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A Plethora of Local Historical Treasures Surround Woodloch

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~Shared by T. Compton

I am soooo bored.

Ever said that? Heard your kids, siblings, friends say that? I'd hazard a guess that we've all said it at one time or another.

But, you don't have to be. How's this for a solution: Exploring what's in your own backyard.

Thursday was an awesome day - marking the second annual Wayne-Pike Ambassadors Tour sponsored by the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau (PMVB) and PPL. Offering an all-day educational and historic tour of Wayne and Pike Counties, the program was most informative and also a lot of fun.

Lake Wallenpaupack Visitor Center BearThe bear that greets you at the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center

Guided by local historian and retired school principal, Tom Kennedy, and Wallenpaupack Visitors Center Manager, Keith Williams, the action-packed trip started with a stop at the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary and the Dorflinger Glass Museum in White Mills, PA. Museum Curator Hank Loftus coaxed history to life with his talk of Christian Dorflinger, whose glass factory was famous for producing some of the finest lead crystal in the country - even pieces used by President Abraham Lincoln. Who knew that sand, pot ash and lead oxide could combine to create such beautiful glass: sparkling stemware, kerosene lamp chimneys and punchbowls that seemed to all but dance in the lighting?

It was at the Columns Museum in Milford that President Lincoln's name was once again mentioned - this time on a sad note - regarding the night of his death. Operated by the Pike County Historical Society, the museum claims to have the very flag used to cushion the President's head following the fatal shot at the Ford's Theater in 1865. A small derringer fills a nearby display case, similar to the one used to assasinate the 16th President.

President%27s Flag

A wealth of knowledge awaits at your local historical society.

Take the Wayne County Historical Society in Honesdale, for instance, which currently features the artwork of the late Howard Becker, detailed information on the Delaware & Hudson (D & H) Canal, not to mention the privilege of walking through an authentic passenger coach used by the gravity railroad, and the impressive, full-size replica of the Stourbridge Lion.

The maiden run of the Stourbridge Lion, the first steam locomotive to operate in the United States, was over three miles, from downtown Honesdale to downtown Seelyville and back again. Weighing in at more than five tons, it's interesting to note it was found to be too heavy for its four-ton track. Sadly, the Lion never roared again. That was August 8, 1829.

"Sometimes we forget to look in the mirror and appreciate what we had, what we have, and what we could be," Kennedy said.

Perhaps a Native-American, 18-foot, dugout canoe is right up your alley. Viewable at the PPL Environmental Learning Center, the well-preserved, man made canoe surfaced on Lake Wallenpaupack in 1955, following Hurricane Diane. Lake Wallenpaupack, by the way, is 13 miles long, boasts 52-miles of shoreline and is the 3rd largest lake in the state, after Pymatuning and Raystown lakes. Amazing that the canoe was found.

Do you love beautiful gardens? Then you absolutely must visit the Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford. As described by the U.S. Forest Service, "Grey Towers is the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the US Forest Service and twice Governor of Pennsylvania. Today, Grey Towers serves as a conservation education and leadership center, with programs that interpret the lives of the Pinchot family." If you've not been there before, you're in for a real treat. Be sure not to miss the Finger Bowl - an outdoor dining area built around a raised pool. Floating appetizers, anyone


Then there's the Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen. To stand in the home of a man considered the father of the western novel, to envision him seated in his chair, feverishly writing about heros and heroines, is beyond words.

When you get a chance, perhaps during your next visit to Woodloch, take a look around Wayne and Pike counties and all of the museums, historical societies, and points of interest. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.


When Visiting Woodloch: Historic Gems in the Pocono Mountains

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Whether you are headed home from the vacation of your life or on your way to it, there are many interesting historic places to visit in the area surrounding Woodloch!

  • Roebling Bridge in the Poconos
    Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct: What the locals call “The Roebling Bridge,” the Delaware Aqueduct is the oldest existing wire cable suspension bridge in the United States, right here in the Poconos! It was designed and built by John A. Roebling, who would later design the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Zane Grey Museum: Renowned 19th Century author, Zane Grey lived fifteen minutes east of Woodloch on the banks of the Upper Delaware River. His home has been preserved by the National Park Service and displays Grey’s memorabilia, books, and photographs.

  • The Settler’s Inn:  Built in 1927, The Settler’s Inn is one of the most popular bed and breakfasts in Pennsylvania. Situated 15 minutes west of Woodloch, guests experience a hands-on approach to hospitality much like that of Woodloch. The Settler’s Inn boasts a variety of international wines and has been using local ingredients to maintain a “farm to table” dining experience.

Hawley Silk Mill in the Pocono Mountains

  • The Hawley Silk Mill: Known as the largest bluestone building in the world, the Belmont Silk Mill (now known as The Hawley Silk Mill) was one of nearly 50 silk mills built in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Women and children were inexpensive labor, and the Mill thrived until laws began to change in the 1920s. The local silk mill industry started to decline, and the building became a textile factory. It remained vacant during the late 1980s until it was an antique and wholesale operation.  Recently, the Hawley Silk Mill has become a satellite campus of Lackawanna College as well as home to a popular fitness center, art galleries, and local businesses. Below the Hawley Silk Mill rests Ledges Hotel, a boutique hotel complete with a wine and tapas bar, that was once the O’Connor Glass Factory. The hotel’s backdrop consists of roaring waterfalls known as Paupack Falls that stem from Lake Wallenpaupack.

  • The Columns Museum:  This beautiful building is located in the heart of Milford, just 20 minutes from Woodloch. The Museum is a treasure chest of history and folklore both locally and non-locally. The famous “Lincoln Flag," the American flag used to cradle the President’s head after he was assassinated, is on display and is one of the most popular exhibits. The Columns is the museum of the Pike County Historical Society.

  • Grey Towers in the Poconos
    Grey Towers:  Grey Towers, also known locally as “The Pinchot House,” was the former home of Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot was the first director of the U.S. Forest Service and was a two-term serving Pennsylvania Governor. The “castle” styled home is located in the hills above Milford with views of the Delaware River. Pinchot spent his summers in this house and later donated it along with the surrounding land to the Forest Service, making it the only U.S. Historic Site that is managed by the Forest Service. It is a National Landmark offering public tours and great hiking trails.


So next time you're in the Poconos be sure to check out these fascinating historic landmarks. Plan a trip to Woodloch today!

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