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The Endless Mountains
A History

By Clifford Rowland

The Endless Mountains in Pennsylvania
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In Northeast Pennsylvania, there are 4,500 square miles of green mountains and lush valleys, laced with silvery rushing streams and lakes of cool, pure water and bisected from northwest to southeast by the wide, slow-moving, and beautiful Susquehanna River. The first inhabitants of the area, the Delaware Indians, were the first to call the area "the endless mountains," and interchanged that with "the land of paradise" because of the abundance of game and fish. Those identities are as valid today as when the Endless Mountains first appeared on maps more than two centuries ago.

The traveler who values the serenity of the mountains uninterrupted by the trappings of rampant commercialism will find these attributes in the Endless Mountains. The traveler will see real people and places with endearing character. They say hello to strangers on the street, and the doors are not locked by deadbolts every night. You are likely to find yourself looking out at a herd of buffalo, a family of deer, or a gaggle of geese, not to mention the cows, chickens, and horses. The flavor and values of small town America are alive and well.

The towns you will visit, such as Tunkhannock, Towanda, Dushore, Montrose, Nicholson, Laceyville, and Beaumont, reflect the influence of native American, French, and other European settlers. You can visit the area, still somewhat remote, where aristocratic refugees from the French Revolution built a sanctuary in hopes that Marie Antoinette and her family could join them.

The mountains are a treasure for outdoor persons and families, regardless of the preferred activity. You can enjoy the hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and bird and wildlife watching in the many state parks and game lands throughout the area. You can also choose from golf, swimming, bicycling, canoeing, cross-country or downhill skiing, ice skating... the list goes on and on. As for leaf peeping, the fall colors are unmatched. When viewed from the top of one of the mountains, the foliage spreads out in an endless carpet of rolling, flaming color.

Man-made wonders include the "Oldest House," an historical landmark which served river travelers and, later, the railroad. After more than two centuries, it is still architecturally intact. The house is a stark reminder of the lack of comfort available when the American republic was formed. The bridge enthusiast will find the area dotted with covered bridges, the most notable being the covered bridge at Luthers Mills. Nicholson Bridge, the largest poured concrete span in the world and built in 1915, is still in use. Also awe-inspiring is the Starraduct Viaduct, completely built of stone, each laid into place by hand in 1848. It too is in use today.

The Farm Museum of Troy and its collection of tools and memorabilia from the past were all donated by the residents of the mountains. For those interested in some of the influences upon our nation's industrial capacity, the national park at Steamtown is unmatched in the quality and number of museum exhibits and the collection of steam engines. In addition, a tour of an actual coal mine, deep in the bowels of the earth, and a tour of an authentically preserved town for coal miners and their families are experiences that will create a lasting impression.

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