County was formed
on March 26, 1814. The new county was named for a hero of the time,
Zebulon Montgomery Pike, western explorer, discoverer
of Pikes Peak, and a general
who had been killed the previous year in the War of 1812. The most
famous names in Pike
is James Wilson, Zane Grey, John Roebling and Gifford Pinchot. Read
about them and lots more about Pike County
GREY TOWERS NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK
Constantine Pinchot family emigrated from France
in 1816 and moved to Pike
County to build
a Greek Revival home in 1821. Constantines
son, Cyril lived in the home for more than 60 years. The home is
now known as the Community House and is part of the Pike County
Pinchots son, James, a wall paper manufacturer, built Grey Towers
in 1886, when his own son Gifford was 21 years old. While the home
was under construction Giffords father encouraged him to consider
a career in forestry. At that time, there were no trained American
foresters. Gifford acted on this fathers suggestion, studying
general science at Yale
University. By the turn of the century he had implemented forest
management principles at Grey Towers,
the Vanderbilts Biltmore Estate in North
Carolina, and the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
Gifford Pinchot became recognized for his outstanding work in the
field of conservation, and was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt
to be the first head of the U.S. Forest Service in 1905. In 1927,
he was elected Governor of Pennsylvania.
Towers is a French Chateau
that was Gifford Pinchots home until his death in 1946. The
home was constructed of local fieldstone and bluestone with timbers
of hemlock. It was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, who also designed
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,
a number of the Vanderbilt homes in Newport, Rhode Island
and the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. The mansion became
a National Historic Landmark and was turned over to the Secretary
of Agriculture in 1963 as a trust, and is currently operated and
maintained by the United States Forest Service.
land on which Lake Wallenpaupack is built dates
back to William Penn. The William Penn Estate transferred the 12,150
acre parcel in 1793 to James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution of the United
that time the Wallenpaupack
River was a
beautiful stream with many deep water lagoons combined with whitewater
rapids. The Lenape Indians called the
river Wallenpaupack the stream of
swift and slow moving waters.
PP&Ls decision to construct a dam, the initial step
was to purchase over 12,000 acres of property and engineer a 5,700
lake bed. Land was purchased from over 100 land owners at an average
price of $20.00 per acre. Farms, barns, houses and other buildings
were razed. A cemetery was relocated and trees were cut from the
lake bed. Construction began in 1924 with 2,700 men and women working
two years to compete the project. It included at 1,280 foot long
concrete dam 70 feet high. The total cost was just over one million
was a wooden pipeline constructed from the dam that used 5 million
board feet of Douglas fir that carried the water 3 ½ miles downstream
to a generating station. The Wallenpaupack 44,000-kw power plant was constructed simultaneously
with the dam and was put into operation in 1926.
Lake Wallenpaupack is the gem of
the Poconos with thousands of lakefront
homes and lakefront communities. The lake has 52 miles of shoreline,
has 2 ½ billion gallons of water and is 13 ½ miles long.
the early 1800s the Pike
County region was very active in the transportation
of coal and lumber. Hundreds of trees cut along the river were
joined together into 200 foot long rafts and floated downstream
to markets in Easton and Philadelphia.
At the same time the Delaware and
Hudson Canal Company had opened a 108 mile canal to carry coal from
Honesdale to the Hudson River.
The canal intersected the Delaware
at the Lackawaxen
was the problem. While the canal boats were crossing the Delaware River they often collided with the raftsmen, causing long delays as well as a great loss of income
by all parties.
Delaware and Hudson Canal Company decided to hire one of
the best engineers in America,
John Augustus Roebling to construct an aquaduct
over the Delaware River. He was
a graduate of the Royal Polytechnic Institute in Berlin,
Germany and written a thesis on suspension
bridges. Roebling believed that strands of wire cable were the
key to a successful suspension bridge. His theory was that more
wire would require fewer piers and offer a bridge with a greater
span. Fewer piers would provide the raftsmen with much greater flexibility for the huge rafts
going down stream.
the aqueduct-bridge was completed in 1848 it contained over a million
feet of wires, measured nineteen feet from side to side and was
535 feet long. The adqeduct-bridge was
designed to act as a canal bridge to carry water over the Delaware
River and was filled with six feet of water weighing
about 1,800 tons. Now the rafts could go down the river peacefully
and the canal boats could cross the river without incident. There
was peace along the river for the next 50 years.
1899 with railroads in full swing, the canal became obsolete and
closed. The aqueduct, however, was privately purchased and turned
in a private road, first for horses and wagons, then for automobiles.
the bridge is the oldest wire suspension bridge in the United States. In 1979 it became
part of the National Park Service. After completion of the Delaware
Aqueduct in 1848 John Roebling went on to build the Brooklyn Bridge
in New York City
in the 1880s - which recently celebrated its 120th anniversary.
CIVIL WAR TRAIN WRECK
July 15, 1864, halfway between Shohola and Lackawaxen,
an Erie Railroad train with almost fifty carloads of coal collided
with a train that was carrying Confederate Prisoners of War to a
prison camp at Elmira,
New York. The prison
train had 833 prisoners, 125 Union Guards and 3 commissioned officers
that had left the Port Jervis Train Station approximately 1:30
pm. The coal train was on its way to New
York City from Honesdale and Hawley. The
trains met one and a half miles west of the Shohola Train Station
at a point known as King and Fullers Cut, on a sharp curve
with poor visibility. It was a section of track that was very difficult
to construct because of massive ledge rock where visibility was
only about fifty feet around a blind curve.
2:45 in the afternoon the trains collided with a tremendous crash
killing 48 prisoners and 17 guards. It was reported that the Union
locomotive was literally standing upended on top of the crushed
coal train locomotive where a dead Union guard was still clutching
his rifle. The first car of the prison train, a box car, had contained
38 prisoners. It was crushed into a space of six feet with only
one prisoner left alive.
prisoners escaped, many others were cared for at Rohmans
Hotel. Many of the dead were buried near the tracks in a trench
75 feet long and six and a half feet wide and six feet deep. The
bodies remained buried next to the rail bed for 47 years. In 1911
the Federal Government arranged for the bodies to be taken to Woodlawn
at Elmira, New York. There is a Shohola
Monument at Woodlawn
commemorating the final resting place of the Confederate and Union
soldiers that had died in one of the most tragic railroad accidents
in American history.
Delaware winds through a picturesque mountain," wrote Zane
Grey, "where the forests abound with game and the streams with
as the Father of the Western Novel, Zane Grey sold over
30 million books throughout the world. He was born in Ohio in 1872 and as a young man he enjoyed
fishing, hunting and baseball. He earned a baseball scholarship
at the University of Pennsylvania
in Philadelphia and graduated in 1896.
he lived and worked as a dentist in New
York City at the turn of the century, he
regularly visited the Poconos to hunt and fish. In 1905 he
purchased a country estate along the Upper
Delaware River which he called Cottage Point. On one
of his visits he met his future wife, Lina
Elise Roth, while canoeing near his home in Lackawaxen.
With her encouragement, he overcame early professional rejection
and earned an international reputation as a successful writer and
first novel, Betty Zane, was published in 1903. His first western
novel was The Heritage of the Desert (1910) and his most famous,
Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) both were published
while living in Lackawaxen. He wrote
close to 90 books, some of which have been translated into 21 languages.
From his novels, 104 movies were made, and a television series The
Theater featured 145 of his stories.
former office and study now house Greys memorabilia, exhibits,
photographs and books.
Original artwork and manuscripts are among the collection.
National Park Service operates the home as a museum and attracts
more than ten thousand visitors each year. The museum is open Memorial
Day through Labor Day.
THE LINCOLN FLAG
story of the Lincoln Flag is one of high drama and unparalleled
sadness. The thirty-six star American flag which was used to cradle
President Abraham Lincolns head as he lay mortally wounded
in Fords Theatre is now a part of the Pike County Historical Society.
The blood stained flag descended into a family of prominent actors,
the Gourlay family, who were appearing
in the play Our American Cousin, in Fords Theatre
on the night the President was assassinated. The Lincoln
Flag was donated to the Pike County Historical Society in
1954 by V. Paul Struthers, the son of Jeannie Gourlay
Struthers, an eyewitness to the tragic event.
was early in Act III of the performance when the hand of fate would
devastate the entire nation. It was shortly after 10:00 pm when
John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger of a small derringer and assassinated
Gourlay, stage manager at Fords Theatre and member of the
cast of Our American Cousin, obtained the flag April
14, 1865, the night of Lincolns assassination.
Jeannie Gourlay Struthers, also a cast member of the play inherited
the flag from her father in 1885. In 1888 she moved to Milford,
Pennsylvania. V. Paul Struthers inherited
the flag from his mother and then in 1954 donated it to the Pike
County Historical Society.
Lincoln Flag may be the most revered single flag in
our country, similar in importance to Francis Scott Keys
Star-Spangled Banner in the Smithsonian , or the flag raised atop
Iwo Jima in World War II.
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS
Land was named by a religious group known as the Shakers
who settled in the region in 1878. The Shakers came
to the region with high expectations for riches from the wilderness,
but ended up with rocky, wet soil that could barely be farmed.
They soon departed but not before they had, with tongue and cheek,
christened the area The Promised Land.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
purchased what is now Promised Land State Park in 1902 and became
4th state park. The first park facilities were open
to the public in 1905. In 1913 the park had 1,200 visitors. By
the mid 1920s a number of roads were built as well as a number
of bathing beaches. The park is 2,971 acres and is surrounded by
8,039 acres of state forest. There are two main lakes, Promised
Land Lake is 4232 acres and the Lower Lake
is 173 acres
1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the Civilian Conservation
Corps to relieve the rampant unemployment of the Great Depression.
The young men of the C.C.C. were hired and put to work as foresters
for public conservation projects. Unemployed, unmarried men age
18 to 25 were hired for a six month enrollment which could be extended
for up to two years. The C.C.C. planted trees, built dams, trails,
recreational facilities and roads.
C.C.C. arrived at Promised Land
in 1933 with upwards of 150 men. The men were hungry and poor but
worked hard and played a vital road in the future life of the park.
The present dam at the park was built with concrete in 1932, and
the stonework was put in later by the C.C.C. They built the Pickerel
Point campgrounds and beach area, the Egypt Meadows dam and the
surrounding roads. The hard working organization worked at the
park until July, 1941. The Civilian Conservation Corps is given
credit for building and developing many of the recreational facilities
at Promised Land.
May 31, 1998 an F-2 Tornado with winds packing up to 150 miles per
hour went right through the state park. It cut a northeasterly
path through the park and crossed Lower
Lake Road and North
Shore Road near Sucker Brook. The American
Red Cross opened a shelter overnight at Promised Land Volunteer
Fire Company on Route 390 just south of the park. Thankfully no
one was hurt, but over 500 people were temporarily displaced.
first recorded settler of Milford was Thomas Quick, Sr. in 1733. He was
an affluent Dutch settler who built a small farm with a barn and
log cabin. A year later his son was born, and a legend was born
as well. Tom Jr. would grow up to be the famous or infamous-
the Revolutionary War Milford was known as Wells Ferry. There
were three Wells brothers that moved from Connecticut
- Jesse, James and Isreal. They ran a
ferry across the Delaware, thus the name. Later, the brothers
built a gristmill on the Sawkill and the settlers below the mill crossed the river
by fording the creek, thus the name Mill-ford. There are many that
dispute this origin. Some claim it was named by the founder of
the modern village, John Biddis, after
his fathers home in Milford Haven, Wales.
Biddis is credited with planting
the town of Milford
from 1793 to 1796. He encouraged people to settle in the region
because of the natural beauty, fertile farm land and excellent water
Pinchot family is another family that had a great impact on the
town. The first Pinchot was Constantine, who moved from Paris.
died shortly after moving to the region, but his son Cyville
built Stone House Farm and became a successful farmer. He was also
very active in public affairs. His son, James W. erected Grey Towers
in the 1880s. James son, Gifford became the 2 time Governor
of Pennsylvania and was appointed by Teddy Roosevelt to head the
nations first U.S. Forest Service.
Pike County Jail was constructed in 1814, when Pike
County was formed out of Wayne
County, and Milford was named county seat. Next door to
the jail is the Pike County Courthouse, built in 1875.
First National Bank of Pike County was established in Milford in 1900.
1904 Forest Hall was built on the corner of Broad and Harford by
the Pinchot family. The building was the home of the Yale Forestry
School, where students came in the summer months to study about
forestry and conservation.
are a number of historic hotels and inns in Milford. The Dimmick
Inn was built in 1828, a stage coach stop visited by many passing
visitors, including Horace Greeley.
is a vibrant village with many historic buildings and homes.
Tocks Island Dam was a huge multi-purpose reservoir project proposed
for the Delaware River six miles
upstream from the Delaware Water Gap. The project involved the
purchase of 70,000 acres of land, construction of a 40 mile long
lake with depths up to 150 feet with a storage capacity of 250 billion
gallons of water. It would have been the largest dam project east
of the Mississippi River.
thought of building a dam along the Delaware River began in 1934,
when the Army Corps recommended a large dam be built by Tocks
1942 the corps conducted tests to see if the ground was stable enough
to support a dam. The borings were taken down to 140 feet below
the riverbed, but no bedrock was found to secure a firm foundation
for the dam. The costs would be astronomical.
dam was to have served four purposes: flood control, water supply,
hydroelectric power and recreation. The most exciting spin-off
was that the project would have created a national recreation area
serving both New York and Philadelphia
metro areas including New
1961 the formation of the Delaware River Basin Commission was established,
comprised of representatives of the Governors of Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, New
York and Delaware.
A year later Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1962 calling
for the Tocks Island Dam Project to be built. In 1965 President
Lyndon Johnson authorized construction of the dam. Construction
was to begin in 1967 and by 1972 the reservoir was to begin filling
and be fully operational by 1975.
to the project began almost immediately among landowners on both
sides of the Delaware
whose properties were targeted for condemnation. The Delaware Valley
Conservation Association was established in 1965 with more than
a 1,000 members to fight the project.
Army corps were accused of having properties appraised at much lower
values than they were actually worth. The Corps were demanding
many sellers evacuate their properties immediately, even though
the flooding would not take place for years. Families that had
farms for generations along the Delaware
were treated like second rate citizens as the federal government
rode roughshod over their lives. At least two landowners committed
number of other problems developed for the project. Costs for the
dam began to mushroom in the late 1960s and the Johnson Administration
was mired in the escalating cost of the Vietnam War. In addition,
squatters, family communes and flower children began
living along the Delaware in abandoned houses
- others set up tents and teepees.
Pocono residents resented the hippies cultivating marijuana
and living in the homes that they had to vacate. Nude bathing and
drug dealing was commonplace.
in 1973 a judge ruled the squatters were illegally occupying the
valley and ordered to vacate within 30 days.
July 31, 1975 the Delaware River Commission voted 3 1 against
the immediate construction of the Tocks Island Dam. Pennsylvania
was the only state to approve the dam, while the federal government
abstained. The Commission stopped the dam, but the true end of
the project came in 1978 when Congress designated the section of
the river that is within the recreation area as a Wild and
Scenic River, in effect barring the construction of any dams
at the Tocks Island
site or anywhere along this section of the river. In 1992, the
Tocks Island Dam Project was officially de-authorized by Congress.
the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000 acre
national jewel with more than 10,000,000 visitors each year.
LEGEND OF MAST HOPE
legend of Mast Hope has been a part of Pike County
folklore for over a century. The story is about the search for
an eighteight foot tall tree to serve as the mast for the
U.S.S. Constitution. In 1786, the legend goes,
men from the Philadelphia Navy Yard were seeking a tall pine. The
Upper Delaware had been providing huge timbers to Philadelphia
for years. They found the largest timber in northeastern Pennsylvania
at Lackawaxen that met almost all of the
specifications needed. It was their last hope.
tree was carefully cut and floated down the Delaware River to Philadelphia,
to Boston for use as the main
mast for the U.S.S. Constitution known as Old Ironsides
for its heroism in the War of 1812. Last hope for the
mast became Mast Hope, and so, according to legend, the village
U.S.S. Constitution was launched on October 21, 1797 and has had
a distinguished naval career for over 200 years. In the War of
1812 Old Ironsides sunk three British Ships.
legends die hard and the legend of Mast Hope will die hard too.
It is true that the U.S.S. Constitution was built in Boston
with timbers from Maine.
However, there was commerce and shipping between Philadelphia
and Boston on a regular basis and
it would not have been out of the ordinary to ship the mast to Boston
to be used in the oldest naval ship in America.
Wilson was the owner of the Wallenpaupack
Manor, a 12,150 acre parcel of land between Wayne and Pike counties.
He was one of our founding fathers and one of the largest landowners
in the Pocono region. Here is his story:
Wilson (1742-1798) was a great American Statesman. Born and educated
he moved to New York City
in 1765 at age 23. He studied law and, in 1767, was admitted to
the bar. In 1774 he distributed what was to become an extremely
important manuscript. Wilson
wrote that the British Parliament had absolutely no power over the
colonies. Furthermore, he stated that each colony was a separate
and independent self-governing unit.
in 1774, Wilson was a delegate to
the First Continental Congress and the next year was elected to
the Second Continental Congress. On July 4, 1776, James Wilson
was one of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence,
which ranks as one of the greatest documents in human history.
Other signers included Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, John Adams
and Ben Franklin.
was a strong believer in the election of U.S.
Senators by a direct vote of the people, rather than by the legislatures.
He believed in natural rights, a doctrine maintaining that sovereignty
rests in the individual rather than in government. As a member
of the Continental Congress he attended the Constitutional Convention
of 1787 and was instrumental in writing the Constitution of the
United States. On September 17, 1787 James Wilson was one of the
39 men who signed the Constitution, along with other distinguished
statesmen such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madison
and Alexander Hamilton. Wilson was one of only six men who signed the Declaration
of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
1789 James Wilson was appointed by President George Washington to
serve as associate justice on the first Supreme Court of the United
States and served in that capacity until his death in 1798.
1793 James Wilson obtained title to the 12,150 acre tract of land
known as the Wallenpaupack Manor from the William Penn estate.
QUICK THE INDIAN SLAYER
Tom Quick was born in Milford,
Pennsylvania in 1734. His father, Thomas Quick,
Sr., emigrated from Ulster
County in 1733 and was
a descendent of well to do ancestors who came from Holland in the late 17th
century. Thomas Sr. built a log cabin and settled on valuable lands
Hunting and fishing were his principal pursuits, together with clearing
his lands. Eventually he built a saw mill and a grist mill along
a tributary of the Delaware River.
Jr. was his first born and grew up to be tall and broad shouldered
with high cheek bones. His youth was spent with the Indians of
the Delaware Valley.
He became familiar with their language, engaged in many of their
sports, hunted and fished with them and became an expert marksman
with a rifle. While his brothers and sisters were attending school,
Tom was off hunting and trapping with the Indians.
friendliness with the Indians did not last. While the Indians were
reaping the rewards and hospitality shown by the Quick family, there
were other influences at work which led the Indians to break off
relations with them. This change in feeling did not go unnoticed
by the Quick family and while they remained friendly, they did not
mingle with the Indians as they had before. Unsuspecting of any
treachery, the Quicks went about their
business as usual.
a trip along the Delaware River
one winter day in 1756 Tom Jr., his brother and father were unarmed
and got ambushed by the Indians. Thomas Sr. was shot by an Indian
named Muswink and lay severely wounded.
Tom and his brother tried to carry their father across the river.
Thomas Sr. told his sons, as he lay dying, to leave him and try
to escape to save the family. They ran across the Delaware, and finding they
were not pursued, turned cautiously back to see what became of their
father. The Indians were war-whooping and rejoicing as they scalped
and then beheaded their father. It was at this moment in time that
Tom resolved that he would avenge the death of his father. After
the Indians left they gathered up the remains of his body and gave
him a Christian burial. The day his father was buried Tom took
his knife in his right hand and his rifle in his left, looked up
to heaven and exclaimed:
the point of the knife in my right hand and the deadly bullet in
Heaven and all that there is in it and by earth and all that there
is on it:
the love I bore my father; here on this grave I swear eternal vengeance
against the whole Indian race
A voice from my fathers
grave cries, Revenge! Eternal Revenge!
took on the name The Avenger of the Delaware and lived
up to his new found title. He became a wanderer throughout the
valley of the Upper Delaware, remaining
hermit-like in remote caves and cabins. One of his favorite hangouts
was a cave at Hawks Nest, just north of Port Jervis. From
this vantage point he could see the entire valley, scope out Indians
that may walk along the riverbed, and hone his shooting skills.
had a gun that was 7 feet, 4 inches long and it carried a ball one
inch in diameter. He called it Long Tom. It was said
that one time he shot 3 Indians with one bullet.
all the Indians Tom had killed the one that he relished most was
when he met up with Muswink, the killer
of his father, at Deckers Tavern on the
was drunk and telling Tom that the war was over. Tom
told him the war was not over for him he drug Muswink
out the door and put a bullet through his head.
is said that Tom died of smallpox in 1796. The Indians, learning
of his death, dug up his body and cut it into little pieces and
then distributed the remains to various tribes, then gloated over
them. The contagious smallpox broke out among them and slew more
Indians in his death than in his life.
say he killed a hundred Indians. Others say it was only a dozen,
but one thing is sure Tom was looked upon by the settlers
as a protector of their homes and the guardian of their wives and
children. The settlers were proud to think that one of their own
had the courage to face the whole Indian Nation and send many of
them to the Great Hunting Ground. Many historians have eulogized
his merits, and then on August 28, 1889, his descendants unveiled
a monument to his memory in the presence of over 1,000 dignitaries
and townspeople in Milford.
the monument there is an emblem of a wreath, and says that Tom Quick
was the first white child born within the limits of the Borough
of Milford. It also says Tom Quick, the Indian Slayer
and The Avenger of the Delaware.
On the side of the monument is a tomahawk, canoe paddle, scalping knife, wampum, and an
inscription which states that, maddened by the death of his father,
he never abated his hostility to the Indians till his death 40 years
monument has stood in Milford for more than 100 years. Then, just
before Christmas of 1997, someone used a sledgehammer to smash and
damage the monument. Borough officials in Milford took the monument down and took it to
a secret location. In 1999, two years after the monument was smashed,
200 people with American Indian roots and their supporters descended
for a rally in front of the county courthouse.
of the Indian supporters said We are here to ask you to stop
thinking of Tom Quick as a folk hero and see him for what he really
was: a murderous, hate-filled, racist killer. The protest
squelched any immediate plans Milford Borough Council may have had
for restoring the monument.
letters from all over the country poured in and were collected by
Borough Council. In 2001 the debate in Milford
went national. Noel Paul Stookey, Paul of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary recorded
the song Tom Quick. The song begins:
the town of Milford, Pennsylvania there stands a sorry sign
passing strangers understand Pike
frame of mind
Gentle Moon Demund, sub-chief of the Lenape
Nation said This is a monument to a mass murderer and a drunken
fool who bragged about killing people.
Borough leaders teamed up with the Pike County Historical Society
to restore the monument and to add an interpretive panel. They
say that the 9 foot tall obelisk is part of the regions history
and should be put back on display.
stories about Tom Quick and his monuments plaque are generally
recognized by scholars and historians as historically incorrect.
However, no one really knows what is fact and what is fiction. Someone has said If you
dont believe whats on a public monument, what do you
Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies was dedicated at Grey Towers
on September 24, 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. A crowd of
over 12,000 people attended the ceremony where the President said
of Mr. Pinchot His career marked the beginning of a professional
approach to the management of our nations resources.
The President went on to say that Pinchots contribution
will be lost if we honor him only in memory. It is far more fitting
and proper that we dedicate this Institute as a living memorial.
By its very nature, it looks to the future instead of the past.
It is committed to meeting the changing needs of a changing era.
The President also said The principles of Gifford Pinchot
have won universal acceptance. Gifford Pinchots legacy
and work in conservation continues today at Grey Towers.
The mansion and grounds
are open to the public and offer special events, conferences and
environmental education programs.
F. KENNEDYS TRIP TO MILFORD
of the most historic days in Pike County History came when on September
25, 1963 President John F. Kennedy came to Grey
Towers in Milford
to dedicate The Pinchot Institute Conservation Studies.
Presidents helicopter landed exactly on time at 1 p.m. It
was the start of a hectic 70 minute visit. He brought along a large
contingent of secret service agents and |White House press corps.
There were 50 photographers that scrambled to photograph every move
the President made. The weather was perfect in every way.
President was dressed in a blue suit and a pin stripe white shirt
and matching tie. He was well tanned with a smile on his face as
he waved to the crowd. Many in the crowd of 12,000 had been waiting
to see the President since the early morning hours. It was a carnival
type of atmosphere where many in the crowd brought their lunches
and were just excited to be a part of Pike County
Kennedys first order of business was to greet area officials
and conservationists from all over the country. He met them on
the terrace at Grey Towers
and when he shook the last hand he went inside for a guided tour
of the Pinchot home.
touring the castle the President made his way to the platform where
he would speak. The invited guests included Pennsylvania Governor
William Scranton, Dr. Gifford Pinchot, son of the man being honored,
two U.S. Cabinet members Stewart Udall, Secretary of the
Interior, and Orville Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture.
the President made his way along the platform the band began playing
the traditional Hail to the Chief. The President stopped
to greet and shake the hand of Governor Scranton, knowing the two
may be opposing each other in the next presidential election.
President sat next to Secretary Freeman as a number of speakers
spoke about Gifford Pinchot, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt as
the first head of the U.S. Forest Service and two time
Governor of Pennsylvania. Governor Scranton spoke of Gifford Pinchots
commitment to conservation, Dr. Pinchot
expressed his appreciation of the Pinchot family for the honors
being bestowed upon his father and stated that both his mother and
father would be thankful to know their home would be used for conservation
studies and a Conservation Foundation.
President was introduced by Secretary of Agriculture Freeman and
spoke for about 10 minutes. He was very gracious in speaking of
the Pinchot legacy and about the importance of effectively managing
our nations natural resources. He also spoke of the importance
of the Tocks Island Dam Project just south of Milford,
which never came to fruition. When he finished speaking he pulled
a rope and unveiled a plaque for the dedication.
was most important for the thousands of visitors was to get a glimpse
of the President of the United States
on a little stage in a field in Pike County, Pennsylvania.
interesting side note was that the people of Pike County
wanted to thank the President for his visit to Grey Towers.
The Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Lake
Wallenpaupack Association decided to
send the President a lead crystal hand-blown goblet made at the
Dorflinger Glass Works.
Kennedy wrote a letter of thanks to the people of Pike County
on White House stationary and signed it on November 19, 1963. This
was just 3 days before President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas,
Texas. It was one
of the last letters she signed on White House stationary and the
gift was probably the last gift the President and First Lady received.