On June 30 my sons and I drove to the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site near Altoona and Ebensburg. One reason I wanted to go there was because an obituary of William Hughey Brown, husband of Mary S. Brown, says he was born “without any advantage of position or education … in Westmoreland county, and during the early days of the old Portage railway, commenced life as a driver on the canal.” William H. Brown was ambitious and innovative. He wanted more out of life than to be a canal boat driver. The story of his rise to immense riches will be told at a later date on this website.
The Portage Railway was the way the problem was solved of getting the canal boats up the steep slopes of the Allegheny Front on their passage from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. It’s an amazing story. Find out more at http://www.nps.gov/alpo/index.htm.