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Boulder Field in Hickory Run State Park

Boulder Field can be found in Hickory Run State Park and can be reached via car or the 3.5-mile long Boulder Field Trail from the parking area on SR 534.

The field is 16.5 acres in size and is made up of boulders of all sizes. A stream runs underneath the rocks and often can be heard when standing on the rocks, especially after it has rained recently. The boulders extend off a path leading from the parking lot nearby, the tops of the rocks are almost level with the ground, the soil below them being compressed about 12 feet from the weight of the stones.

Creating a field of boulders:

20,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age a massive mile thick glacier covered a large part of North America, including Pennsylvania. The ice caused temperatures in the region to plummet to below freezing for most of the year and the ground was frozen year round.

As the glacier moved south it unearthed rocks embedded in the soil. These rocks became attached to the ice and were pushed along its course. The rocks are made up of sandstone and conglomerates.

When the glacier receded billions of gallons of water from the melting ice formed the large valleys you can see today. The large amounts of water also carried the rocks from the surrounding hills and those attached to the glacier into the valley, thus forming Boulder Field.

Today, you can still see the rocks, some of which are pebble size and some that weigh as much as a small car. Boulder Field’s size alone is stunning but it’s story is equally as interesting.

Visitors to the park are encouraged to read about the field at the informational boards that are available as you approach the field. Many visitors also enjoy walking the field, jumping from rock to rock.

Boulder Field was designated a National Landmark in 1967. Please help preserve this natural wonder!

Important Note:

Please be careful on the rocks! Many rocks are unstable and will shift under your weight. Rocks can collapse under you if you step on them the wrong way and the uneven surface can cause you to fall, possibly resulting in injury.

Also, snakes often sun themselves on the rocks and spiders can be found in the crevices between the rocks. Do not harass these animals as they could be poisonous.

Medical facilities are not at hand if you should be injured, seek the attention of a Park Ranger immediately if you are hurt.



Featured Location: Eckley Miners Village

The village of Eckley was actually built by a coal company to provide housing for its workers and their families. In the late 1850s, Sharpe, Leisenring and Company built the homes and other buildings, like the company store and church. By owning the homes and other structures used by the miners, the company had great control over their workers.

As the anthracite mining industry declined, the need for a company owned town like Eckley became unnecessary. The land and buildings were sold to a group of Hazleton business men in the late 1960s, and in turn was deeded to the state for historical preservation in 1971.

The breaker that stands on the grounds today is actually a replica, built for the filming of ‘Molly Maguires’, a film about the famous (or infamous) group of miners who may or may not have conspired to commit crimes in order to focus attention on the plight of the American coal worker. Evidence of who the Molly Maguires actually were and what there purpose was still remains a contested subject.

Today, Eckley serves as a window to the past, showing what it was like for the workers of an anthracite coal mine in Pennsylvania. Along with the village, a museum is also on the site, which shows artifacts and other items relating to the lives of Eckley residents and workers.

Special events, such as Patch Town Days and the Civil War Weekend are also held during the summer months. Patch Town Days will be held June 20th and 21st, 2009. PAontheGo.com will be there, along with a number of other exhibitors and food vendors. So mark your calendar, and come out for some fun, food and heritage!

PAontheGo.com is a free resource for all things travel and tourism across Eastern Pennsylvania. Visit us at http://www.PAontheGo.com today for more information.



Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
April 8, 2009, 9:11 am
Filed under: America, History, PAontheGo, Pennsylvania, Tourism, Travel

The Mount Hope Estate and Winery isn’t only open during the summer months for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Throughout the year the site features all manner of indoor and outdoor entertainment. From February through April you will find several shows such as “Comedy in the Pub” and “Pyrate Feaste in the Swashbuckler Pub”. In May there’s the annual “Great Green America Fest”, an environmentally focused event featuring food and wares, information and entertainment. During June, visitors are to the estate are taken on a tour of Scotland and Ireland during the “Celtic Fling and Highland Games”, which features food, merchants, music and merriment.

From July through October the grounds of the estate are transformed into a 16th century town and market for the “Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire” which lasts a total of 12 weekends, some with themed events. With the Queen and her Royal Court holding events throughout the shire, entertainers performing on 13 stages, merchants and tons of food prepared by her majesty’s chefs there is more to do than any one can see in just one day.

In August and September the Victorian style Mansion on the grounds also opens for “Friday Knights at the Improv”. Here cast members of the Renaissance Faire join together to perform off the cuff comedy, creating some of the funniest skits around and no two are ever alike. Throughout November Edgar Allen Poe’s works come to life in “Edgar Allen Poe Evermore”. And finally in December “A Dickens of a Christmas” and “Charles Dickens Victorian Christmas” gets you in the spirit with holiday trimmings and cheer.



The Archbald Pothole

Patrick Mahon, a coal miner, discovered the Archbald Pothole in 1884 when he was extending a mine shaft. He placed an explosive charge and when it was detonated water and stone poured into the mine shaft. He and the miners he was with escaped the mine fearing a collapse. Later Edward Jones, the manager of the mining company, came to investigate what had happened. Jones directed the men clear the debris, almost 1,000 tons of small rounded stones. Once the debris was cleared it was realized there was a vertical tunnel which was responsible for the falling water and stone. The shaft was actually a large pothole, a natural rock formation that is formed where water forms a circular current. Water spins quickly and causes sand and small stones to circulate, eventually causing a circular hole in the bedrock below. The Archbald Pothole, as it was named, is 38 feet deep and 42 feet wide at its maximum length. The pothole cuts through layers of sandstone, shale, and coal.

The Archbald Pothole was formed during the Wisconsin Glacial Period, when water from the melting glacier probably poured through a crevasse to the bedrock. The falling water created enough force to form the pothole, which was discovered almost 13,000 years after it was created.

The pothole served as a ventilation shaft for mining operations and was fenced in by Colonel Hackley, the owner of the land, so he could allow visitors to look at it without the risk of falling in. Edward Jones also led public tours to the site.

A small trail follows the path the coal mine tram would have taken when the mine operated.

The Archbald Pothole was turned over to the public in 1914 when the widow of Colonel Hackley donated 1 acre of land that surrounded the pothole to the Lackawanna County Historical Society. Then in 1940, Lackawanna County gained ownership of the pothole as well as 150 acres of the surrounding land. It remained a county park until 1961 when the land was transferred to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In the 1990s a $170,000 renovation project was initiated to repair the aging facilities of the park. It reopened in 1997 but despite the improvements trash and attendance remained an issue. In 2002 the State Legislature approved more renovations to the park to include soccer fields, a basketball court, tennis court, walking trail, playground, roads and parking lots.

Hunting in the area is permitted in certain designated places however the killing of groundhog is not permitted and hunters must follow State Game Commission Rules and Regulations.



When is a City Not a City?

All throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, there are literally thousands of small neighborhoods, villages, hamlets, and municipalities that dot the landscape. Some are marked, some are not… and only the municipalities – the townships, boroughs, and cities – are actually legal designations.

To add to the confusion, names of those municipalities can sometimes be misleading. As an example, Dickson City in Lackawanna County isn’t actually a city. It’s a borough.

Dickson City spans about 4.7 square miles, and is located a few miles north of Scranton. Like many of the small towns in area, Dickson City was a coal town, built on the success of the local anthracite coal mines. With the mining industry long gone, commercial shopping centers, such as the Viewmont Mall, now share the space within the borough with the older Main Street businesses and homes.

Originally known as the village of Dickson, the area was part of Blakely Township. In 1875, the village became its own separate municipality, and the name chosen by the local petitioners was ‘the Borough of Dickson City’.

So, Dickson City isn’t actually a city, but for the people who live, work and visit here, the semantics of it all doesn’t quite matter as much as other issues. But it’s an interesting quirk nonetheless.

 

PAontheGo.com is a free resource for all things travel and tourism across Eastern Pennsylvania. Visit us at http://www.PAontheGo.com today for more information.