The Lemon House (Illustrations Nos. 1 and 2) is a two story stone structure located between Johnstown and Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, about 400 feet north of the intersection of U. S. Route 22 and the rural road to Gallitzin which enters route 22 3/4 of a mile west of the so-called "Skew Arch Bridge" (Map, Illustration No. 3). It is situated along the trace of the Allegheny Portage Railroad at the summit of inclined plane no. 6. That railroad was the thirty-six mile link across the Allegheny Mountains connecting the eastern and western portions of the Pennsylvania Canal, rival of the Erie Canal. The railroad was an engineering triumph which accomplished its objective by means of ten stationary engine complexes hoisting and lowering cars up and down the mountain ridges.
The significance of the Lemon House rests with its relationship to the Portage Railroad. It is believed that the original builder and owner of the house, Samuel Lemon, constructed it both as a residence for himself and a tavern and hostelry to serve the passengers and laborers of the railway. Along with innkeeping, Lemon contracted with the railroad to supply water, timber, coal, horses, and other supplies and services. It is said that Lemon discovered coal on his property and enlarged his wealth by selling it not only to the railroad but to many buyers along the route, such as the iron and steel industry which abounds in the vicinity. The coal mine shaft is believed to be located near a grove of hemlocks across the trace of the railroad and north of the Lemon House. Local people believe that the former owner of the Lemon property, Byron Roberts, filled in the shaft for safety reasons. There still is a slight depression in the ground where the mine is said to be located.
There were undoubtedly a number of outbuildings associated with the Lemon House. Today, however, the only structure other than the house, is a barn standing along the trace just across the Gallitzin road. It is not regarded as a historic structure but its stone foundation and proximity to the railroad suggest that it could be the site and ruin of some service building associated with the operation of the engine house which was situated several feet east of the barn along the trace.
As to the stone quarry, this is more accurately described as a long rocky outcropping along the north edge of the railroad trace of inclined plane No. 6.
Last Updated: 2009