One of the most celebrated events of Johnstown's history took place on August 12, 1926. It was the discovery of a nearly complete mastodon skeleton found by tenant farmer James Bailey on the farm of Friend Butt.
The Johnstown Mastodon is recognized by paleontologists as one of the best mastodon specimens ever recovered. It has been determined that the Johnstown Mastodon is the skeleton of a young male that was about 19 years old when it died.
The location of the mastodon discovery is east of town near the current Johnstown Trailhead Park and Bike Path entrance. The mastodon was in a six foot deep peat pit. The shallow depression was once a natural pond over which then property owner Friend Butt once skated on when he was a young boy. The peat consisted of logs and spruce or hemlock cones.
In 1926 and 1927 numerous people came to view the excavation of the skeleton. Then a Newark businessman bought the skeleton and subsequently sold it to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where it remains on display today.