Of Piety and Pleasure: The Mountain Grove Camp Meeting

Scrub and sump holes mark its site today, but a century ago the cacophony of a typical nineteenth century camp meeting reverberated through­out the valley each August at Mountain Grove. Between 1872 and 1901 thousands of people came each summer to this idyllic spot in western Luzerne County for recreation and religion offered by the Danville District of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the...
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The Wissahickon Valley: To a Wilderness Returned

The rural Wissahickon Valley, near center-city Philadelphia, typifies the rugged landscape which greeted the first white settlers. Today, its huge hem­locks and towering sycamores contrast markedly with the busy factories and row houses only a mile away. But this valley of contrasts has always been different from the sur­rounding region. A century ago, when most of America was rural or wild, the...
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Eagles Mere: Of Cottages and Kings

No longer defending their fortifications from hostile Indi­ans nor protecting their territory from grasping foreign governments, late nineteenth century Americans – encouraged by the prosperity of the rampant Industrial Revolution, as well as improved transportation systems – were able to indulge in but one of the many advan­tages of peacetime prosperity: the pursuit of pleasure. And...
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Cambria County: Coming Full Circle

Located in the highlands of west­-central Pennsylvania and amidst forbidding mountains – the Allegheny escarpment and the Laurel Ridge standing sentinel on its eastern and western borders­ – the territory that would become Cambria County was not easily accessible to early Pennsylvanians. Migrants bound westward during the second half of the eighteenth century avoided its...
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Crawford County: Welcoming the 21st Century

We passed over some good land since we eft Venango, and through several extensive and very rich meadows, one of which, I believe, was nearly four miles in length, and consid­erably wide in some places. Twenty-one year old George Washington, who would in time become a major landholder and land specula­tor, described Crawford County in 1753 as he carried a dispatch demanding the com­mander of the...
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Perry County: A Sportsman’s Paradise

Despite its proximity to Pennsylvania’s bustling and heavily urbanized capital city, Perry County remains a sportsman’s placid paradise with its thickly forested moun­tains and lushly verdant val­leys. Much like its neighboring counties – Franklin, Cumber­land, Juniata and Dauphin­ – Perry County claims a topogra­phy that is neither unique nor unusual: its mountains give...
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Sullivan County: Picture Post Card Pretty

Named for Gen. John Sullivan, fearless leader of the leg­endary bloodbath, Sullivan’s March, mounted in 1779 to attack the hostile Iro­quois of northern Pennsylva­nia, Sullivan County is today – as it was throughout the nineteenth century – a bucolic, pastoral landscape, best known for the recreational opportunities it has offered generations of sportsmen and sojourners. For...
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Bedlam in Penn’s Woods

Pennsylvanians have been concerned with the welfare of the insane since the earli­est provincial days. Indeed, as befits the Commonwealth’s humanitarian Quaker heritage, Pennsylvania has made pio­neering efforts in the field. For most of the pre­Revolutionary period, care of the mad was restricted to physical support and occa­sional confinement for public safety. Victims’ families...
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Historical Sketch of Luzerne County

The Proclamation Line of 1763 was a stopgap devised to give England a chance to gather her forces and to adopt a policy for further expansion of the American colonies along the Atlantic seaboard. The Treaty at Fort Stanwix in 1768 resulted in a pre-revolutionary division of Indian land to establish a boundary between the Indian hunting grounds and the white settlements. The treaty was the last...
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Pike County: A Peak of Natural Perfection

“I went through a constant succession of scenery that would have been famous had it existed anywhere in Europe.” – Washington Irving   Shaped roughly like a diamond, Pike County is situated in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, bordering the Delaware River on the cast across from the states of New York and New Jersey. The northwestern side of the diamond lies in Lake...
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