The American Legion is a U. S. war veterans' organization headquartered in Indiana. It is made up of state, U. S. territory, overseas departments, these are in turn made up of local posts. The legislative body of The American Legion is a national convention, held annually; the organization was founded on March 15, 1919, at the American Club near Place de la Concorde in Paris, France, by members of the American Expeditionary Forces, it was chartered on September 16, 1919, by the U. S. Congress; the organization played the leading role in drafting and passing of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, otherwise known as the "GI Bill." In addition to organizing commemorative events, members provide assistance at VA hospitals and clinics. It is active in issue-oriented U. S. politics. Its primary political activity is lobbying on behalf of interests of veterans and service members, including support for benefits such as pensions and the Veterans Health Administration; the organization has historically promoted "Americanism."
Veterans who served at least one day of active duty during wartime, or are serving now, are eligible for membership in The American Legion. Members must have been honorably discharged/discharged under honorable conditions or are still serving honorably. Merchant Marines who served from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946, are eligible. World War I veterans were eligible during their lifetimes. Membership peaked for The American Legion right after World War II, when enrollments doubled from 1.7 million to 3.3 million. After the Korean War, there were 2.5 million Legionnaires. As the baby boomers joined, its membership increased to 3.1 million in 1992. However, membership has been decreasing since then. In 2013, National Headquarters of The American Legion reported 2.3 million members. The aftermath of two American wars in the second half of the 19th century had seen the formation of several ex-soldiers' organizations. Former Union Army soldiers of the American Civil War of 1861–65 established a fraternal organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, while their Southern brethren would join together in the United Confederate Veterans.
Both organizations emerged as powerful political entities, with the GAR serving as a mainstay of the Republican Party, which controlled the Presidency from the Civil War through William Howard Taft's administration except for the two terms of office of Grover Cleveland. In Southern politics the UCV maintained an more dominant position as a bulwark of the Democratic Party which dominated there; the conclusion of the brief Spanish–American conflict of 1898 ushered in another soldiers' organization, the American Veterans of Foreign Service, today known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Concerned about the United States' absence from the world war and the preparedness of its army and navy, magazine editor Arthur Sullivant Hoffman and writer Stephen Allan Reynolds founded The American Legion in February 1915, inspired by a letter from reader E. D. Cook, they lobbied government to strengthen the military. They held a preparedness parade in New York City and made a film America Prepare Officers included Theodore Roosevelt, Arthur S. Hoffman, William Howard Taft, Elihu Root, Jacob M. Dickinson, Henry L. Stimson and Luke E. Wright, George von L. Meyer, Truman H. Newberry and Charles J. Bonaparte.
Its officers were at New York City. In 1917, when war was declared the Legion had 23,000 members skilled in 77 professions pledged to fight, their pledge cards were shared with the government and used to raise two regiments of air mechanics. The Legion was discorporated in 1917. With the termination of hostilities in World War I in November 1918, some American officers, participants in the conflict began to think about creating a similar organization for the two million men, on European duty; the need for an organization for former members of the AEF was immediate. With the war at an end, hundreds of thousands of impatient draftees found themselves trapped in France and pining for home, certain only that untold weeks or months lay ahead of them before their return would be logistically possible. Morale plummeted. Cautionary voices were raised about an apparent correlation between disaffected and discharged troops and the Bolshevik uprisings taking place in Russia, Finland and Hungary; this situation was a particular matter of concern to Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. eldest son of the 26th President.
One day in January 1919, he had a discussion at General Headquarters with a mobilized National Guard officer named George A. White, a former newspaper editor with the Portland Oregonian. After long discussion, he suggested the establishment at once of a new servicemen's organization including all members of the AEF, as well as those soldiers who remained stateside as members of the Army and Marine Corps during the war without having been shipped abroad, he and White advocated ceaselessly for this proposal until they found sufficient support at headquarters to move forward with the plan. General John J. Pershing issued orders to a group of 20 non-career officers to report to the YMCA in Paris on February 15, 1919; the selection of these individuals had been made by Roosevelt. They were joined with a number of regular Army officers Pershing selected himself; the session of reserve and regular officers was instructed to provide a set of laws to curb the problem of declining morale. After three days, the officers presented a series of proposals, including eliminating restrictive regulations, organizing additional athletic and recreational events, expanding leave time and entertainment programs
Santa Monica Mountains
The Santa Monica Mountains is a coastal mountain range in Southern California, paralleling the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Transverse Ranges; because of its proximity to densely populated regions, it is one of the most visited natural areas in California. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is located in this mountain range; the range extends 40 miles east-west from the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County. The western mountains, separating the Conejo Valley from Malibu end at Mugu Peak as the rugged, nearly impassible shoreline gives way to tidal lagoons and coastal sand dunes of the alluvial Oxnard Plain; the mountain range contributed to the isolation of this vast coastal plain before regular transportation routes reached western Ventura County. The eastern mountains form a barrier between the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, separating "the Valley" on the north and west-central Los Angeles on the south; the Santa Monica Mountains are parallel to Santa Susana Mountains, which are located directly north of the mountains across the San Fernando Valley.
The range is of moderate height, with no craggy or prominent peaks outside the Sandstone Peak and Boney Mountains area. While rugged and wild, the range hosts a substantial amount of human activity and development. Houses, roads and recreational centers are dotted throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. A number of creeks in the Santa Monica Mountains are part of the Los Angeles River watershed. Beginning at the western end of the San Fernando Valley the river runs to the north of the mountains. After passing between the range and the Verdugo Mountains it flows south around Elysian Park defining the easternmost extent of the mountains; the Santa Monica Mountains have more than 1,000 archeology sites of significance from the Californian Native American cultures of the Tongva and Chumash people. The mountains were part of their regional homelands for over eight thousand years before the arrival of the Spanish; the Spanish mission system had a dramatic impact on their culture and by 1831, their population had dropped from over 22,000 to under 3,000.
Geologists consider the northern Channel Islands to be a westward extension of the Santa Monicas into the Pacific Ocean. The range was created by repeated episodes of uplifting and submergence by the Raymond Fault that created complex layers of sedimentary rock. Volcanic intrusions have been exposed, including the poorly named, andesitic, "Sandstone Peak" the highest in the range at 3,111 feet. Malibu Creek, which eroded its own channel while the mountains were uplifted, bisects the mountain range; the Santa Monica Mountains have dry summers with frequent coastal fog on the ocean side of the range and wet, cooler winters. In the summer, the climate is quite dry, which makes the range prone to wildfires during dry "Santa Ana" wind events. Snow is unusual in the Santa Monica Mountains, since they are not as high as the nearby San Gabriel Mountains; the highest slopes of the central and western Santa Monica Mountains average as much as 27 inches of rain per year, but 18-22 inches is more typical of the range.
The bulk of the rain falls between March. Rainfall is higher in the central and western parts of the range; this is reflected in the vegetation. The central and western portions of the range support more widespread woodlands than the eastern part of the range, where trees are restricted to the stream courses. On January 17, 2007, an unusually cold storm brought snow in the Santa Monica Mountains; the hills above Malibu picked up three inches of snow - the first measurable snow in five decades. Snow was reported on Boney Peak, in the winter of 2005. Snow fell on the peak of Boney Mountain in late December 2008; the latest recorded snowfall in the area was in February of 2019 where an unusual amount of snowfall accumulated in low passes in the mountains. The storm system brought rare snowfall to the Los Angeles area. Much of the mountains are located within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Preservation of lands within the region are managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the National Park Service, the California State Parks, County and Municipal agencies.
Today, the Santa Monica Mountains face pressure from local populations as a desirable residential area, in the parks as a recreational retreat and wild place that's rare in urban Los Angeles. In 2014 the California Coastal Commission and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program, a land-use plan that will distinguish between the private lands that need strict protection and property that could be developed in strict conformance with this detailed plan. Over twenty individual state and municipal parks are in the Santa Monica Mountains, including: Topanga State Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Point Mugu State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Point Dume State Beach, Griffith Park, Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park, Charmlee Wilderness Park, Franklin Canyon Park, Runyon Canyon Park, King Gillette Ranch Park, Paramount Ranch Park. At the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains are Griffith Park and lastly Elysian Park.
Griffith Park is separated from the rest of the Santa Monica Mountains to the west by the Cahuenga Pass, over which the 101 Freeway passes from the San Fernando Valley into Hollywood. Elysian Park is in the easternmost part of the mountains and is bordered
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
G. Vernon Bennett
Guy Vernon Bennett known as G. Vernon Bennett, was superintendent of schools in Pomona, California. A liberal, he was defeated for reelection after seventeen years in office in the wake of arrest on a morals charge, he was a Democrat. Bennett was born in Waverly, Iowa, on February 17, 1880, he had five siblings, Edward Allen Bennett of Los Angeles, Richard Bennett of Tacoma, Belle Campbell of Guelph, Zellia Campbell of Los Angeles and William M. Bennett. Bennett had at least one son, he was a Kiwanian. While a city councilman, Bennett 65, was taken into custody in Lincoln Park on October 2, 1950, by two police officers who "took a statement from him at the Highland Park Police Station." A complaint was issued by the city attorney's office "charging two morals counts." Bennett pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace," and a charge of lewd vagrancy was dismissed "in the interests of justice." He paid a fine of $100. Bennett, living in Pasadena, died July 31, 1968, at the age of 88. Bennett was working in Gridley, before taking up his position as superintendent of schools in Pomona in July 1914, replacing the retiring schools chief, W.
P. Murphy. Near the end of his first school year, he responded to a statement by University of California President Benjamin Ide Wheeler, who had declared vocational training to be "an attempt of aristocracy to keep children of the laborer in the working class so they couldn't better themselves." Bennett said: That sort of talk is bosh.... If teaching boys how to do interior decorating, lathe work and cabinet-making and teaching girls how to make hats and dresses and custard pies is an aristocratic attempt to tie a millstone around the neck of genius let us become more aristocratic. If we can keep the boys and girls off the street and reduce the number of street-corner loafers by teaching some useful trades in our schools I think it is our duty to do so. Bennett ordained an anti-slang week in April 1915 and ordered that anybody who used slang in Pomona schools be penalized. "I'd like to eliminate such phrases as'hand somebody a lemon,"cut it out,"the once-over,' and a lot of similar expressions," he said.
In 1919 he was appointed head of the local office of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, an agency that retrained returning U. S. servicement. In October 1920, Bennett and Nicholas Ricciardi, director of the vocational office in San Francisco, were attacked by the James B. Gresham Post No. 3, Veterans of Foreign Wars, among other things, "repressive measures." A statement charged Bennett with being "out of harmony with every man engaged in Federal board work in this city."Bennett, who held a doctorate of philosophy, was hired to be an associate professor of education at the University of Southern California, effective with the fall semester, 1926. 1934–35 Bennett attempted a run for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1934, but lost. In February 1935, still a college professor and living at 3017-1/2 Hoover, he took out a nomination petition for the City Council seat in the 10th District, campaigning against the incumbent, E. Snapper Ingram. Bennett was supported by the End Poverty in California movement and opposed by the Los Angeles Times.
Other candidates in the 10th District primaries were a lecturer. Bennett received 5,974 votes to Ingram's 5,810, they faced each other in the finals. In that race, Bennett won by a vote of 8,794 to 8,064.1937 In 1937 Bennett ran as an incumbent against George McLain but without the support of EPIC. He won in the primary, 8,065 to 5,306.1938–39 He lost in another bid for state superintendent of public instruction in 1938. Bennett was known for supporting "liberal" measures in the city council and had the support of Mayor Fletcher Bowron and activist Clifford Clinton, he was the only council member to vote against an April 1939 resolution urging the Dies Committee on Un-American Activities to investigate Communist influence in Los Angeles "as soon as possible." That month he won in the primary election, 9,526 votes to 2,192 for Willard E. Badham, 1,620 for Solly F. Smith and 804 for Allan M. Rose.1941 In 1941, Bennett faced S. Frederic Smith and Mary A. Van Dame. Bennett won, 1,071 for Van Dame.
By that time, Bennett had joined the "anti-Bowron bloc," and when the city council was reorganized in July, he was elected president of the council by a vote of 9 to 6, replacing Robert L. Burns; as council president, he became acting mayor when Bowron was out of town.1942–43 Bennett was elected chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee in September 1942, unseating Claude L. Welch. In late 1941, political reformer Clifford E. Clinton had accused Bennett, with other councilmen, of having misused city automobiles, asking for a grand jury investigation; the issue resurfaced in 1943, an election year, when Council Member Parley P. Christensen accused Bennett of having used a city automobile for an "unauthorized and illegal" trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1937 and on his return, "presenting the city with a bill for gasoline and oil." Bennett denied the charge. In the 1943 election, Bennett was endorsed by the Times, which said that "Although inclined when first elected toward ultra-liberal
Shriners International commonly known as The Shriners or known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, is a society established in 1870 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Shriners International describes itself as a fraternity based on fun and the Masonic principles of brotherly love and truth. There are 350,000 members from 196 temples in the U. S. Canada, Bolivia, the Republic of Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Australia; the organization is best known for the Shriners Hospitals for Children that it administers, the red fezzes that members wear. The organization was known as "Shriners North America"; the name was changed in 2010 across North America, Central America, South America and Southeast Asia. In 1870 there were several thousand Freemasons in Manhattan, many of whom lunched at the Knickerbocker Cottage at a special table on the second floor. There, the idea of a new fraternity for Masons, stressing fellowship, was discussed. Walter M. Fleming, M. D. and William J. Florence took the idea enough to act upon it.
Florence, a world-renowned actor, while on tour in Marseille, was invited to a party given by an Arab diplomat. The entertainment was something in the nature of an elaborately staged musical comedy. At its conclusion, the guests became members of a secret society. Florence took copious notes and drawings at his initial viewing and on two other occasions, once in Algiers and once in Cairo; when he returned to New York in 1870, he showed his material to Fleming. Fleming created the ritual and costumes. Florence and Fleming were initiated August 13, 1870, they initiated 11 other men on June 16, 1871; the group soon established Temples. The first Temple established was Mecca Temple, established at the New York City Masonic Hall on September 26, 1872. Fleming was the first Potentate. In 1875, there were only 43 Shriners in the organization. In an effort to encourage membership, at the June 6, 1876 meeting of Mecca Temple, the Imperial Grand Council of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America was created.
Fleming was elected the first Imperial Potentate. After some other reworking, by 1878 there were 425 members in 13 temples in eight states, by 1888, there were 7,210 members in 48 temples in the United States and Canada. By the Imperial Session held in Washington, D. C. in 1900, there were 82 Temples. By 1938 there were about 340,000 members in the United States; that year Life published photographs of its rites for the first time. It described the Shriners as "among secret lodges the No. 1 in prestige and show", stated that "n the typical city in the Middle West, the Shriners will include most of the prominent citizens."Shriners participate in local parades, sometimes as rather elaborate units: miniature vehicles in themes, an "Oriental Band" dressed in cartoonish versions of Middle Eastern dress. Until 2000, before being eligible for membership in the Shrine, a Mason had to complete either the Scottish Rite or York Rite systems, but now any Master Mason can join. While there are plenty of activities for Shriners, there are two organizations tied to the Shrine that are for women only: The Ladies' Oriental Shrine and the Daughters of the Nile.
They both support the Shriners Hospitals and promote sociability, membership in either organization is open to any woman 18 years of age and older, related to a Shriner or Master Mason by birth or marriage. The Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America was founded in 1903 in Wheeling, West Virginia, the Daughters of the Nile was founded in 1913 in Seattle, Washington; the latter organization has locals called "Temples". There were ten of these in 1922. Among the famous members of the Daughters of the Nile was First Lady Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding; some of the earliest Shrine Centers chose a Moorish Revival style for their Temples. Architecturally notable Shriners Temples include the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the former Mecca Temple, now called New York City Center and used as a concert hall, Newark Symphony Hall, the Landmark Theater in Richmond, the Tripoli Shrine Temple in Milwaukee, the Polly Rosenbaum Building in Phoenix, the Helena Civic Center, Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque in Springfield and the Fox Theatre, jointly built between the Atlanta Shriners and movie mogul William Fox.
The Shrine's charitable arm is the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of twenty-two hospitals in the United States and Canada. In June 1920, the Imperial Council Session voted to establish a "Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children." The purpose of this hospital was to treat orthopedic injuries and conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate, in children. After much research and debate, the committee chosen to determine the site of the hospital decided there should be not just one hospital but a network of hospitals spread across North America; the first hospital was opened in 1922 in Shreveport, by the end of the decade 13 more hospitals were in operation. Shriners Hospitals now provide orthopedic care, burn treatment, cleft lip and palate care, spinal cord inj
Johnstown is a city in Cambria County, United States, 43 miles west-southwest of Altoona and 67 miles east of Pittsburgh. The population was 20,978 at the 2010 census and estimated to be 20,402 in 2013, it is the principal city of the Johnstown, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Cambria County. Johnstown, settled in 1770, has experienced three major floods in its history; the "Great Flood" of May 31, 1889, occurred after the South Fork Dam collapsed 14.1 miles upstream from the city during heavy rains. At least 2,209 people died as a result of the flood and subsequent fire that raged through the debris. Another major flood occurred in 1936. Despite a pledge by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to make the city flood free, subsequent work to do so, another major flood occurred in 1977; the 1977 flood—in what was to have been a "flood free" city—may have contributed to Johnstown's subsequent population decline and inability to attract new residents and businesses. The city is home to five national historic districts: the Downtown Johnstown Historic District, Cambria City Historic District, Minersville Historic District, Moxham Historic District, Old Conemaugh Borough Historic District.
Individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places are the Grand Army of the Republic Hall, Cambria Iron Company, Cambria Public Library Building, Bridge in Johnstown City, Nathan's Department Store, Johnstown Inclined Railway. Archaeological evidence shows. Penn's Woods saw much Native American activity as well as the Quemahoming area. Three distinct tribes migrated and fished in the area. Johnstown was called Conemaugh Old Town in the native Algonquin language. Old Town was linked to the outlying areas by the Stoney Creek, Quemahoming Creek and Conemuagh Rivers joining Johnstown to older settlements on the river including New Florence and Kickenapaulin's. Johnstown was formally organized as a town in 1800 by the Swiss German immigrant Joseph Johns; the settlement was known as "Schantzstadt", but was soon anglicized to Johnstown. From 1834 to 1854, the city was a port and key transfer point along the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. Johnstown was at the head of the canal's western branch, with canal boats having been transported over the mountains via the Allegheny Portage Railroad and refloated here, to continue the trip by water to Pittsburgh and the Ohio Valley.
The most famous passenger who traveled via the canal to visit Johnstown was Charles Dickens in 1842. By 1854, canal transport became redundant with the completion of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which now spanned the state. With the coming of the railroads, the city's growth improved. Johnstown became a stop on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad and was connected with the Baltimore & Ohio; the railroads provided large-scale development of the region's mineral wealth. Iron and steel became central to the town of Johnstown. By 1860, the Cambria Iron Company of Johnstown was the leading steel producer in the United States, outproducing steel giants in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Through the second half of the 19th century, Johnstown made much of the nation's barbed wire. Johnstown prospered from skyrocketing demand in the western United States for barbed wire. Twenty years after its founding, the Cambria Works was a huge enterprise sprawling over 60 acres in Johnstown and employing 7,000, it owned 40,000 acres of valuable mineral lands in a region with a ready supply of iron and limestone.
Floods were a yearly event in the valley during the 1880s. On the afternoon of May 30, 1889, following a quiet Memorial Day ceremony and a parade, it began raining in the valley; the next day water filled the streets, rumors began that a dam holding an artificial lake in the mountains to the northeast might give way. It did, an estimated 20 million tons of water began spilling into the winding gorge that led to Johnstown some 14 miles away; the destruction in Johnstown occurred in only about 10 minutes. What had been a thriving steel town with homes, saloons, a library, a railroad station, electric street lights, a roller rink, two opera houses was buried under mud and debris. Out of a population of 30,000 at the time, at least 2,209 people are known to have perished in the disaster. An infamous site of a major fire during the flood was the old stone Pennsylvania Railroad bridge located where the Stonycreek and Little Conemaugh rivers join to form the Conemaugh River; the bridge still stands today.
The Johnstown flood of 1889 established the American Red Cross as the pre-eminent emergency relief organization in the United States. Founder Clara Barton 67, came to Johnstown with 50 doctors and nurses and set up tent hospitals as well as temporary "hotels" for the homeless, stayed on for five months to coordinate relief efforts; the mills were back in operation within a month. The Cambria Works grew, Johnstown became more prosperous than ever; the disaster strengthened it. Generations would draw on lessons learned in 1889. In the early 20th century, the population reached 75,000 people; the city's first commercial radio station, WJAC, began broadcasts in 1925. The downtown boasted at least five major department stores, including Glosser Brothers, which in the 1950s gave birth to the Gee Bee chain of department stores. However, the St Patrick's Day flood of 1936 combined with the gnawing effects of the Great Depression left Johnstown struggling again, but only temporarily. Johnstown's citizens mobilized to achieve a permanent solution to the
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow, Master Mason; the candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, entrusted with grips and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegorical morality part lecture; the three degrees are offered by Craft Freemasonry. Members of these organisations are known as Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, are administered by their own bodies; the basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge. The Lodges are supervised and governed at the regional level by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient.
There is no worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry. Modern Freemasonry broadly consists of two main recognition groups. Regular Freemasonry insists that a volume of scripture is open in a working lodge, that every member profess belief in a Supreme Being, that no women are admitted, that the discussion of religion and politics is banned. Continental Freemasonry is now the general term for the jurisdictions which have removed some, or all, of these restrictions; the Masonic lodge is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. The Lodge meets to conduct the usual formal business of any small organisation. In addition to business, the meeting may perform a ceremony to confer a Masonic degree or receive a lecture, on some aspect of Masonic history or ritual. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Lodge might adjourn for a formal dinner, or festive board, sometimes involving toasting and song; the bulk of Masonic ritual consists of degree ceremonies. Candidates for Freemasonry are progressively initiated into Freemasonry, first in the degree of Entered Apprentice.
Some time in a separate ceremony, they will be passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, they will be raised to the degree of Master Mason. In all of these ceremonies, the candidate is entrusted with passwords and grips peculiar to his new rank. Another ceremony is officers of the Lodge. In some jurisdictions Installed Master is valued as a separate rank, with its own secrets to distinguish its members. In other jurisdictions, the grade is not recognised, no inner ceremony conveys new secrets during the installation of a new Master of the Lodge. Most Lodges have some sort of social calendar, allowing Masons and their partners to meet in a less ritualised environment. Coupled with these events is the obligation placed on every Mason to contribute to charity; this occurs at both Grand Lodge level. Masonic charities contribute to many fields, such as disaster relief; these private local Lodges form the backbone of Freemasonry, a Freemason will have been initiated into one of these. There exist specialist Lodges where Masons meet to celebrate events, such as sport or Masonic research.
The rank of Master Mason entitles a Freemason to explore Masonry further through other degrees, administered separately from the Craft, or "Blue Lodge" degrees described here, but having a similar format to their meetings. There is little consistency in Freemasonry; because each Masonic jurisdiction is independent, each sets its own procedures. The wording of the ritual, the number of officers present, the layout of the meeting room, etc. varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The officers of the Lodge are appointed annually; every Masonic Lodge has two Wardens, a secretary and a treasurer. There is a Tyler, or outer guard, always present outside the door of a working Lodge. Other offices vary between jurisdictions; each Masonic Lodge exists and operates according to a set of ancient principles known as the Landmarks of Freemasonry. These principles have thus far eluded any universally accepted definition. Candidates for Freemasonry will have met most active members of the Lodge they are joining before they are initiated.
The process varies between jurisdictions, but the candidate will have been introduced by a friend at a Lodge social function, or at some form of open evening in the Lodge. In modern times, interested people track down a local Lodge through the Internet; the onus is on candidates to ask to join. Once the initial inquiry is made, an interview follows to determine the candidate's suitability. If the candidate decides to proceed from here, the Lodge ballots on the application before he can be accepted; the absolute minimum requirement of any body of Freemasons is that the candidate must be free, considered to be of good character. There is an age requirement, varying between Grand Lodges, capable of being overridden by a dispensation from the Grand Lodge; the underlying assumption is that the candidate should