Cambria City was a booming ethnic enclave of Johnstown in the later 1800’s and early 1900’s. With a population that once exceeded 2,500 (in a 24 acre area), its residents kept the Cambria Iron Works humming. Now the story here is a familiar refrain, steel mills closed, lost jobs, and population declines. There are simply too many houses in Johnstown, and not enough people with meaningful work to maintain them.
Despite Cambria City’s economic predicament, there remain many monuments to better times, most notably a collection of spectacular churches. Each church has its own ethnic identity and background, although today some have been merged and are no longer operational. In 2008, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese announced it would merge five separate parishes into one, largely due to what it said were declining membership roles and maintenance costs. The combined parish is now know as Resurrection Parish, and is housed in the former St. Stephens (Slovak) church. The other parishes include Immaculate Conception (German heritage), St. Columba’s (Irish heritage), Sts. Casimir and Emerich (Polish and Hungarian heritage) , and St. Rochus (Croatian heritage).