Northern Cambria
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Northern Cambria - BUSINESSES
Northern Cambria - RESOURCES
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Northern Cambria - SCHOOLS

Northern Cambria

The borough of Northern Cambria was established January 1st, 2000 -- making it the newest town in Cambria County. It was formed by the consolidation of Barnesboro Borough and Spangler Borough. (Kinda miss the sound of that Barnesboro Borough, though Northern Cambria, Cambria County is almost as good...)

Located along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in northwestern Cambria County, the Northern Cambria area was settled in the 1830s when loggers moved to the area to cut timber, which they floated down the Susquehanna. As the land was cleared, much of it was taken up for farmland.

The area remained sparsely populated through the Civil War era. It came to be known as Hidden Valley -- a remote area favored for hiding escaped slaves making their way north.

And nothing much changed through the 1870s. Then in the late 1880s the rich coal deposits of the area began to attract attention. A group of wealthy industrialist-politicians formed the Blubaker Coal Company in 1887, and began buying up coal lands in the area. In 1890 they purchased a parcel of land from Joseph Gray and began making plans for a town. Lots were sold in 1892 and the Pennsylvania Railroad was persuaded to build a branch into the town for shipping the coal. By 1893 the community was incorporated into a borough, named Spangler in honor of one of the Blubaker founders.

Nearby, other coal companies were taking advantage of the rail facilities, and Northern Barnsboro was established to house their workers. Named after Thomas Barnes who had a nearby coal mine, the town was later called simply Barnsboro when it was incorporated in 1894.

These two towns grew rapidly and built up all of the services and facilities needed to accomodate the miners and their families. Barnsboro even had an Opera House in the early 1900s. An electric power plant was built there in 1898, and town became a supply center for the farmers in the area as well. Spangler had a bank and a brewery in 1904, and Barnsboro produced a newspaper that served both communities.

In 1930 a shirt factory was opened in Barnesboro, but overall coal mining remained the main industry in the area up until the 1980s. Changes in mining techniques and increased mechinization means that modern coal mining requires far fewer workers than in the 'old days' so in recent years the means of livlihood has become more diversified. With the dawn of the new century, it became clear to the two communities that would benefit from combining their resources, and so Northern Cambria was born.

Visit American History for more information on towns in this area.