Johnstown Area Heritage Association has launched an emergency campaign to raise funds to repair the Frank & Sylvia Pasquerilla Heritage Discovery Center’s elevator.

The hydraulic elevator’s piston, which is a custom part, has broken and must be replaced, along with other refurbishments.

The project will cost around $90,000.

“As board chair, and the son of Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla, this facility has both personal and cultural meaning to me,” said Mark Pasquerilla, who organized the fundraising campaign. 

“We need to keep this wonderful facility accessible to our community and visitors.”

The Heritage Discovery Center building was built to house the Germania Brewery in 1907. At that time, land was expensive in Cambria City and gravity was a key part of the brewing process, so they constructed a five-story building.

JAHA purchased the building in 1992 and opened the first two floors as the Heritage Discovery Center in 2001.

The second phase of the building, including the Johnstown Children’s Museum, Ethnic Social Club, additional gallery space and the Iron & Steel Gallery, were opened in 2009.

“Accessibility is important to meet our mission and it’s a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Richard Burkert, JAHA’s president and CEO. 

“It’s challenging to raise this amount of money for this vital need, even as we are fundraising for our annual fund and other projects. We’re grateful to Mark for taking a lead role in this effort.”

Since the fundraising effort launched on the GoFundMe platform on Jan. 8, $11,825 has been raised.

“We’re grateful to everyone who’s donated so far,” Pasquerilla said. 

“There’s a long way to go, but the initial response is encouraging. No donation is too small.”

Those wishing to donate to the campaign can do on on  AHA’s Facebook page at, or website at

Checks designated “Elevator Fund” can be mailed to JAHA, P.O. Box 1889, Johnstown, Pa. 15907. 

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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