JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Roxbury Bandshell has been a staple in Johnstown since it opened in 1939 as part of President Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration. The goal was to get people back into the workforce as the country moved towards the end of The Great Depression.
“During that time President Roosevelt designated 27 bandshells to be built across the United States. Johnstown has the final and last only remaining left,” President of the Roxbury Bandshell Preservation Alliance Mary Borkow said.
The Bandshell needed major renovations and was slated to be demolished in the early 2000s, but in 2006 the Roxbury Bandshell Preservation Alliance was formed. They raised the necessary funds to preserve it, and now listening to concerts has become a Sunday tradition for many families.
“When this was built there weren’t any microphones or speakers or anything so it was acoustically built so that the sound could go out through the valley so this sound carries through all the homes you see around will sit on their porches and listen to the concerts,” Borkow said. “You could be way at the tennis courts. You can hear so clearly all the way at the top of the hill and all the way down Franklin Street.”
Since the renovation the bandshell has been able to hold 12-14 concerts each year as part of their free summer concert series.
“Just a vibrant exciting and it’s just so much fun. Everyone just walks around laughing and giggling and it really does take people out of sometimes their own real situations in the real world,” Borkow said. “You don’t have to have one penny and you can come here and have a great evening in the park.”
The first concert is held on Memorial Day weekend each year and the series runs until mid September.