Nestled along the West Penn Trail and the Conemaugh River just beyond highway 22 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, down a long country road, inhabits a few dark and mysterious creatures that may deliver a certain fear into the strongest of men once they dare to come face to face with them. It is not any one particular entity that can be seen by the human eye, although a few lay claims to having witnessed their terrifying form; but they can definitely be felt on just about any given night by the many of us who sense that uncanny fear for the unnatural things that exist within our universe.
If this hasn't gotten your attention then maybe a few restless ghosts, wandering apparitions, sunken buildings, and ethereal mist that hovers will do the trick. This is only some of what you will find when you visit the diminished under-water town of Livermore, Pennsylvania. Once a booming community during the 1800's, flooding by the Flood Control Act of the United States Congress permanently silenced the community forever, or so they thought.
When our group visited Livermore a few years ago, we were not let down. It possessed an eerie feeling that encompassed all twelve of us. The mist hovered over our heads when we walked across the bride. Below, there were a few remnants of what used to be once a town. Flooding has hidden away most of what was, but we managed to find some treasures from the past once we scaled the hill and zoomed in closer.
Livermore, Pennsylvania was established in 1827 and grew slightly once a railroad and canal were firmly put into place. Some of the local legends has it that a witch was drawn to the beauty of the area and eventually made the town her home, enchanting the residents with her powers. However not all of the good people were bewitched by her spells, and it has been said that the towns people burned her to death, and she cursed the town to damaging floods while her flesh burned into that of a corpse.
Unfortunately the witches curse was coming into play as a severe flood on the anniversary of her death in 1889 permanently closed the bustling canal that once allowed travel from Johnstown to Pittsburgh along with connections to nearby Blairsville and Saltsburg. In 1936 Livermore once again succumbed to flood waters, submerging the buildings and residents to flood waters reaching 18 feet.
The great St. Patrick's Day flood was the towns beginning of the end of Livermore as structural damages to the small town was much too severe to fully recuperate its former status. One resident died from the flood and $500 million in damages was more then the town could handle. The Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938 left Livermore with a future of being fully submerged underwater forever.
Visitors to Livermore claim that you can see images of the structures that once stood mirrored on the surface of the water, and when the water levels get low you can see roof tops and chimneys of the homes that once made Livermore a town. Screeching noises from no apparent source, distinct howling noises, dark images, ghostly figures, red eyes, and a foul smell that will leave your hair standing on end are only some of the reports that people have stated feeling, seeing or smelling in the past. The cemetery is another story within itself. The feeling of being followed and watched never leaves you through your whole visit to the resting place of the damned.
The old Livermore Cemetery now rests on top of the hill above the sunken town where the deceased once lived. It was a requirement by the Flooding Act that it be moved due to contamination of disturbing buried coffins by means of purposely flooding the area. However the legend tells us that the cemetery was moved so that the dead could rest below the dirt instead of water. You will find the haunted graveyard at the end of Livermore road, which also happens to be the entrance to the West Penn Trail.
The Livermore Cemetery sign is still intact and it is the original that was used in the black and white version of Night of the Living Dead, the actual movie itself was filmed an hour away in Evans City, Pennsylvania. Some of the hot spots in Livermore include dated bridges, with the most popular being at the beginning of the West Penn trail. Once you have passed the gate, make a left and at this bridge your fate awaits you in the form of fear.
When visiting Livermore make sure to proceed with caution as police do patrol the area. Respect the graves of the deceased or they will haunt you forever. Take a camera, flashlight, extra batteries, and quite possibly some extra underwear "just in case."
Livermore is sometimes referred to as "Satan's Seat" due to the complex nature of the repeated floods that never allowed the town to replenish itself into a healthy form, but rather it remained contaminated by murky waters that continually kept it lurking into the depths of a damned dampened darkness, and eventually ruins and death.
Livermore, PA. Is located 40 miles east of Pittsburgh. Take I-376 E to Highway 22/E. William Penn Highway. Turn left on Livermore Road and continue straight.