern half of the
oasement (Room B01). The southern half of the basement is unexcavated and is probably
ndicative of the conditions under the house when it was originally built with no
casement. The demising wall between the north and south basements is constructed of
l"x8" red construction block. Two yellow construction piers support a large wood beam
•.panning north-south across the center of the house. The northern half was excavated in
he 1920s when central heating was installed in the unit and finished in the 1940s. 10 A
iingle staircase connects the basement to the rear first floor room and an exterior door
)rovides access to the area under the porch. The walls are yellow construction block on
he south and west, poured concrete on the east and north, and a mix of the two at the
vest end of the north wall. The west wall is open to the crawl space below the kitchen.
' 'he floor is concrete. A rubble stone chimney foundation in the center of the basement
: eparates the area into two rooms (Rooms B02 and B03).
' he entry door on the north porch served as the original main entrance to this house.
I )ne enters into a large front corner room (Room 106) with a bracketed bay window and
massive painted stone fireplace and wood mantel. (Photos E-41, E-42, and E-43) The
replace has been sealed closed. Wood wainscot wraps the walls and is original to the
r )om. An enclosed L-shaped stair to the second floor was added in the southeast corner
f the room when the cottage was converted into a duplex prior to 1921. (Photo E-41)
nterview with Lynn Singer Slanoc, 5 November 1992.
The sill of the window in the stair has been raised to accommodate the stair landing. The
south wall of the present staircase originally formed the south wall to this principal entry
room and had an opening to the front room at the southeastern corner of the house
identified by a patch of whiter plaster. The original wood wainscot is visible on the wall
underneath the stair. The walls of the room are painted. A dropped ceiling has been
installed. The floor is currently carpeted, although grained wood flooring is visible
This large corner room served as the entry foyer for the house and was once connected
to the staircase to the west, as well as to the rooms to the south and west. The wide
window and door casings and baseboard in the room match those found in the stair
hallway, and are not found anywhere else in the house. Based on the thorough, but not
exhaustive, destructive testing, no physical evidence survives to suggests the presence
of an original stair in the entry hall space.
A non-original wood cased arched opening to the right of the fireplace connects the entry
hall to the rear northwest room (Room 107). This room has suffered the most alterations
with the addition of a new staircase to the second floor created by the coal company
before 1921." Early ceiling paper and wallpaper used in this room remains visible above
the lowered masonite ceiling installed above the current stair to the basement. The closet
and door opening in the south wall and its casing on both sides is original. The walls
are painted and the floor is currently carpeted. The room is connected to the rear room
with a cased doorway.
The rear room (Room 108) served as the kitchen for the north unit and is equipped with
modern kitchen cabinets and countertops. The room retains original window and door
trim and a brick chimney flue. The window in the south wall replaced the original door
which led to the rear porch, as evidenced by the patched plaster on the interior wall and
the patched siding below the window on the exterior. A large cased opening was
11 Interview with Evelyn Miller Brunberg, 20 October 1992.
zonstructed in the eastern wall of this room by the Singers after 1957 to provide a
zontemporary kitchen counter pass-through. A wood and glass door leads to the
enclosed side porch (Room 109). The beaded board ceiling of the porch roof is visible
above the existing ceiling. Sheet vinyl covers the wood floor, which is deteriorated.
rhe southern unit is entered from the five panel door on the east elevation. This room
it the southeastern corner (Room 105) is largely intact. (Photo E-37) The door to the
porch on the eastern side of this room was added prior to 1921 12 by the coal company to
make this room a living room for the south duplex unit. A double set of large cased
Dpenings between two small rooms separate the front room from the room at the
southwest corner. Portier brackets hang from the casing of the opening. There is a patch
n the west wall south of the cased opening for a former stovepipe opening. A former
doorway which connected the room to the northeast room was discovered by plaster
ests in the north wall. The walls and ceiling are painted. The wood floor is exposed in
Two small rooms (Rooms 101 and 104) are contained between the double set of cased
jpenings separating the southeast room from the southwest room. (Photos E-39 and E-
0) Pieces of patched woodwork and sections of alternate wall materials indicate
lumerous minor alterations to this area, but the overall organization of the space is
i 'riginal. The room or closet to the south (Room 104) is open to the living areas and is
lurrently unfinished and contains an electric panel. A wood enclosed, brick lined
I ulkhead in the ceiling served to flue the stove in the southeast room to the chimney and
I le bedroom above. The area to the north is enclosed with drywall.
The southwest room of the first floor (Room 103) served as the kitchen for the unit,
according to Lynn Singer Slanoc. 13 This room is also largely intact, although settlement
has occurred and the eastern wall has experienced water damage. Also, a chimney was
added during the Mining Company Era. (Photo E-38) The walls of the room are papered
with a painted wainscot topped with a wood mold. The wood floor is exposed and
approximately 50% in the south half of the room has been replaced with plywood . A
doorway in the north wall connects the room to the stairhall.
The center staircase and hall (Room 100) is original to the house with an exterior opening ,
at the western end. (Photo E-45) The hallway was originally connected by doorways to
the front northeast room, southwest room and northwest room. The wall in the enclosed
space below the stair is paneled with the same wainscot as the entry room. The door
casings and baseboards match those in the northeast entry room. The floor is covered
with linoleum dating from the mid-twentieth century. An uncased doorway leads to
a storage area (Room 102) underneath the stairs to the second floor of the north unit.
The storage area has been dry walled. Removal of a section of the dry wall provided an if ]
opening for access to the area below the stair of the north unit. Another door leads to j e
a small room (Room 101) containing a toilet installed prior to the late 1940s. 14
The stair in this hall is open to the third floor of the house and appears to be original to i j|
the house. The balustrade of the first run is composed of a wood railing and turned
spindles. At the first landing the turned spindles are replaced with square wood. (Photo •
E-46) The first landing has been altered to include a step, as evidenced by the alteration ■-.
to the original baseboard. The railing makes an awkward transition at the second floor , :;
hall to a wood boarded railing which continues to the third floor hall. (Photo E-47) II ,
would seem possible that this stair once served as a rear service stair to the house
13 Interview with Lynn Singer Slanoc, 20 October 1992.
although no conclusive evidence was discovered to support the existence of another,
primary, stair in the house. It would seem, however, that one might have existed, as the
west stair is rather narrow for the scale of the house, and both the entry hall and the
bedroom above it are oversized .
The second floor is currently divided in half with a crude east-west partition wall in the
*est stair hall to provide two bedrooms for each of the units. The center halls of each
init are connected by a doorway installed by the Singers in 1955. 15 The western hall for
he south unit (Room 200) is the original hall for the house, which originally provided
iccess to three of the four original bedrooms. The rooms have been altered as follows:
' Tie northeast bedroom (Room 206) once occupied the area currently used by the north
init haU (Room 205), bathroom (Room 207), and northeast room as evidenced by the
I lewer wall construction dividing the current from this northeast room. A bathroom
* xisted in the current location as early as c. 1950." The south wall separating the room
1 rom the stair is a combination of dry wall and old brown plaster which suggests that
• ome alteration has occured. The interior walls of the closet in the southeast corner
I bove the stairway are drywall. The wood floor in the closet is grained.
I he northwest bedroom (Room 208) retains its original configuration (Photo E-52) with
: le exception that the newer enclosed stair to the third floor has been inserted in the
i Dace and the full sized window in the western wall has been foreshortened at this new
! air landing, as evidenced by the exterior siding patches. The original baseboard of the
room is visible in the closet below the stair. These changes are assumed to have been
made by the Maryland Coal Company c. 1907-1928.
In the south unit, a wainscoted room (Room 203) has been inserted in the space once
occupied by the southwest bedroom, again evidenced by the newer wall construction of
this smaller room (Room 202). The original door from the bedroom to the hall was
located to the east of the present door, as evidenced by newer whiter plaster. This would
place this door exactly opposite the only possible location of the door from the hall to the
northwestern bedroom. The small wainscoted room served as a bedroom and closet
during the Singer Era (1930-1957). 17
The front southeast room (Room 204) is original. (Photos E-49 and E-50) Doorways on
the west wall lead to the secondary hallway (Room 201) south of the stair hall and a
walk-in closet. A former door opening which connected this room to the northeast room
was discovered by plaster analysis in the north wall. It is suspected that this room did
not originally have direct access to the stair hall. The original wood flooring is exposed.
There is a heat register/stovepipe hole in the floor from below. Wallpaper covers the
The south third floor hall (Room 300) is the original one and it has well preserved
unvarnished wood trim and baseboard as well as early (possibly original) wallpaper.
(Photo E-53) The patches in the north wall show clearly the area that once contained the
doors to the original northeast and northwest rooms. A nonoriginal curved wall
separates the north unit from the south slightly off center from where the original door
to the northwest room existed.
The southwest room (Room 301) served as a storage room and remains unfinished.
(Photo E-54) The floor, wall and roof framing is exposed. The southeast room (Room
302) is wallpapered and contains a large closet. (Photos E-55 and E-56) No evidence
remains of the eyelid dormer visible in the Clarke and Tucker photographs.
The northwest room (Room 303) has modern finishes and has been cut up to receive the
c.1907 stair from the second floor and the hall. (Photo E-58) The northeast room (Room
304) is finished in modern plaster but the closet construction is original. (Photo E-59)
I: • I
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Photo E-32 View of east and north elevations.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-33 View of north and west elevations.
Brown Cottage 1992
E-34 View of south and east elevations.
Brown Cottage 1992
3p 35 View of west elevation. Note foreshortened windows on elevation of main
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-36 View of west wall and concrete foundation.
Brown Cottage 1992
E-37 East wall of room 105, showing the door to the front porch inserted during
the Mining Company Era.
Brown Cottage 1992
cz E-38 South wall of room 103, showing the chimney added during the Mining
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-39 Looking southwest at altered area between rooms
105 and 103.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-40 West wall of room 105 looking into room 103.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-41 North wall of room 106. Although the wood wainscot is original, the
original entry door has been replaced.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-42 Northeast bay with decorative wood bracket in room 106.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-43 Chimney and fireplace on west wall of room 106.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-44 Southeast corner of room 106 showing enclosed
stair added during the Mining Company Era.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-45 West view of stair and hall, room 100.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-46 Detail of change in spindle style in stair at landing
between first and second floors in room 100.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-47 Second floor view of the main stair from the hall
(room 200), looking west.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-48 Room 203, looking south. The bathtub stored in
this room is not original to the room.
Brown Cottage 1992
d E-49 West wall of room 204.
Brown Cottage 1992
3p E-50 Southeast corner of room 204.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-51 Northeast corner of room 202.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-52 Northwest corner of room 208. The door to the left leads to the newer stair
to the third floor.
Brown Cottage 1992
E-53 View from the top of the main, west, stair from the third floor hall (room
300), looking west.
Brown Cottage 1992
i-54 Southwest corner of space 301 as viewed from the hall, room 300.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-55 South wall of room 302.
Brown Cottage 1992
Photo E-56 Northwest corner of room 302. Ghost of former doorway is faintly visible in
wall in hallway beyond left doorway.
Brown Cottage 1992
E-58 View of northeast corner in room 303.
Brown Cottage 1992
E-59 View of northwest corner in room 304.
Brown Cottage 1992
III. D. MOORHEAD COTTAGE
Cottage No. 3 has been traditionally referred to as the Moorhead Cottage; no evidence
has been uncovered to confirm or deny its original ownership by Maxwell K. Moorhead.
The Moorhead Cottage is a large Queen Anne/Shingle Style, three story frame house of
the early 1880s with hipped and gabled roof, dormers, a distinctive octagonal tower, and
first and second floor front porches. There is a two story rear wing and a one story
porch at the northwest corner of the house. The house is located on a steeply sloping
site, the front of which has been extended and regraded to incorporate a modern access
road which extends to Cottage No. 2 as evidenced by the c. 1955-1968 maps.' The
building is currently divided into side by side duplexes.
The house appears in four Clarke photographs (Photos H-l, H-7, H-9, and H-15) as well
is one in the Tucker collection (Photo H-8). The photographs capture the house from
ieveral angles as it appeared during the era of the Club. A significant view of the house
rom the southeast provides a detailed view of the house including the original porch
ind tower configurations. The boardwalk which linked the cottages ran directly in front
)f the Moorhead Cottage. A series of wooden steps made the transition up the slope to
he building has been significantly altered on both the exterior and interior. In the years
I allowing the demise of the Club, Cottage No. 3, like the others, was purchased by the
1 Maryland Coal Company Company and its successors, who converted the building into
! side by side duplex and made significant renovations. Portions of the original front
} orch and the polygonal roof of the tower were removed. 2 New doors were introduced
•>ee Map Analysis in Appendix B.5.
Porch was removed c. 1931-1947, based upon interview with Woodrow Wingard, photograph in Slanoc
'■' llection, and analysis of maps.
into the facades to provide additional entries for the duplexes. Subsequent owners
maintained the building in varying degrees.
The site rises sharply from the east to the west. The front of the building faces a gravel
drive. Fill has been added at the easternmost edge of the site to increase the parking
area in front of the building. A small arbor/pergola stands in the far southwest corner.
A wooden ramp leading from the rear of the building to the rear of the site is visible in
the southeast view of the house in a Clarke photograph. (Photo H-7) Local tradition
holds to a wooden ramp leading to the building. Presumably it wouid have been a
service ramp linking the house with the service road which originally existed behind the
cottages and/or an outhouse. At least one frame addition of one and/or two stories is
visible to the west of the rear ell in the photograph which was taken from the northeast
before the Brown Cottage was constructed. (Photo H-9) No physical evidence remains
of the addition/s, although limited investigation behind the aluminum siding of the west
side of the ell revealed some patches in the original siding. (Photos E-61 through E-63)
The existing visible foundation is a product of renovations made throughout the mid-
twentieth century. The current foundation is a series of masonry piers with masonry
block or glass block infill. The masonry materials include concrete block and two types
of yellow construction block. The historic photographs show an open foundation,
enclosed with lattice. No evidence remains to show what the original supports were at
the principal corners of the building. They may have been wood, brick or stone, but they
have been completely replaced.
Siding & Trim
The existing wood siding and portions of the original wood shingles have been covered
with wood grained embossed aluminum with a 3-3/4" exposure. The installer
maintained the majority of the corner, window, and door trim so that the aluminum
siding has a remarkably less detrimental visual effect on the house than is typical. On
the west side of the projecting north bay and in sample areas where the aluminum has
been removed, the original 4-1/2" coved wood shiplap siding is visible beneath. The
original wood shingle cladding which once covered the third floor tower, gable, and
dormer remains at the third floor level on the southern and western facades of the
octagonal corner tower. (Photos E-64 and E-65)
The majority of the window and door trim consists of broad, flat 5" x 1" wood boards
dating primarily from the original construction. Wider boards are used at both window
casing and corner trim at projecting bays. The center third floor double hung window
on the east facade and the third floor window on the north facade are cased with a
decorative wood trim.
The majority of the windows on the main portion of the house are the original double
hung 1/1 sash units. The windows of the north facade of the rear ell are 2/2. The five
windows opening onto the first floor front porches are tall double hung windows with
iills at floor level. The lower sash are 5'-9" tall and can be pushed up their entire height
nto the wall to allow access to the porch. The windows on the second floor above the
nain entry contain one similar tall sash. It is evident from the historic photographs that
hese windows were once identical to the first floor windows and opened onto a second
tory porch above the main entry which no longer exists. The current sash are the
•riginal lower sash; the original upper sash have been removed. Windows in the second
. loor octagonal room and the second floor bay are 12/1 with the upper sash containing
>anes of colored glass. The third floor octagonal room windows are fixed eight-pane
casements. The shutters which appear on the north elevation of the rear wing in the
photograph no longer remain.
Window alterations evident in the exterior include the horizonal fixed multipaned sash
installed on the first floor south facade immediately to the west of the octagonal bay, a
six pane lower sash inserted in the first floor west window at the southwest corner, three
fixed six pane sash in the south wall of the enclosed rear porch, a contemporary c.1960
horizonal sliding window on the west facade, and two contemporary casement window
assemblies on the north facade.
No original exterior doors remain. The original pair of front entry doors faintly visible
in the historic photographs has been replaced by a long double hung window and a more
recent ten pane "French" wood and glass door. The ghost of the original entry vestibule
is visible in the first floor center room where the floor has been patched. A
contemporary colonial style steel clad door replaces an original window and provides
entry to the north unit from the porch. Early to mid-twentieth century wood and glass
doors have been installed on the south and west elevations. A 1928 photo in the Slanoc
collection shows a four panel door opening from the southwest room onto the south
porch in the same location as the existing door; it has not been determined whether this
opening is original. A modern sliding glass door has been installed at the rear ell. A
steel door is located at the basement level of the front of the building.
The existing main porch is but a fragment of the original porch which wrapped the east
and south elevations of the building as viewed in the Clarke photographs. The two story
section at the northeast set back is the most intact, but it has lost its railing and two ol
its brackets at the second level. The main front porch originally extended an additional
bay to the north, thus joining what today are two separate porches; the original entr>
stair was located to the north of this extension. The main porch also extended to the
south, around the octagonal bay and, at a lesser width, along the entire southern side of
the house. Archaeological surveys should be conducted to locate traces of the porch
supports at all of the above mentioned areas to determine the exact extent of the original
porch. The Clarke photographs show a tree trunk left in place through the floor and roof
of the porch on the southern side of the house.
As evidenced in the historic photographs, a small open deck once existed at the second
floor above the main entry. The perimeter of the porch was enclosed with a railing
similar to those on the other porches. The porch was accessible from the covered second
floor porch to the north as well as from the room immediately to the west through tall
double hung windows.
The base of the original front porch was enclosed in lattice with an access door. The
remnants which remain have been enclosed with concrete block. Coal chutes and a steel
door have been installed in the walls.
The eight extant first floor porch posts are constructed of a minimum of four vertical
wood members. The lower sections of these posts are patched repeatedly with newer
pieces of wood which nevertheless conform to the dimensions and chamfered corner of
the original sections above. In a number of posts mortised sections exist which indicate
that the handrail was installed 3"-4" lower than it is currently. The base of every post is
so altered that none of the original detailing is evident.
The small porch attached to the south side of the rear ell of the house has been enclosed
with siding and fixed multipane windows. The original porch posts and roof are visible
from the interior of the space. The section of the roof between this porch and the west
wall of the main house is new, constructed of 2" x 4"s and plywood. Presumably this
would have been the location where the wooden ramp intersected the house. Detailed
examination of the porch ceiling framing could provide reinforcement for this theory.
The roofs of the house and two story ell are currently covered with contemporary asphalt
shingles. The historic photographs show a patterned wood shingle main roof with trim
pieces at all ridge lines. The roof of the tower was clad with both rectangular and
fishscale shingles. The original exposed stick style eaves with visible ornamental rafters
remain at all principal eave lines. Simpler chamfered rafters are used at the gables. The
south eave of the ell appears to have been rebuilt using wider boards and unadorned
2"x4" rafters. A second story covered porch may have originally existed at this location.
The original polygonal roof over the southeast bay has been truncated to just above the
main ridge line. This change was apparently made between 1931, when Woodrow
Wingard remembers it being intact, and 1947, when a photo in the Slanoc collection
shows it in the truncated state. The original peaked roof, finial, and weathervane are
visible in the historic photographs.
The historic photographs show "stop" gutters with exterior downspouts for the principal
roof, although no downspouts are visible for the porch roofs. The building currently does
not have gutters or downspouts of any kind. A poured concrete gutter at grade parallels
the foundation on the north side of the house.
The house currently has three brick chimneys which extend above the roof line. The three
chimneys are faintly visible in one of the Clarke photographs taken from the northeast.
The Clarke photograph taken from the southeast shows a tall articulated brick chimney
for the southern fireplace; no further photographic evidence exists for the other two
chimneys. Currently the chimneys on the north and south slopes of the main roof have
been truncated at approximately four feet above the roof line. The chimney on the north
slope of the main roof and the chimney on the rear ell have been rebuilt with the yellow
brick used on the mining company houses.
The interior of the house is currently divided into two side-by-side duplex units. The
northern duplex is composed of the rooms facing the north elevation on the first and
second floors of the house. The southern duplex encompasses the rest of the house
including the entire third floor. The northern unit is entered from the northern front
porch and has a rear door through the enclosed porch of the rear ell. The southern unit
is entered from the southern front porch and has a rear door in the south elevation. The
southern unit is in increasingly deteriorating condition and has few indications of
modern plumbing. The northern unit has been recently remodelled and contains a
c.l970s-80s modern kitchen and bath.
The original walls of the house are a half inch of plaster (containing animal hair) on lath.
Alterations are evidenced by a harder, whiter plaster on wood lath dating from the coal
zompany ownership era and post-1940 gypsum board installation. There is a fair amount
of wallpaper remaining in the house. Vivid deep colors of paint and occasionally some
:races of stencilled borders exist under layers of wallpaper in most primary rooms.
The existing woodwork in the house is a combination of original woodwork and trim
ntroduced in subsequent years. A woodwork analysis identified the different periods
)f woodwork. There is a succession of different woodwork styles throughout the rooms
is illustrated on the plans. All of the original wood floors in the house are exposed
ixcept the kitchen and bath floors of the north unit which are covered with sheet vinyl.
. ^ concrete block, brick, and yellow construction block wall divides the basement into
'i wo sections. Access to the basement is provided by the steel door that opens at grade
c t the front of the house and via wood stairs leading from the first floor of the north unit.
The north half of the basement has been fully excavated, with walls of concrete block,
rough yellow block and brick with glass block windows. The north half of the basement
has a poured concrete floor. This half of the basement is divided into two portions by
the brick foundation of the rear ell chimney (Rooms B04 and B05). (Photos E-67 and E-
68) Rough yellow block walls form partitions for a bathroom and shower. A small
doorway leads to the crawl space area beneath the rear room of the first floor. A wood
panelled door and rough yellow block (now painted) partition separate what is
understood to be the coal bin from the rest of the basement. The room (Room B06)
behind the door was not accessible.
The south half of the basement (Rooms B01, B02, and B03) has been partially excavated
and has a dirt floor and walls of concrete block, yellow block and brick. (Photos E-69
and E-70) This portion of the basement is accessed only through a four panel wood door
from the north side and one from the area under the porch. Inaccessible deteriorated
wood stairs lead to the first floor center hall stairway. The southwest corner of the
basement is unexcavated. Masonry piers and tree trunks provide additional support for
the wood beams running east-west under the center hall above. The chimney
foundations are coarse stone. The coal bin (Room B03) for this unit is located in the
concrete block infilled portion under the front porch (Room B02).
The first floor is configured in its original layout with a very wide center hall containing
the main staircase, two principal front rooms with fireplaces, one each to the north and
south, and two secondary rear rooms, again one each to the north and south. A smaller
two story wing houses one additional rear room to the west. The northern rear rooms
are accessed only from the front room and cannot be reached from the hall. A service
stair in the middle north room provides access to the basement and to the rear wing of
the second floor.
The principal front southeast octagonal room (Room 102) remains as originally
constructed with the exception of wide sliding pocket doors between this room and the
hall which were added in the early twentieth century and a newer two panel door to the
rear room. (Photo E-73) There is a fireplace with a wood mantel which appears to be in
its original state. (Photo E-72) To the right of the double pocket doors the wall surface
is constructed with 12" wide horizontal bands of drywall over wood lath. Alterations to
the wood studs surrounding the pocket doors are visible underneath the drywall. It is
possible that the north wall of the room was moved out to the south to accommodate the
introduction of the pocket doors. A diagonal patch in the floor in the northwest corner
of the room suggests that the room may have originally been octagonal. Immediately to
the left of the doorway is a pipe for a gas fixture. The room is wallpapered, but where
the wallpaper has been removed, painted plaster is still visible.
The rear southern room (Room 103) previously served as a kitchen for the southern unit 3
and has been greatly altered including the addition of a door to the exterior and a
horizontal window on the south exterior wall, as well as the replacement of the original
door, but not the casing to the hall and octagonal room. (Photo E-75) The two panel
door to the octagonal room replaces an earlier, taller door, as evidenced by the patches
in the plaster above the opening. Severe settlement has occured in the southwest corner
of the house as evidenced by the dramatic slope in the floor of the room.
There appear to have been numerous alterations to the principal hall as indicated by
several different types of doors, baseboards, and casings. A partition with an infilled
arched opening and wood and glass doors divides the hall into east (Room 100) and west
(Room 101) rooms. (Photo E-66) The plaster walls of the partition are surfaced with a
harder, whiter plaster, indicating that the wall is a later addition. Analysis of the floor
plans of contemporary houses of the period confirms that such a wide, long entry hall
' Interview with Lynn Singer Slanoc and Woodrow Wingard, 5 November 1992.
containing a stair would not have been unusual. 4 None of the interior doors to the
hallway is original. Newer door trim has been applied over existing trim at the doorway
to the southeast room. A rectangular patch exists in the center of the floor of the front
room (Room 101). A straightcut in the floorboards running several feet in from and
parallel to the front wall indicates the location of the original vestibule. Close
examination of the cuts in the floorboards reveals the location of the interior double
doors. The discovery of plaster patches in the north and south walls confirmed the
location of the vestibule walls. Plaster analysis indicated that a doorway once connected
the hall with the northeast room.
The western half of the hall (Room 100) contains the main open stairway to the second
floor. The paneled door under the stairway which leads to the basement is early
twentieth century, suggesting that the door and steps to the basement were added.
Confirming this, Woodrow Wingard remembers only a crawl space accessible from the
outside during the 1920s and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Patterson, Jr. remember the basement
being excavated during the 1930s. 5 The square casement window at the rear wall
appears to be early twentieth century, and is framed with flat wood casing. Investigation
under the aluminum siding on the exterior wall revealed patched siding indicating
alterations in the area surrounding this opening. Newer wood trim has been installed
over existing trim at the doorway to the northeast room.
The principal front northeast room (Room 104) is largely intact, with original window
and door trim and fireplace mantle. (Photos E-76 and E-77) The walls and ceiling have
been resurfaced with drywall. The two changes in this room include the double doors
in the doorway to the center hall and the door to the porch, which replaces an earlier
4 Contemporary Period Clubhouse and Cottage Designs, Appendix B.4.
5 Interviews with Lynn Singer Slanoc and Woodrow Wingard, 5 November 1992 and Mr. and Mrs.
Harry Patterson, Jr., 20 October 1992.
window. The west wall of this room contains three doors, one each leading to a closet,
a small hall to the rear rooms, and a small room with a window.
The door to the left on the west wall leads to a small storage closet (Room 105) which
is adjacent to another small closet opening to the middle room. The hall to the rear rooms
is flanked by built-in cabinets with sliding wood doors below and swinging glass doors
above. (Photo E-78) The pulls on the sliding wood doors appear to be original window
sash pulls relocated from elsewhere. The cabinet craftmanship is crude and ill-fitted to
the space, and is most likely non-original. There is a small level change between the hall
floor and the next room. The small room with the window is believed to have been a
bathroom or butler's pantry based on analysis of the floor plans of houses from the
same era. 6 The wood casing at the door and window are original to the house. The
baseboard has been replaced with a flat 1" stock. The woodwork in the room is grained.
It is suspected that some alteration occurred to the small room and hallway. The plaster
on the west wall of the small room has been patched, but no conclusions could be drawn
from the limited patch visible.
The room immediately to the west (Room 106) contains stairs leading to the basement
and second floor. Although the stairs to the second floor are original, the wall at the
stair is surfaced with historic wood panelling which does not match the panelling at the
other stair and runs perpendicular to the intended direction, which indicates that it was
taken from another location. (Photo E-79) A c.1960 fixed multipane window with
flanking casement windows has been installed in the north wall in place of the original
double hung window visible in the historic photographs. A window on the south wall
replaces an original door as evidenced by a patch in the siding on the exterior.
The rear room (Room 107) has been recently modified with dropped ceiling, brick
embossed wall paneling, modern appliances, sliding glass doorsck piers between the sill of the hous? and the stone portion of the
foundation. They seemed to have been inserted as part of the process of raising the
structure. (Photo E-97)
1 Interview with Walter Costlow.
The exterior is clad with imitation brick asphaltic siding material commonly referred to
as "insulbrick" on all of the elevations except the eastern front elevation, which is clad
with 8" aluminum siding. (Photo E-94 and E-95) The attic gables on the north and south
elevations are clad with hexangonal asphaltic siding shingles. The date of installation of
these materials is unknown. A section of original wood siding is exposed in the areas
flanking the rear door and the scalloped edge of wood shingles is visible beneath the
bottom course of hexagonal existing asphalt shingles at the south gable. (Photo E-96)
From these fragments it is assumed that these are the original cladding materials.
However, no destructive testing was done to uncover larger areas of the original
materials or to assess their condition.
Double hung windows with simple 5" flat wood trim are regularly spaced on all four
elevations of the building. The current window sash are modern aluminum
replacements. A number of historic sash were retained and stored in the basement,
however, and these are wood, double hung, one over one window sash. The windows
on each floor are all of the same size. The only exceptions in window sizes are the two
smaller windows, one each at the center of the east and west elevations, which
correspond to the locations of stair landings on the interior. It is suspected that both of
these windows have been made smaller during later renovations to the building. Since
both the interior and exterior wall surfaces have been covered with newer materials, any
changes in the original siding will only be detectable after the removal of the siding on
the exterior. The rear or west window would have been the connection point for the
second level of the outhouse that is described as having been behind this building by
Janet Cruickshank Hoffman, whose family owned the Clubhouse from 1921 to 1950 and
by Sewell Oldham, an area resident for 50 years. (Photo H-13) The regular size and
spacing of the remaining windows suggests that these are unchanged from the
building's original period.
The principal gable roof runs from front to back with a jerkinhead section at both the east
and west ends. Gables are centered on the north and south facade. Simply detailed
exposed rafters are used at the eave lines. The roof is currently covered with rolled
roofing. No evidence remains from the earlier roof covering but it is presumed to be
wood shingle similar to the cottages and Clubhouse as shown in historic photographs.
The smaller rear porch sits on a concrete pad at grade and has plywood soffits. Sections
of the porch, including the posts, may date from an earlier porch in this location or
perhaps from the original front porch.
The front porch rests on a full story high concrete block foundation with vinyl siding
cladding above and a garage door entry. The posts and the cladding on the side half
gables all appear to date from the mid-twentieth century. Photographs dating to c.1940
(Photo H-12) show the building on its raised foundation, but with a two story front porch
that appears to be original to the structure. The porch is the full width of the building
and divided into five bays. The supports appear to be turned and are connected to the
horizontal members at the roof with broad brackets simOar to those on the Moorhead
Cottage. The first floor railing is lower than the second floor railing. The photos are too
indistinct to determine the details of the vertical railing members other than giving the
impression that the vertical members are made of jigsawn boards rather than spindles.
The basement level has been altered to accommodate garage doors. In the conjectural
drawing for this porch, a lattice enclosure is shown at the basement level similar to that
of remaining extant examples on the other structures studied.
The front door is a single multi-light glass door flanked by multipaned glass sidelights
under a two-paned transom. The door frame and transom appear to be original to the
building but the door and side lights are in an early twentieth century style.
The center opening on the second floor is a likely location for an original door leading
to the upper level of the porch. This can be confirmed by examining the original wood
siding under the existing insulbrick when future restoration work is done.
The rear door is a single modern aluminum door. The patching in the wood around the
door, however, indicates an earlier opening of 4' 10" which corresponds to the size of the
opening on the front of the house, indicating that the front and back door openings and
configuration were similar.
i CO !
LS DESIGN I
C H I T E
- D i
The Clubhouse Annex, looking northwest, c. 1940
Photograph from the collection of the 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club
Historical Preservation Society
This view shows the Annex after it had been raised, but before the two-story porch
had been removed. The detailing on the porch is not clear, but enough is visible to
give some indication of the original design and allow for a fairly accurate conjectural
reconstruction. The roof and window configurations appear as they do today.
Two-story outhouse once attached to the west facade of the Clubhouse Annex
Photograph from the collection of the 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club
Historical Preservation Society
This outhouse, believed by many to have been attached to the main Clubhouse
building, was specifically recalled by two former St. Michael residents as having been
attached to the west facade of the Annex. Janet Cruikshank Hoffman, whose family
owned both buildings from 1921 to 1950, has an additional photo of the outhouse,
but she has been unavailable to provide access to it. According to Mrs. Hoffman, the
outhouse was fitted with terra cotta pipes.
Photo E-94 South and east elevations.
Clubhouse Annex 1992
Photo E-95 West and south elevations.
Clubhouse Annex 1992
Photo E-96 Detail of west elevation showing original wood
siding flanking rear door.
Clubhouse Annex 1992
Photo E-97 Detail of the north foundation wall showing
original stone foundation wtih brick and concrete
block infill above.
Clubhouse Annex 1992
i-i z ai 5 I
1 hO<83 s3
IV. CODE ANALYSIS AND ENERGY CONSERVATION
The Clubhouse, Brown Cottage, and Moorhead Cottage were evaluated in terms of their
code compliance and energy conservation according to the proposed treatment schemes.
The Clubhouse is intended to be reused as a restaurant and inn, and will serve as the
focus for visitor orientation to the entire site. The first floor will be utilized for a variety
of public functions, including visitor orientation, interpretive exhibits, Historical
Preservation Society offices, gift shop, meeting/banquet room, restaurant, and overnight
guest check-in. The rear one-story ell may be reconstructed to provide a new kitchen for
the restaurant. The second and third floors of the building will be renovated to provide
eighteen guest rooms with private baths. The first floor, which has undergone a number
of significant renovations, can be returned to the historic layout, which will easily
accommodate the proposed new uses. The original circulation and guest room
configurations of the upper floors can be maintained, with the insertion of new
bathrooms into existing adjoining guest rooms. The impacts of the proposed reuse are
Building Code and Emergency Egress
The proposed use is classified as occupancy C-2 under the Pennsylvania Department of
Labor and Industry Fire and Panic Regulations. C-2 is permitted in a three-story wood
frame building when the building is entirely protected by an automatic fire suppression
system. An automatic fire suppression system can be accommodated within the building
with minimal impact. The first floor double ceiling system, originally intended for sound
insulation, provides a convenient hidden space for the suppression system for this floor;
on the upper floors modifications made for bath and closet areas will provide areas
where side-throw sprinklers as fire suppression devices can be provided.
The 1990 BOCA Code has a somewhat more complex set of regulations but the end result
is the same~the addition of a fire suppression system will permit the intended use. Both
the Pennsylvania Code Section 50.92 and BOCA Code Section 513.1 allow innovative
solutions for code issues in historic buildings.
Two remote means of egress are required for the occupancy. The current two sets of
stairs would qualify in their existing positions if they were both enclosed with one hour
construction. It is recommended that the south stair be provided with a one hour
separation by providing the properly rated frames and doors between the stair space and
adjoining spaces. The center stair should remain open since it is the chief architectural
element linking the three floors. This can be provided with a variance from the
Department of Labor and Industry if a smoke evacuation fan is added at the top of the
stair space and an additional code approved means egress is provided. It is further
recommended that a new stair be added at the west end of the west wing for this
function. This is a less significant rear facade of the building and access can be provided
to the stair at the second floor by restoring the openings here that originally served a
balcony in this location. An additional door will have to be cut at the third floor hall.
If the stair is well proportioned and simply detailed, it will have minimal impact to the
exterior character of the building. The two alternatives of enclosing the central historic
stair and inserting a new stair within the existing structure in the west wing would be
more damaging to the historic character of the building.
With the addition of this code complying exit stair and the building completely protected
by a fire suppression system, the existing partitions and doors may be retained and will
not require upgrading to a higher fire rating assembly. This will allow the maximum
historic fabric of the building to remain.
The majority of the first floor must be upgraded from a current live load capacity of 40
lbs/sq.ft. to 100 lbs/sq.ft. This can be accomplished relatively easily with little impact
to the historic structure from the basement and crawl spaces below.
The current wooden ramp leading to the front porch is in compliance with ADA
standards and provides accessibility to the first floor. The majority of the first floor doors
are wide enough for the requirements and with minor changes and proper door swing
and hardware can be brought fully to requirements. On the upper floors, one renovated
room can be brought to requirements with a minimum of changes to the existing historic
fabric. The chief alteration required will be the addition of an elevator to provide access
from the first level to the upper two levels. It is recommended that this be provided in
the area immediately south of the open central stair in an area which was previously
used for support rooms and is of lesser architectural importance.
Energy Conservation Issues
The initial energy conservation items will inckde proper attic insulation and the re-
introduction of the original outside shutters to provide summer shading from the sun;
these will have no adverse impact on the historic structure. The next level of
improvements will include the retrofitting of the existing sash windows with interior
storms or the installation of new thermopane double hung wood sash windows,
depending on the condition of the window sash. Many sash can be saved, but a good
number are beyond repair. The most significant energy conservation impact will be
insulation of the exterior walls. The exterior walls in this building represent a significant
proportion of the envelope and will be a significant area to be addressed for energy
conservation. The preferred method for insulating the exterior wood frame walls is to
remove the exterior siding and install fiberglass batt insulation from the exterior. This
will have the advantage of allowing full inspection of the wood frame construction of the
building during this process and it should result in minimal damage to the exterior
siding. If, for any reason, it should prove infeasible, a program of blowing insulation
into the wall cavity with the proper attention paid to venting air spaces, spaces in the
siding, and installation of a vapor barrier by the proper treatment of the interior surfaces
can be undertaken.
B. BROWN COTTAGE
The Brown Cottage is proposed to be reused as two rental apartments. This will
continue the use of multi-family occupancy that was instituted in the Coal Company era
of 1907 to 1955 and will provide a needed source of income for the project to enable
continued maintenance and preservation of the historic buildings. These units can be
accommodated with minimum additional alteration to the original historic fabric and can,
in fact, reuse some of the alterations that were made since 1907. The impacts of this use
are as follows:
Building Code and Emergency Egress
A two-unit dwelling structure separated vertically is covered under the C-4 classification
in the Department of Labor and Industry Fire and Panic Laws and defined as R3 under
BOCA. The only significant requirement is that there be a two hour separation between
the dwelling units in order to allow the use of all three floors. This can be provided by
installing additional layers of 5/8" fire rated drywall at these partitions. On those
partitions where it is required, the historic baseboard can be removed and then reapplied
once the fire rated drywall has been added. The proposed two-unit dwelling with side-
by-side apartments, each with access directly to grade on the first floor, provides a
continuation of a housing form long in existence in the Commonwealth.
As described in the structural report, some reinforcing of first floor loading capacities
is required, but this can be accomplished from basement areas with minimal impact to
the historic fabric of the structure.
A two-unit dwelling unit is not covered under any accessibility laws, but the first floor
can be made accessible from the rear of the building if desired by a tenant.
Energy Conservation Issues
The building is subject to the Pennsylvania Industry Energy Conservation laws. The
recommendations included for the Clubhouse apply equally here. In this instance the
wood siding is considerably more decorative and the windows occupy a greater
proportion to the outside walls than the siding. Coupled with the significant degree of
deterioration of interior plaster, the preferred method for exterior insulation in this case
is to insulate from the interior.
C. MOORHEAD COTTAGE
The Moorhead Cottage is proposed to be partially restored and rehabilitated as public
exhibit space and rental apartments. The first floor is to be restored and will serve as the
chief exhibit used to portray life in one of the larger cottages on Lake Conemaugh in the
1880s. Most or all of the first floor rooms of the cottage will be restored to their original
condition and will display their historic uses. These rooms will accommodate tours and
occasionally functions such as small receptions. The second floor of the cottage will be
renovated into one or two rental apartments. It is recommended that one of the
apartments serve as a caretaker's cottage to provide continuous on-site supervision of the
building and grounds.
Building Code and Emergency Egress
The proposed public area use is classified as A-3 under both BOCA and the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Fire and Panic
Regulations for the purposes of assembly between 4 and 100 persons. The mixed use
aspect of this building, involving the use of part or all of the second floor as residential
units and most of the first floor as public use requires that either the two uses be
separated with two hour fire rated construction or that all load bearing walls and floor
assemblies be provided with one hour ratings. We recommend providing one hour rated
walls and floors. A two hour rating requires multiple layers of 5/8" drywall and can
become quite intrusive in a frame historic building with the detail that this cottage has.
Most plaster in this building is in poor condition and will have to be replaced in any
event. The replacement of the plaster with 5/8" drywall will have minimal impact and
allow the intended uses.
The use of the third floor would require the addition of a full fire suppression system
and an additional fire rated stair and exit system to the third floor. It is believed that
these measures would be too expensive in the case of the suppression system and too
intrusive in the case of the three story stair to warrant the small gain of the use of the
third floor; it is therefore recommended that the third floor be excluded from any use,
including as a location for mechanical equipment.
In order to leave the main stair open to the second floor, a variance will have to be
sought. It is believed that the addition of a small fire suppression system to the stair area
will allow it to remain open so that this key element of the interior can remain as
constructed and also may be used as the required second means of egress for the
If one apartment is provided on the second floor, the existing back stair can serve as its
second means of egress. If an additional apartment is added in the southern rooms on
the second floor, a second means of egress will have to be provided for that unit. It is
believed that a simple exterior open sided wood stair on the west end of the south wall
would be the least obtrusive, especially in light of the proposed replication of the first
floor side porch which would enclose some of the mass of the proposed stair. The final
decision on the use of the southern side of the second floor as exhibit space or rental
apartment space will depend on the anticipated need for income from the building.
The southern bearing line in the basement must be reinforced to enable all areas of the
structure to sustain a live load of 40 lbs /sq.ft. as detailed in the structural report. The
required 100 lbs/sq.ft. capacity for the first floor public use can be provided by additional
support of the floor from the basement.
With proper landscaping treatments, an accessible route can be provided to the first floor
of this building and, with the reconstruction of the historic walkway from the hill-side
to the west of the house, accessibility can be provided to the second floor. This building
particularly brings out the issue of reorienting the building to its former means of access.
As illustrated in the early maps and photographs, carriage access was on the plateau to
the west of the building and a walkway provided a close to level approach to the second
floor of the house from this plateau. The buildings were joined by a boardwalk along
the lakefront that provided a pedestrian link. Particularly in light of the fact that the
Moorhead Cottage is planned as a partial restoration and refurnishing to depict life in
one of the cottages, the possibility of reintroducing this historic access route is an
important item to be investigated.
Energy Conservation Issues
The same energy conservation issues discussed with the Clubhouse and the Brown
Cottage apply to the Moorhead Cottage. Since the exhibit function of the building need
not be heated at the same level as a residential or hotel function, the need to insulate the
exterior walls is not so great here and may prudently be excluded for that part of the
building used as an exhibit area. The apartment/s will be used 24 hours a day and
should have exterior insulation installed. Since most of the interior plaster is in poor
condition and will require replacement, the preferred method of insulating the exterior
walls in this case is from the interior.
V. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUILDING STABILIZATION
The following recommendations apply generally to all three structures. This section is
then followed with those items that are specific to each building.
A. CLEAN OUT
All debris in the buildings that constitutes a potential fire hazard should be removed.
In addition, all carpets should be removed since these are holding moisture in the
building which is causing deterioration of woodwork in the structures. A thorough
cleanout of the three buildings and removal of existing, nonoriginal floor coverings,
particularly in the Clubhouse and Brown Cottage, will provide an opportunity for further
historic investigation prior to proposed renovation of the buildings.
B. ROOFS, GUTTERS, AND DOWNSPOUTS
The original gutters and downspouts have been removed from the buildings, allowing
the rain water from the roofs to spill down along the side walls. In some locations,
concrete gutters have been built around the bases of the buildings. This method of water
removal is detrimental to the stability and health of the buildings, and has caused the
serious deterioration of windows, window sills, and siding on the lower three or four feet
of the buildings, and led to rotting of wood members nearest the base building.
Temporary hanging gutters and downspouts should be added to all of the structures as
soon as possible with downspouts designed to direct the water a minimum of four feet
away from the base of the buildings and onto an area of ground that is sloping clearly
and distinctly away from them. If money is available for restoration of the roofs,
historically correct gutters should be installed on the structures simultaneously with the
C. DISCONNECTION OF ELECTRICAL SERVICES
Electrical services should be disconnected from the two cottages if this has not been done
already. No study was done of the condition of these electrical systems, but from the
general inspection they are quite old, have been adapted over the years, and constitute
a possible fire hazard. Electrical power is not required in the buildings because any
studies or cleanout projects can be done during daylight hours. If a phased program of
renovation and rehabilitation is being undertaken, a new panel with new temporary
services specifically designed for hand tools can be provided to correct code levels. As
long as the current Clubhouse serves meals on the first floor, the electrical power must
be maintained to that section but the current installation should be inspected by a
qualified electrician. During the course of this investigation, a number of loose wires
were observed lying on the ceiling of the kitchen connected to open junction boxes and
a maze of wires and junction boxes in the very damp basement. The inspecting
electrician should also disconnect the electrical power to all circuits in the building where
they are not absolutely required, such as the second and third floors. These areas will
not be occupied until they have undergone rehabilitation.
D. SPECIFIC STABILIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS
All three of the general recommendations are applicable to the Clubhouse. In
addition, the wood siding and sill of the structure are very close to grade or in
contact with it along the entire western wall. The earth should be removed at
least 6" from contact with the wood and properly graded so that any surface
water runoff is directed away from the building. As described in the structural
report, the eastern beam under Room 102 should be shored immediately to allow
occasional use of this room.
2. Brown Cottage
Removal of the carpets is especially important in this structure. This building
consistently had the highest humidity conditions of the four studied. The earth
is also in contact with the siding, and framing here and should be reworked as
recommended at the Clubhouse. All of the general recommendations apply here
3. Moorhead Cottage
The cottage does not contain any significant debris, but it has at least two areas
where the roof leaks -- over the stair and at the southeast tower -- which are
causing damage to the plaster and framing. These areas should be patched
immediately. The structural support at the southeast corner of the house is either
faulty or nonexistent. A proper foundation pier or piers should be provided in
this area as soon as this can prudently be accomplished.
4. Clubhouse Annex
As has already been recognized by the current owners, a new roof with gutters
and downspouts is the first priority for this structure to protect the recently
completed interior remodeled apartments as well as the historic exterior materials,
especially the Stick Style open eaves. Once a new roof is installed, the completion
of the restoration of the exterior cladding materials and porches can proceed.
VI. TREATMENT PROPOSALS
A. TREATMENT PROPOSAL METHODOLOGY
The project team was provided with a proposed program for the South Fork Fishing and
Hunting Club structures in the original scope of services for the HSR. As part of the
project, these treatments were to be evaluated, and proposals for interim and final
treatment of the structures and the site were to be provided. The scope of services
proposed uses as follows:
o The Clubhouse was to be rehabilitated as a hotel and restaurant. The goal for
the rehabilitation was to restore the exterior to the period of the late 1880s, within
the parameters of the existing building footprint.
° The Brown Cottage was to be rehabilitated and adaptively restored as a bed
and breakfast establishment.
° The Moorhead Cottage was to be restored on the first floor to the significant
historical period of the late 1880s. The existing kitchen addition on the rear was
to be rehabilitated as an active kitchen addition and the southeast room was to
be adaptively restored as a library and archival storage. It was anticipated that
the second floor would also be restored and refurbished to the historic period.
The third floor was to be adaptively restored for the offices of the 1889 South
Fork Fishing & Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society.
In order to arrive at a more appropriate proposal for treatment of the three structures,
these proposed uses were analyzed against a specific set of criteria which covered a range
of issues dealing with the future of this project. The criteria were generated by the
project team upon consultation with NPS and 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club
Historical Preservation Society. The following specific evaluation criteria were used to
evaluate alternative uses /treatments for this project:
o Compatibility With Adjacent Uses
. Relationship to a predominantly single family residential area
. Site size and use impacts on adjacent development
o Appropriateness of Uses Given Historical Precedents
. Hotel, dining and social functions - Clubhouse
. Residential functions - Brown and Moorhead Cottages
o Opportunities for Interpretation of Site History
. Interpretation of the functions of the Club and its relationship to the
. Interpretation of the use and importance of individual structures
o Structural Capacity
. Existing capacity of structures to accommodate uses
. Ability to increase structural capacity
o Project Financial Sustainability
. Long term support of this project by the Historical Preservation
Society through the generation of sufficient project based revenues
o Project Functional Sustainability
. Staffing levels required to support public functions, security and
maintenance of the structures
Given the nature of this study, specific market research was not conducted to support
the financial sustainability criteria. Instead, the treatment proposals were related to
studies completed prior to the initiation of the HSR. These include: Part I - An Economic
Assessment and Visitor Profile Study of America's Industrial Heritage Project within
Southwestern Pennsylvania; Part II - A Socio-demographic and Behavioral Profile of Visitors at
Five Sites Included in the America's Industrial Heritage Project, both prepared by professors
at Penn State University for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation
Commission, and The Plan for the Allegheny Ridge, prepared by the EADS Group and
Lane Frenchmen for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission.
These studies stated a need for additional support services (lodging, restaurants, visitor
orientation facilities) for visitors to Heritage Project sites. The team was also provided
with information concerning the leasing of existing 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting
Club Historical Preservation Society rental units. In addition, the team relied on its
considerable experience in redevelopment projects with mixed use programs. Using
these resources, the resulting treatment recommendations can be considered highly
plausible. However, it is recommended that a market analysis of the recommended
treatments be initiated in the next phase of this project.
The evaluation of alternative treatment proposals must also acknowledge and relate to
larger planning efforts that are currently underway in St. Michael and the more
expansive AIHP area. In St. Michael, the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club
Historical Preservation Society, the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, the Johnstown
Area Heritage Association and residents of the community are currently involved in long
range planning of the St. Michael Historic District. The HSR treatment proposals will
have an effect on these planning efforts and the success of these planning efforts will in
turn will affect the viability of the recommended treatment proposals. This is particularly
true in the establishment of strong linkages between the structures which are the subject
of this study and other historically significant sites and visitor destinations.
B. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDED TREATMENTS
The analysis of treatment proposals against the svated criteria leads to the
recommendation of a mixed use program for the Clubhouse, the Brown Cottage and the
Moorhead Cottage. These treatment proposals are consistent with the preservation and
interpretation of the buildings and the sites.
For the Clubhouse, it is recommended that the ground floor incorporate the following
uses: visitor information desk and interpretive exhibits, gift shop, Historical Preservation
Society offices, conference room, restaurant, hotel check-in desk, and facility support.
The second and third floor of the Clubhouse would contain eighteen hotel rooms with
separate baths. These proposed uses for the Clubhouse are consistent with the general
historic use of the structure, the original architectural plan, and the remaining historic
It is recommended that the Brown Cottage be used as two rental housing units, one
containing four bedrooms, and the other three bedrooms. It is recommended that the
Moorhead Cottage be developed as a house museum on the first floor, featuring artifacts
from the Club, with one room serving the function as the Historical Society's library. The
ground floor could be equipped with limited catering facilities to permit social functions.
The upper floors of the Moorhead Cottage could be converted to two one bedroom
apartments. One of these units could serve as a caretaker's apartment to allow for
continuous supervision of the properties.
C EVALUATION OF USES GIVEN STATED CRITERIA
Compatibility with Adjacent Uses
The initial treatment proposal concentrated more public and intensive uses at the Brown
and Moorhead Cottages. The Brown Cottage was to be used as a bed and breakfast
(with seven existing bedrooms) and the Moorhead Cottage was to be used as a house
museum with some ability to stage catered events and for Society offices. These
treatments pose some problems give the vehicular access provided to the site and the
limited potential for parking development.
The recommended uses are highly compatible with adjacent development. Both the
Brown Cottage and the Moorhead Cottage are situated on small parcels in close
proximity to single family residences. A predominantly residential use is therefore most
appropriate for these cottages. The Clubhouse site features an open space buffer of
between 60 and 100 feet from adjacent single family residential development. This land
allows for the more intensive use of this facility without significant negative impacts on
Appropriateness of Use Given Historical Precedents
The recommended uses for the three structures are highly appropriate given the historical
use precedents extending from the 1880s to the present. The Clubhouse was the center
of Club life during its brief existence and contained the principal indoor public gathering
spaces. According to a written account, the existing Clubhouse building and the original
2 1/2 story section to its south (subsequently torn down) collectively contained hotel
check in, a large dining room for Club members and a Club room. The upper two floors
contained 47 guest rooms. The recommended uses of ground floor dining room,
conference room, exhibits, gift shop and offices are closely related to the original
Clubhouse ground floor uses. On the upper two floors, the same hotel use would be
retained, but with a net reduction in hotel rooms to accommodate necessary bathrooms
The recommended uses for Brown Cottage and Moorhead Cottage are also appropriate
given their historical use precedents. Both cottages were large family dwellings for Club
members and were later divided and used as apartments during the coal mining era.
The structures have remained in residential use almost until the present day. Given that
the Moorhead Cottage is more spacious and features more ornamentation, it is reasonable
that it should also function as a house museum on the ground floor.
Opportunities for Interpretation of Site History
South Fork's Clubhouse was the center of social activity prior to the collapse of the dam
in 1889. It is appropriate that information and orientation activities and historical exhibits
be featured in and adjacent to the first floor Club room. This differs from the original
treatment proposal which called for restaurant and hotel check-in functions. Given the
important social functions fulfilled by the Clubhouse and the large size of the ground
floor, this approach permits more intensive use with greater interpretive opportunities.
It is recommended that the first floor of the Clubhouse be restored to adhere closely to
the original floor plan and room finishes. On the second and third floors, the open hotel
stair, hallways, and bedrooms should be restored to their former appearance. In this
way, the Clubhouse can become the starting point and focus of site interpretation by
After becoming familiar with the history of South Fork, visitors could be encouraged to
walk along a boardwalk structure recalling the boardwalk which once lined the lakefront
and served to connect the cottages to the Clubhouse. The boardwalk would terminate
at the steps of the Moorhead Cottage. Enroute, visitors would pass three more modest
period cottages and the Brown Cottage. A descriptive wayside could be developed with
information about each of these cottages. It is recommended that the exterior of the
Brown Cottage be restored to its original condition. The five remaining cottages on this
path can offer visitors a partial framework for understanding the complex and provide
insight into the prevalent architectural styles of the period. Further, views to the
northeast along existing street corridors would allow visitors to view the opposite ridge
which contained Lake Conemaugh. These view corridors could be marked by waysides.
It is recommended that the ground floor of the Moorhead Cottage be restored as a house
museum featuring furnishings and other artifacts from the period in which the Club was
active. This cottage, which is the most richly appointed of all of the remaining cottage
structures and contains many original features, is the most appropriate for this use. In
contrast, the Brown Cottage contains little interior ornamentation and has been
substantially altered during the mining era to create apartments.
Any interpretive efforts should be coordinated with the Johnstown Flood National
Memorial. A properly planned and integrated program will assure a clear and logical
visitor flow from one site to the other. The St. Michael Planning Team will serve a
critical role in this joint effort.
The structural condition of each of the three structures was evaluated by the team. In
the evaluation of the Clubhouse building, it was determined that restoration of this
structure for hotel and restaurant use was structurally feasible. However, any public use
of the first floor would require reinforcement of beams supporting the floor. The second
and third floor use as guest rooms required no structural modifications. In the Brown
Cottage, the structure was found to be sufficient to meet standards for residential
occupancy (as either a bed a breakfast establishment or as rental apartments) if the south
bearing line supporting the first floor is reinforced and existing termite damage is
In the Moorhead Cottage, it was determined that the framing for the cottage was typical
for a residential use, although some deficiencies were noted. The timber beam members
along bearing line #2 supporting the first floor must be reinforced for any reuse of the
building. If this beam line is reinforced, the structure could support residential loads of
40 lbs per square foot. The structure would have to be substantially modified to support
public uses such as a museum or a library. The only area in the house where the
structure could be substantially reinforced without dramatically altering historically
significant aspects of the building is the first floor, with reinforcement concealed in the
basement. This factor effectively limits public gathering spaces and the Historical
Preservation Society Library to the first floor. Residential is therefore the only acceptable
use for the upper floors.
Project Financial Sustainability
One of the primary goals of the National Park Service as stated in its Cultural Resources
Management Guideline (NPS-28), "is to locate, identify, evaluate, preserve, manage and
interpret qualified cultural resources in such a way that they may be handed to future
generations unimpaired." The Comprehensive Management Plan for the Southwestern
Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Commission states that "an important part of the
commission's mandate is to devise a creative way to protect, interpret and manage those
resources through a cooperative partnership." The protection, interpretation and long
term sustainability of the resources at South Fork is also a primary focus of the 1889
South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical Preservation Society, the organization
that has taken on the responsibility of caring for these resources over the long term.
The initial treatment proposal called for the conversion of the Clubhouse to a hotel and
restaurant and the conversion of the Brown Cottage to a bed and breakfast. The
Moorhead cottage would be used for offices, a house museum and special events.
Revenues from the treatments would be generated from the guest rooms and the
restaurant, and possibly from catered events in the Moorhead Cottage. According to the
Economic Assessment and Visitor Profile Study of AIHP sites, the peak tourism season
at five AIHP sites extended from mid-May to mid-October with a substantial decrease
from mid-October to mid-May. A short seasonal demand for visitor services such as
hotel rooms and restaurant facilities creates serious cash flow difficulties during the off
season. In addition, some concern arose about the ability of St. Michael to support both
a hotel and a bed & breakfast even during the peak visitor season.
The recommended treatment for the structures attempts to strike a balance between the
preservation and interpretation of these resources for visitors while also providing a
means of maintaining these resources through revenue generating uses. The four
apartments proposed for the upper levels of the Moorhead Cottage and the Brown
Cottage should provide a steady stream of revenue which will aid in the upkeep of these
structures. In the Clubhouse, although all of the uses recommended with the exception
of the first floor exhibit area and Historical Society offices are revenue generating, it is
anticipated that the hotel, which occupies the upper two floors of the building, will only
achieve high occupancy levels during the peak visitor months from May until October,
and will generate little revenue during the late fall and winter months from late October
through April. Thus, revenues earned from the restaurant and the rental of the reception
hall will be important to the susta inability of the Clubhouse and its exhibits. The gift
shop, recommended for the ground floor of the Clubhouse adjacent to the exhibit area
and information desk, will also provide revenue for upkeep of the structures.
Project Functional Sustainability
The recommended uses for the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club structures must
also be functionally sustainable through the efforts of the Historical Preservation Society.
Given the dependence on volunteers for much of its work, it is important to provide a
package of visitor attractions and services that is manageable. Working under this
premise, exhibits, the information desk, tour services, and Historical Society offices
should be clustered in one area. In the recommended use distribution, a large exhibit
area, information counter (from which tours may originate), gift shop, and Historical
Society offices are all located adjacent to the Clubhouse's northeast entrance on the first
floor, allowing for one or two persons to provide necessary services. The ground floor
of the Moorhead House, which is the only other exhibit open to visitors and includes the
Society's Library, could be opened for tour groups. It is anticipated that the
recommended public functions will require between one and two full time personnel.
The initial treatment proposal would have located Historical Society offices in Moorhead
Cottage, remote from the Clubhouse (which is anticipated to be the arrival point for most
visitors to the area), which could have resulted in additional staffing demands over and
above the proposed treatment proposal.
D. SITE TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
Vehicular access to the site is provided by Route 869, the principal arterial in the town,
and by Main Street. Signage is essential at both the fork of Route 869 and Main Street
to the north and at Route 869 and Lincoln Street to the south. Signage is critical since
the structures of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club are barely perceptible from
Route 869 due to grade changes and roadside development. All visitors destined for the
South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club should be directed to the Clubhouse.
Vehicular access to the two cottages via Main Street and its spur should be discouraged
for several reasons. First, the spur of Main Street leading to the cottages is not conducive
to increased vehicular traffic given its steep winding incline, relative narrowness and lack
of parking. In addition, increased vehicular traffic on southern Main Street and the spur
in front of the cottages will conflict with plans to provide an interpretive path for
pedestrians and will prevent the development of pedestrian connections among the
remaining historic structures of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.
It is recommended that a service road be developed from Franklin Street behind the line
of structures to the south and west of Main Street to the Brown and Moorhead Cottages,
along the path of the historic carriageway. No roads were developed to the north and
east of the cottages and Clubhouse until after the dam collapse of 1889. The
development of the carriageway route and the de-emphasis of Main Street as a vehicular
connector between the structures would greatly aid in improving the setting for historic
interpretation of the Club site. The development of this carriageway may also permit the
limited relocation of driveways and parking areas from the southwest curb of Main Street
to locations behind the buildings lining this street.
Given the constraints of road access, visibility, and parcel size, it is recommended that
all visitors to the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club be directed to park in the
designated lot behind the Clubhouse to the west. Only the Clubhouse has sufficient land
area to accommodate more than a handful of visitors. The Clubhouse is also the most
visible of the structures from Main Street and Route 869. This would be a logical location
for all visitor parking given the location of the visitors orientation center, restaurant,
conference space and hotel in this building. In addition, the parking on the site adjacent
to the Clubhouse can be located so as to have a minimal visual impact on the principal
building porch and entrance which were designed to face Lake Conemaugh. It is
recommended that all parking be located in a continuous bay adjacent to the service alley
on the building's southwest side. Access to a kitchen/ storage platform can also be
provided from this lot.
If substantial parking were provided adjacent to the entrances of the Moorhead or Brown
Cottages as originally planned, the wooded ridge which was part of the 1889 setting for
the cottages would be substantially altered. Such an action would undermine attempts
to interpret the setting of these two cottages and therefore is not recommended.
The limited parking that is required for the residents of apartments in both the Brown
and Moorhead Cottages should be provided on a cleared plateau to the rear of these
structures, adjacent to the historic access road. It is recommended that four parking
spaces be provided for the Brown Cottage and six for the Moorhead Cottage.
The visitor experience should begin with the visitor orientation facilities provided at the
Clubhouse. From this location, the visitor will be encouraged to walk to the other
waysides and exhibits along Main Street using portions of the historic boardwalk which
is recommended for reconstruction. This boardwalk will connect the Clubhouse and the
Annex with the Brown Cottage, the Moorhead Cottage and three other more modest
cottage structures along the route. The walkway would take the place of an existing
gravel roadside parking area on the southwest side of Main Street and will terminate at
the steps of the Moorhead Cottage. The' reconstruction of the boardwalk is the clearest
way to visually and physically link the cottages together.
Landscape and View Corridor Improvements
The cottages of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club were nestled at the edge of a
rich mixed deciduous forest with oaks, maples, hemlock, tulips and ash. Understory
plant species included wild cherry, dogwoods, rhododendron and mountain laurel. The
cottages faced out onto a continuous pedestrian boardwalk and a grassy shoreline which
changed with the level of Lake Conemaugh. Fragments of the deciduous forest can still
be viewed on the rise behind the Brown and Moorhead cottages. As part of the
development of an overall plan for the Club site, native deciduous tree species and
appropriate understory planting should be developed along the southwestern edge of the
pedestrian boardwalk. Areas in front of the cottages and Clubhouse should only feature
lower plantings appropriate to the setting. A continuous planting scheme adjacent to the
boardwalk would help to strengthen the connection between the cottages and would
provide an effective transition between the cottages, Clubhouse, boardwalk and more
contemporary structures along Main Street.
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VII. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
Avenues for further study fall into four general categories-the continuation of family
research and context studies, further technical studies that should be undertaken before
any rehabilitation commences, the supplemental physical investigation that can be made
during the cleanout and demolition phases, and additional marketing analysis.
In the process of preparing this report, the project team identified and contacted over
sixty descendants of the eighteen known or suspected cottage owners and other key
families, such as the Ungers, who would be most likely to have photographs of scenes
in and around the Club. This potentially rich source of historical information must
continue to be developed. The 1889 South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Historical
Preservation Society should appoint one member or, if funds permit, retain a consultant
to be the point of contact for receipt and follow up of this information.
In addition, before any interpretive material or exhibits are prepared, further research
into other mountain club resorts of the era and of Pittsburgh clubs should be undertaken
to better establish a context for understanding the social and recreational life of the South
Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.
Further technical studies should include the following:
1. Tests for the location of the piers for the south porch at the Moorhead Cottage
and for piers or posts along the suspected line of the rear entrance ramp.
2. Although of lesser importance, a test for the posts or piers of a possible rear
entrance ramp at the Brown Cottage would add to the understanding of this
The area now suspected of having the legendary two story outhouse behind
the Clubhouse Annex was covered with debris when the original
archaeological study was done. The area is now clear and should be tested.
1 . Before any of the four buildings in this study is rehabilitated, the exterior
wood surfaces should be tested further to determine the original color
schemes. Preliminary conclusions are offered in this report where possible,
but should not be used as a final basis for a color scheme.
2. More tests of interior surfaces will be necessary at the Moorhead Cottage
before any rooms are restored as exhibit rooms depicting life in the cottage in
the 1883-1889 period.
Additional physical investigation of the buildings during the clean out and demolition
phases should include the following.
1 . The floor in the large north first floor room should yield more clues as to whether
a check in desk existed between Rooms 108 and 109.
2. The area above the ceiling of the existing kitchen will yield further information
on original use and finishes of rooms in these areas.
1. Although not essential for the intended reuse of this cottage, careful cleanout and
demolition work should expose enough of the structure of this building to better
explain the relationship between the large entry room and the stair hall.
A close inspection of the rear porch framing and surrounding sheathing will
confirm whether the rear porch originally had an upper deck.
The removal of the aluminum siding will expose the original facade and provide
evidence for the outline and construction connections of the portion of the
south porch that has been removed.
The removal of the aluminum siding as well as the removal of modern materials
from the rear porch will provide further evidence of the size, detailing, and
construction details of the rear second level deck which connected to the rear
1. The removal of the existing cladding and porches will provide clues for the
original extent and configuration of the front porch, for the connection, if any,
of the second floor rear ramp to the suspected two-story outhouse, and for any
changes in the front and rear second floor windows.
1. A marketing analysis specific to St. Michael which would address the specific
treatment recommendations in this document should be initiated. The new study
should incorporate and take advantage of all previous studies referred to on page
264 of this HSR.
Research was conducted in several major repositories:
Allegheny County Courthouse and County Office Building
Cambria County Courthouse
Cambria County Library
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Johnstown Flood Museum
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation
State Archives, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
In addition, extensive oral history interviews and personal correspondence were
undertaken with member families, past occupants, local residents, and other historians
Contemporaneous Flood Accounts
Beale, David J., Through the Johnstown Flood: The Lists of the Dead/By a Survivor.
Connelly, Frank, and George C. Jenks, Official History of the Johnstown Flood.
Pittsburg: Journalist Publishing Co., 1889.
Dieck, Herman, The Johnstown Flood. Philadelphia: H. Dieck, 1889.
Johnson, Willis Fletcher, History of the Johnstown Flood. Philadelphia: Edgewood
Publishing Co., 1889. Also Philadelphia: J. W. Keeler & Co., 1889.
McLaurin, John James, The Story of Johnstown. Harrisburg: J. M. Place, 1890.
Ogilvie, John Stuart. History of the Great Flood in Johnstown, Pa., May 31, 1889.
New York: 1889.
Walker, James Herbert, The Johnstown Horror!!! or, Valley of Death. Philadelphia:
These accounts reflect the Victorian sensibility for melodrama in their reporting of the events
surrounding the flood. More than a dozen books were published within a year of the Rood, many
without the benefit of research and documentation. The veracity of their information, particularly that
regarding the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, must therefore be suspect. For a good analysis of
these accounts, see Mark Selvaggio, "Contemporary Books on the 1889 Johnstown Flood," Cite AB, 7
August 1989, 397-405.
Contemporaneous Newspaper Accounts
Johnstown Daily Tribune
Johnstown Weekly Tribune
New York Sun
Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette
These accounts vary in their accuracy, but they serve to at least document perceptions of the Club at
Published Sources and Unpublished Reports
Caldwell, John Alexander, Illustrated Historical Combination Atlas of Cambria
County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: 1890.
This is a standard reference work and the source for two early maps.
Degen, Paula and Carl, The Johnstown Flood of 1889. Philadelphia: Eastern Acorn
This heavily illustrated account contains no footnotes and a limited bibliography, and its
accuracy is in question.
Gaul, Harriet A. and Ruby Eiseman, "Gods of the Mountains," John Alfred Brashear:
Scientist and Humanitarian, 1840-1920. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press, 1940.
This chapter of Brashear's biography discusses the activities of the Conservatory Club in and
around South Fork, and mentions the participation of some Club members.
McCullough, David, The Johnstown Flood. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.
Considered to be one of the definitive works on the subject, McCullough's book is thoroughly
researched and provides an excellent context for the South Fork story. Certain information in it
has been found to be inaccurate through the research for this report, but it is generally quite
reliable. Mr. McCullough was contacted in an effort to discuss his work and possibly gain
access to his research notes, but he did not respond.
Margaret M. Mulrooney, A Legacy of Coal: The Coal Company Towns of
Southwestern Pennsylvania. HABS/HAER Draft, dated 1888. In Collection of
Johnstown Flood Museum Archives.
It has been suggested by Carmen DeCiccio, Coal Industry Historian for the Pennsylvania
Historical and Museum Commission, that the conclusions drawn in this study regarding mining
housing practices are based on a small sample and should not be taken to be necessarily
representative of the treatment of the Moorhead and Knox Cottages under mining company
O'Connor, Richard, Johnstown The Day The Dam Broke. Philadelphia: 1957.
O'Connor's treatment of the South Fork Club focuses on the negative attitudes and actions
toward the Club after the flood. His report is undocumented, but nonetheless quite specific, in
describing discussions between reporters and Club members immediately after the disaster.
The Pittsburgh and Allegheny Blue-Book. Pittsburgh: Various Dates.
This was useful in identifying and locating living descendants of Club members.
Rayburn, Ella, with Architectural Section by Sally Small, ed. Harlan Unrau, Historic
Structures Report, Elias J. Unger House. Denver: National Park Service,
This report is thorough and well-documented, and contains quite a bit pertaining to
the South Fork Club. Particularly useful are the professional profiles of Club members.
Shappee, Nathan, A History of Johnstown and The Great Flood of 1889: A Study in
Disaster and Rehabilitation. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of
Pittsburgh, 1940. Published 1975.
Shappee's study is thoroughly researched and his sources carefully documented. His
bias against the Club and its members colors his interpretation of some of the facts, and some of
his information has been found to be inaccurate through the research for this report.
Smith, Percy F., Notable Men of Pittsburgh and Vicinity. Pittsburgh: Press of
Pittsburgh Publishing Co., 1901.
This was useful in preparation of the biographies and was the source for most of the member
The Social Register. New York: Social Register Assocation, various dates.
This was useful in identifying and locating living descendants of Club members.
Storey, Henry Wilson, History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania. 3 Vols. New York:
This is a standard reference work.
Unrau, Harlan, Historic Structures Report, South Fork Dam. Denver: National Park
This is an excellent resource. Its use of Tribune articles is useful, though not always accurate.
Charles Guggenheim, "The Scene of the Crime," American Heritage, November
This article features a number of Louis Semple Clarke photographs. It received the approval of
Virginia Anthony Cooper, Clarke's granddaughter, prior to publication, with the exception of
the title, which was assigned after her review.
Inland Architect and News Record. Various dates.
Brickbuilder. Various dates.
The Inland Architect and Brickbuilder were used in researching the Club members' use of
architects in Pittsburgh, in an effort to determine the possible involvement of any Pittsburgh
architects at South Fork.
Berwind-White Coal Mining Company Expenditure Approval Forms, dated
14 September 1915 and 29 November 1921. In private collection of Frank
South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Guest Register, featuring entries dated July 28,
1881 through June 12, 1886. In Johnstown Rood Museum Archives.
"South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, Conemaugh Lake, Regatta and Feast of
Lanterns," program dated 22 August 1885. In Johnstown Flood Museum
South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Stock Certificate No. 95, in the name of James
W. Brown, dated 26 October 1886. In private collection of Alice Reed Tucker
Allegheny County Records, Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh, PA
Cambria County Court Records, Cambria County Courthouse, Ebensburg, PA
Cambria County Recorder of Deeds, Cambria County Courthouse, Ebensburg, PA.
The deed and mortgage records were used to trace ownership of the properties under study and to
determine which Club members had the closest involvement with the club facilities. These records also
provided the Sechler and Wilmore Coal Company maps of the Club property. The Club charters are
recorded in the Charter Books. The Will Books were consulted in an effort to trace disposition of the
Club property and the members' interests in it.
1890 Map of Adams Township. In Caldwell, John Alexander, Illustrated Historical
Combination Atlas of Cambria County Pennsylvania.
1890 Map of Croyle Township. In Caldwell, John Alexander, Illustrated Historical
Combination Atlas of Cambria County, Pennsylvania.
1900 Fowler, T. M., Bird's Eye View of South Fork, Pennsylvania. Morrisville: T.
M. Fowler & James B. Moyer, 1900.
1904 Johnstown Quadrangle, U.S. Geological Survey (1"=62,500').
1907 Map of Conemaugh Lake, Situate in Adams and Croyle Townships, surveyed
for George M. Wertz. Fetterman & C. (1"=200').
1907 Plan of St. Michael, as Laid Out by John L. Sechler. Fetterman Eng. Co.
c.1925 Maryland No. 1 Shaft, Berwind-White Coal Mining Co., St. Michael, PA.
1954 Map Showing Surface to be Conveyed by the Wilmore Coal Co. to the
Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. B.-W. C. M. Co. (1"=100').
1955 Map Showing Old Lake Cottage Properties Situate St. Michael. B.-W. C. M.
1964 Geistown Quadrangle, U. S. Geological Survey (1 "=24,000'), Revised 1972.
An analysis of the maps is included in Section III.A., South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club Site and in
Appendix B.5., Map Analysis. They have been useful in determining the numbers and locations of
original Club buildings.
1881- Lewis Semple Clarke Photographs, in Virginia Anthony Cooper Collection.
1888 These are by far the most useful source available on the South Fork Fishing and
Hunting Club. They depict the setting, the buildings, the activities, and the people.
1887- Alice Reed Tucker Collection.
1889 These four images depict the Brown family, their cottage, and the site after the flood.
c.1889 Irving London Collection.
This collection of views of the dam, the lake, and the Club just after the flood is housed at the
Archives of the Johnstown Flood Museum. Unfortunately, they have been dispersed throughout
the archives, and were unavailable for study. Only photocopies of the images, included in the
Historic Structures Report on the South Fork Dam, were accessible for this report.
c.1889 Histed, Pittsburgh, PA, Photographer,
No. 6, "Bed of Lake, looking from top of broken Dam."
No. 18, "Broken Dam from Roadway."
These two views are two of 49 that Histed listed for sale, and show the Clubhouse and cottages,
but not visibly enough to discern details. They are located in the Pennsylvania State Archives,
MG-286, Penn Central Railroad Collection, Subgroup Conrail Public Affairs Office, Series
Photographs, Box 3.
c.1928 Slanoc Collection
-1960 This family collection contains several photographs which document conditions in the Brown
Cottage during the mid-twentieth century. They are referenced in the Architectural Data
1967 Aerial View. Kimball Eng., Ebensburg.
Patternbooks and Architectural Studies
Comstock, William T., Country Houses and Seaside Cottages of the Victorian Era.
New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1989. Slightly revised republication of
original Comstock publication, American Cottages . . .. New York: William
T. Comstock, Architectural Publisher, 1883.
, Victorian Domestic Architectural Plans and Details.
New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1987. Slightly revised republication of
original Comstock Publication, Modern Architectural Designs and Details . . ..
New York: William T. Comstock, Architectural Publisher, 1881.
Downing, Andrew Jackson, Victorian Cottage Residences. New York: Dover
Publications, Inc., 1981. Reprint of the 1873 edition of Cottage Residences . . .
one of many beginning in 1842.
Palliser's Model Homes. Bridgeport, CT: Palliser, Palliser & Co., 1878. Republished
in Felton, CA: Glen wood Publishers, 1972.
Roberts, E. L., Roberts' Illustrated Millwork Catalog. New York: Dover Publications,
Inc., 1988. Unabridged republication of the original work, Chicago: E. L.
Roberts & Co., 1903.
Scully, Vincent (introduction), The Architecture of the American Summer. New
York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1989.
Shoppell, R. W. et al, Turn-of -the Century Houses, Cottages and Villas. New York:
Dover Publications, Inc., 1983. A compilation of designs from two Shoppell
publications dating to 1890 and one dating to 1900.
Woodward, George E., Woodward's Country Homes. New York: George E.
Woodward, 1865. Republished by the American Life Foundation.
Absent any documentation of the involvement of architects in the design of the buildings at South Fork,
these sources were used to suggest precedents for both the cottages and the Clubhouse and to determine
possible original plans and details where no other evidence survives.
(Addresses and phone numbers available in Appendix A.4., Oral History Resources)
Brunberg, Evelyn Miller, interview with Eliza Brown, 20 October 1992.
Mrs. Brunberg moved into the north side of the Brown Cottage with her parents, the George
Millers, in 1921. Her parents continued to live there until c.1948.
Cummings, Jennie, interview with Eliza Brown, Rita Edelman, Ellis Schmidlapp,
and Anne-Marie Lubenau, 14 October 1992.
Mrs. Cummings currently lives in the Suydam Cottage.
Davis, Mrs., interview with Rita Edelman and Anne-Marie Lubenau, 13 October
Mrs. Davis lives across from the "Rose of Sharon House," where the supposed foundations of a
boathouse still exist.
Hay man, Mrs. Ray, interview with Eliza Brown, 10 November 1992.
Mrs. Hayman lived in the north side of the Brown Cottage with her husband and children from
1950 until c.1957.
Hoffman, Mrs. Janet Cruikshank, interview with Eliza Brown, 15 November 1992.
Mrs. Hoffman's family owned the Clubhouse from 1921 to 1950.
Hubeny, Lisa, conversation with Eliza Brown, September 1992.
Ms. Hubeny is with the Frick Foundation and, absent a curator of the Frick Archives, is the
current administrator of the collection.
Knudsen, Pat Patterson, interview with Eliza Brown, 19 October 1992.
Mrs. Knudsen's mother grew up in the north side of the Brown Cottage while her parents, the
George Millers, were tenants there (c.1921-1948). At roughly the same time, her father, Harry
Patterson, Jr. grew up in the north side of the Moorhead Cottage with his parents (c.1932-1965).
Oldham, Sewell, interview with Eliza Brown and Rita Edelman, 8 October 1992.
Mr. Oldham was a surveyor for Berwind -White Coal Mining Company from 1926 to about 1978.
Patterson, Mr. & Mrs. Harry, Jr., interview with Eliza Brown, 20 October 1992.
Mr. Patterson lived in the north side of the Moorhead Cottage with his parents (c.1932-1965.
Mrs. Patterson lived in the north side of the Brown Cottage with her parents, the George Millers
Singer, Dwaine, interview with Eliza Brown, 10 November 1992.
Mr. Singer grew up in the Brown Cottage with his parents, the Clarence Singers, from birth
(1932) until 1953. The family owned it until 1979.
Slanoc, Lynn Singer, interview with Eliza Brown, 27 October 1992.
Slanoc, Lynn Singer, interview with Eliza Brown and Rita Edelman, 5 November 1992.
Mrs. Slanoc grew up in the Brown Cottage with her parents, the Clarence Singers,
from her birth in 1946 until adulthood. The family owned it until 1979.
Tucker, Alice Reed (Mrs. Richard B., Jr.), interview with Eliza Brown, 8 August 1992.
Mrs. Tucker is James Brown's granddaughter and has photographs and other Club-related
Wingard, Woodrow, interview with Eliza Brown and Rita Edelman, 5 November 1992.
Mr. Wingard lived in the north side of the Moorhead Cottage with his parents (1926-1931). His
sister, Margaret Singer, lived in the north side of the Brown Cottage (1957-1979).
<rUS GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 1993-840 227
As the nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for
most of our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering sound use of
:>ur land and water resources; protecting our fish, wildlife, and biological diversity; preserving the
environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historical places; and providing for the
enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The department assesses our energy and mineral
-esources and works to ensure that their development is in the best interests of all our people by
mcouraging stewardship and citizen participation in their care. The department also has a major
esponsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who live in island territories
inder U.S. administration.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission is a federally appointed
rganization within the Department of the Interior. The commission is a catalyst for partnership efforts
o conserve, interpret, and promote the sites, landscapes, and stories of America's industrial heritage
, a southwestern Pennsylvania. Through this conservation and commemoration effort, the commission
all also stimulate economic development in the region. This product was prepared for the commission
•hrough a partnership effort with the National Park Service.
fPS D-88 Volume 1 of 2 December 1993