About the Grand Halle

Our History

Over the past decade, The Grand Halle on Broad Street has become one of the region’s premier event venues. Formerly known as the Immaculate Conception Church, this building was the third one erected to serve the parish of St. Mary’s, which was established in Cambria City in 1859 to serve ethnic-German Roman Catholics. 

Located on the grounds of the original St. Mary’s Church, which was destroyed in the Johnstown Flood of 1889, this building was developed in 1907-08 to replace the second church building, then located on the other side of Broad Street. Immaculate Conception survived the Saint Patrick’s Day Flood of 1936, the 1977 Flood, and two destructive fires during the 1980’s, one caused by arson and the other by a lightning strike. This parish remained active in Cambria City until July of 2009, when it closed as part of a five-parish consolidation carried out by the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.

During two years of vacancy, a group called “Save our Steeples” worked to save the building through special events and fund-raising. Then, in late 2011 a nonprofit organization, 1901 Church, Inc., stepped forward and purchased Immaculate Conception and two other former church buildings that had been closed during the parish consolidation.

1901 Church launched The Steeples Project to find adaptive reuses for all three buildings and reopened Immaculate Conception as “The Grand Halle on Broad Street” on Labor Day weekend in 2012. Improvements since then have repaired both the main and side roofs, made the building fully accessible, expanded restrooms, developed a catering room, installed air conditioning, and gathered all of the equipment and furnishings needed to make the Halle a fully functioning events venue and concert hall. Through funding provided by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Cambria City Cultural Partnership, the 1889 Foundation for the Alleghenies and an anonymous donor, a $500,000 renewal project was completed in 2020.

Designed by architect William P. Ginther, distinctive features of this building include the Gothic revival arches, groin vaults, trusses, and columns; exterior Hummelstown brownstone trim, caps, gargoyles and spires; Munich-style stained glass; and a ca. 1900 Adam Stein pipe organ with 32 ranks and 2,000 pipes. The organ in particular remains a rich, resonant, and functional instrument, and it is often featured during music performances and wedding ceremonies. Additionally, the organ is recognized by the Organ Historical Society and listed under their database.

The Grand Halle is owned by 1901 Church Inc, a 501(c)(3) corporation, which sponsors The Steeples Project. Our mission is to transform historic, former ethnic church buildings into dynamic venues within the Cambria City Cultural District of Johnstown, PA. For more information, visit our website at www.steeplesproject.org