Honan Avenue played a role in many special moments in Paulette Baker’s childhood. On certain Sundays, her family would take the route to services at St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church on Power Street in Johnstown PA.
She would see deer, turkey, lush green trees and rainbows in the mist of a waterfall. But over the years, the road fell into disrepair. Locals Dumped Piles of garbage, tires, appliances and more marring the once beautiful setting.
Now, thanks to the efforts of the Laurel Highlands Historical Village and other local businesses and community organizations, the road has been given new life as the Honan Avenue Community Hiking and Biking Trail.
This beautiful 3.5-mile path, which goes into parts of Johnstown and Middle and East Taylor townships, was dedicated in June of 2015.
“Honan Avenue is now pretty again,” said Paulette Baker, the historical organization’s secretary-treasurer.
Along the way, walkers and bikers can see eagles, a beaver dam and other wildlife while traveling from Johnstown to Hinckston Run Reservoir. The trail also evokes memories of what Lift Johnstown Coordinator, Brad Clemenson called a “really nice community asset.”
“It’s a part of Johnstown’s history,” said Ron Shawley, the historical group’s executive director. “Our mission is to celebrate and preserve the history of our region and to showcase the different ethnicities that were here.”
Mr. Shawley continued,”Honan Avenue, sure it’s a hiking and biking trail, but more importantly, it is a place where people can come and remember what it was like, walking and biking these connector roads back in the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s.”
Laurel Highlands Historical Village members also hope the trail will provide a beautiful, peaceful and quiet refuge for visitors. Being able to offer a “Family Friendly” place to walk or just sit and think. The trail is a great escape for those looking to slow down from the pressures of everyday life.
The group also hopes that Veterans will find the solitude the Honan Avenue Trail provides. The peacefulness will be especially welcomed for veterans dealing with the emotional scars of battle. “I can’t put it into words what it will mean to these individuals,” said Cambria County Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder, an Air Force veteran.