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THE PENNSYLVANIA COAL REGION.
Harper's Monthly—1877

 

THERE are few trips so delightful as that through the great Coal Fields of Pennsylvania, made by means of the NEW JERSEY CENTRAL RAILROAD and its connections. For the time, one can hardly choose amiss, from May, when the region puts on its robe of greenery, till November, when it assumes its gorgeous autumnal attire.

The starting-point from New York will be the depot of the Central Railroad at Jersey City. Avoiding the southern portion of New Jersey, which is one unbroken plain of sand, as also the northern, which is hilly and for the most part but poorly cultivated, our course lies through the very centre of the State—a region made up of alluvial valleys containing some of the richest soil that is to be found in the country—and after this transit of New Jersey, our route takes in quite entirely the eastern half of Pennsylvania.

At the start about twenty-five miles of level, marshy land lie before us. On the right a low range of mountains skirts the distant horizon—a range which by-and-by, however, beyond Elizabeth City, is directly alongside of us, permitting us to look up its gently sloping sides covered with farms and farm-houses. On the top of one of these hills, just after passing through Plainfield, we discern Washington Rock, the point from which Washington was in the habit of watching the movements of the enemy, who was rapidly pushing him across the State to the banks of the Delaware. The view from this rock is of unusual beauty; taking into its compass Elizabeth, Rahway, Amboy, New Brunswick, and, under favorable conditions of atmosphere, even the shipping in New York Bay.

At the little village of Bound Brook, where we intersect the Raritan, we are launched into the beautiful valley which receives its name from that river. The soil, as we proceed, grows continually richer; and gradually ascending we come to Somerville, the shire town of Somerset County, on the banks of the Raritan. Very soon the limestone hills begin to present their exquisitely rounded forms against the sky. Passing across the south branch of the Raritan, over the High Bridge, we follow Spruce Run to Clarksville, at the foot of the Musconetcong Mountain—a district rich in iron ore. Hard by is New Hampton, where we have spread before us in all its beauty the Musconetcong Valley, not extensive indeed in area, but having hardly a rival for beauty and richness of soil.

At New Hampton we change cars, taking the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad across Warren County to the Delaware Water Gap—one of those abrupt miracles of nature which it is impossible to appreciate at a glance.

There are other gaps of a similar nature throughout the Appalachian range. There is one in Sharp Mountain; another through Kittatinny, or Blue Mountain, made by the Lehigh River; and there is still another made by the Susquehanna, above Harrisburg. Professor Rogers, the Pennsylvania geologist, speaks of these clefts, thus dividing mountain ranges to their very bases, is "transverse dislocation;" and he traces in them all this uniform law, viz.: that the eastward section always projects to the northward, as compared with its opposite. In the Delaware Water Gap this northward projection of the New Jersey section beyond that on the Pennsylvania side is very evident to the eye. The two walls, which rise precipitously on either side to a height of fifteen or sixteen hundred feet, are made up of thin layers of sandstone and conglomerate rock, and by the position of their strata (lying apparently at an angle of forty-five degrees with the horizon) indicate the ancient volcanic convulsion by which they were upheaved above the uniform level of the Kittatinny ridge—a ridge which appears once to have been the margin of a vast lake, receiving within its rock-bound inclosure the waters of the Chemung, Chenango, the Delaware, and the Susquehanna rivers; but which, through the gaps or dislocations above referred to, and formed at a period more ancient than human records, has allowed this mighty procession of rivers a free access southward to the sea.

There are various points of view which the tourist may select, in order to behold the landscape, as modified by this prominent natural wonder. He may take a point outside of the Gap, or one from within, toward the village; he may look at it from the Kittatinny House; or he may ascend to the highest summit of the mountain on either side, and look down upon the ghastly fissure below him, and upon the diversified landscape that stretches far away to the northward and southward along the banks of the river. He may be choice, also, as to the season—he may come in the early summer, or he may wait till autumn has touched the forest leaves with crimson and golden lines, pouring over them a flood of splendor, peculiar to our American forests; but, in any case, he shall find the entire scene—the rudely broken ridge, with its crumbling, precipitous sides, and with its two long, low ledges that, on either side of the river, it puts forth, as if, on the one hand, it would run up to punish the bold stream at its very sources, or as if, on the other hand, it were chasing it down to the bay—one of the most picturesque that this green earth of ours can yield.

On the morrow we resume our journey, moving still in a northwesterly direction toward Scranton. More and more, romantic features become characteristic of the country; for we now commence the ascent of Pocono Mountain, over an upward grade of sixty-five feet to the mile. The novelty of this ascent, added to the remarkable scenery, makes this ride interesting beyond description, and upsets all our notions regarding the necessities and limitations of railroad construction. For here we have an elevation measuring upward of two thousand feet, as great as that of the Hoosick Mountain, through which the Troy and Boston Railroad is driving a tunnel; but, instead of slinking through the mountain in an underhanded way, we boldly overstep its summit in open daylight, while far below us curl the envious mist-clouds about the mountain sides.

Before reaching the Pocono Forks we obtain a magnificent view of the Water Gap, which a few hours ago we left behind us, but which is now directly at our left, and distinctly visible against the sky, above many an intervening valley and range of hills. Descending through illimitable forests, and surrounded on all sides by a rugged grandeur, unusual even among mountains, we approach Scranton, the northern limit of our route; a short distance before reaching which, however, there is a most romantic cascade formed by Roaring Brook as it leaps down the steep ledges of the mountain on its way to the town, with whose infant growth it is forever identified, since upon its rapid stream was built the old grist-mill of Philip Abbot, about which as a nucleus the town commenced its development. This grist-mill, as regards its architecture and internal mechanism, was of the most primitive construction. Its outside framework was supported by rude crotches thrust into the ground; the flinty stones used in grinding were drawn from a neighboring ledge; these were turned by a leathern belt passed over the drum of the water-wheel; and for a bolt a dry deer-skin was used, perforated with small holes, which formed the only separation of the flour from the coarse bran.

Let not the reader suppose that the town of Scranton, as we beheld it to-day, has grown up about a grist-mill! The town has had as many separate eras of progress as it has had names. As the home of the Indians it, or rather the region in which it is situated, was called Cabouse, after the chief of the tribe, which name it retained until the beginning of this century, when it was called Slocum Hollow, after the Slocums, into whose hands the old mill had passed, and who, besides building a saw-mill and two distilleries, bought up seventeen hundred acres of land, which was long known as the Slocum Farm. These Slocums were Ebenezer and Benjamin, brothers of Frances Slocum, whose capture by the Indians at five years of age, and whose eventful history afterward—her identification with the race that had adopted her, the painful search after her by her brothers, the final discovery of her whereabouts more than half a century after her abduction from Wilkesbarre, and, finally, the visit made to her in her far-off Western home by her brothers: a history which reads like a romance—have become known as widely as the Wyoming tragedy with which they were so intimately connected.

After glorying for about forty years in the name of Slocum Hollow—during which time it was of very little account—it doffed that euphonious title for the name of Harrison, until few years afterward, when it received its present designation. It is really within the last ten years that the greater portion of the town has sprung up; and that which has given impetus to its rapid progress during that time has been it extensive collieries, taken in connection with the increased facilities of transportation.

Scranton lies on the east bank of the Lackawanna River, and is the centre of the Lackawanna coal region. To get the best view of the town we should cross the railroad bridge to the eminence on the opposite bank at Hyde Park. The town presents neither a very beautiful nor magnificent appearance to the eye. One endless pile of brick greets the eye wherever it turns, as indeed is the case in all the large towns of Eastern Pennsylvania. But the natural scenery is of striking beauty. The river winds lovingly about the edges of the town, and its banks are prodigal of shade trees; and the mountains have a near, familiar look about them disrobed completely of that mysterious haze in which distance inwraps them, though here and there along the horizon a beautiful glimpse is afforded of the blue heights far beyond. As for the town of Scranton, seen from this point, I confess that I was best pleased with that portion of it which vulgarly goes by the name of Shantyville—a thousand rude huts, closely packed together, tier upon tier, with narrow alleys between—yet absolutely refreshing to the eye, as the solitary portion of the town in which brick does not predominate! Here live the miners and the laborers employed in the various coal and iron works, occupying in this humble style the whole western side of the town, while upon the opposite side are gathered the Scrantonian elegance and respectability in their more assuming homes. These, upon the right hand, are the coral insects that work beneath the earth "with enduring toil," out of the reach of the sunlight, out of the sight of flowers, building up the palpable foundations of wealth; those upon the left build upon the firm basis thus prepared for them their climbing towers of prosperity and pride.

Now let us take a glance at the mines. The reader will allow us one moment with the geographical position and the geological aspects of the coal-fields. Coal itself is of vegetable origin, and it is the result of the "decomposition of the compound of bodies from which it is formed." Once America was a long, narrow island, reaching from Nova Scotia to the far West; neither Alleghenies nor Rocky Mountains as yet existed, but a great ocean spread away to the north and another to the south. Gradually on either side, by the action of the waters, vast deposits of stratified rock were formed, which, accumulating, were at length raised to the surface at numerous points, forming low marshy islands. These became covered with a luxuriant vegetation, under conditions of atmosphere peculiarly favorable to such growth; generations of this rapid growth quickly succeeded each other, the decay of each forming the basis of that which followed. For ages this process went on; and when the Alleghenies were afterward upheaved in successive ranges to the southward, the reader can easily imagine the great disturbance, the distortions and dislocations which these stratified deposits must have undergone. He will remember, too, that these ridges thus suddenly upheaved must have imprisoned many a large, inlying body, of water, which, in proportion to the resistance offered, would the more violently force various outlets to the open sea beyond, and, in its way out, would, with its tumultuous current, tear up the already loosened strata—if possible sweeping them entirely away, but otherwise leaving them behind in confused heaps. The ranges of the Alleghenies increase in height as we proceed southward, till in North Carolina they rise more than six thousand feet above the level of the sea. The more southern ranges, being later in their upheaval, and therefore meeting with greater resistance from the continually hardening crust of the earth, were for this reason thrown up to a greater height cases being measured by resistance. These ranges, therefore, offered a proportionally greater resistance to the escape of the waters which they inclosed; hence the greater violence of the escaping waters, which accounts for the fact that, for the most part, the coal measures of the South have been swept away. In regions where there was no violent action of water at all, as in Western Pennsylvania, we have the soft bituminous coal, the, hydrogen of which has never been permitted to escape; and the reason that we have not bituminous coal in East Pennsylvania as a general thing, is this: the external disturbances which affected the strata, though insufficient to sweep them away, yet so effectually exposed them to the air that the soft coal became in time hardened to anthracite.

The anthracite coal-fields of Pennsylvania are contained between the Blue Ridge and the Susquehanna. Here it "outcrops" in the most elevated regions, and always in the vicinity of rivers. Under a bed of clay we find a micaceous slate or sand-stone, and then we strike the benches of coal, beneath which lie the elder strata of shale, conglomerate, old red sandstone, and Devonian deposit; and the absolute depth of these underlying strata, from the base of the series where the lowest sandstone comes in contact with the primary rocks, is estimated by Professor Rogers to be no less than 40,000 feet. For convenience we may divide the coal-fields into three compartments the Lackawanna, the Wyoming, and the Lehigh.

The Lackawanna and the Wyoming valley adjoin each other, and, together, may be imagined as two outspread wings, the pivotal point about which they balance being at Pittston, a short distance below Scranton, at the junction of the Lackawanna River with the north branch of the Susquehanna. Altogether there are in these two valleys over fifty collieries, scattered along the river from Carbondale to Shickshinny. These are under the direction of various companies, mostly of railroad or canal corporations and some are the property of private individuals. The external appearance of the collieries is strikingly similar. Where the "outcrop" allows of a direct access there is an entrance to the mine by means of an inclined plane, called a slope but generally, in this region, it is necessary to strike a perpendicular shaft down into the mine and having thus reached the coal measures, subterranean chambers are excavated in every direction. Sometimes there is both a slope and shaft. At the summit of the slope, or directly above the shaft, a tall slender structure is erected which contains the machinery for raising, breaking, and sorting the coal, and is usually called a "coal breaker." As one of these collieries answers for all, we will examine the Oxford shaft and breaker, which, besides being near at hand, has also the latest mechanical improvements.

The, first room which we enter contains the stationary engine, whose office is to raise the coal up the shaft, and turn the breaker. The coal is carried up to the top of the structure from the mine in deep carts, holding four or five tons each. Let us ascend to this topmost room and we shall see the coal as it comes from the hands of the miner. Here is a laborer, who stands by, and as the car reaches the top takes out from it a card upon which is the name of the miner to whom the load is to be accredited. For each load mined the miner receives about seventy-two cents; and in this way he often earns from $60 to $80 per month. The coal is here "dumped off" into a shute, which conveys it to the "landing," where there are other laborers stationed to break the larger pieces, when it passes on to the rollers of the breaker, which receiving it between their toothed surfaces, crush it, just as it happens, into various shapes and sizes. From the rollers the coal is passed down into screens, which allow its different sizes to pass through their correspondingly different apertures. After being "screened" the coal is passed through various shutes, at the bottom of which railway cars are stationed to receive it; when, over lateral railways, it is conveyed to the coal-yard of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, or to the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, to be shipped to market.


While passing through the last-named shutes the coal is separated from the slate with which it is mixed. This process is intrusted to lads of from four to ten years of age; and to those who look for the picturesque features of a colliery the slate-picking room is the most interesting of all. Nothing can be more amusing than the expression of countenance and the movements of these little fellows, nothing more ludicrous than their ragged and ungainly habiliments. They seem rather to be amusing themselves than working, as they lazily pick out and drop underneath the pieces of slate-rock, which the casual visitor could not tell from the genuine coal, but which they detect by a sort of indolent intuition.

If you wish to descend into the mine itself you will step into the car, which, after having been emptied above, is again descending into the shaft. You are let down about two hundred feet into the dark, holding one of the miner's lamps in your hand. But even with your lamp you can see scarcely a rod ahead of you, and seem to be in perpetual danger of being run over by the coal-cars that rattle along the narrow defile, meeting or pursuing you. Soon you accustom your eye and feet to the features of your novel situation, and closely following your guide, you begin to thread the labyrinthian chambers, narrow and low, that stretch away in all directions. Soon you come to an abrupt termination. Here you must tread carefully, for there may be danger ahead. The rock is mined here by blasting, of which you may get the full benefit if you disregard the code of signals. You smell gunpowder—guide hails out ahead—it is all right you come up just in time to hear of an accident which, not five minutes ago—indeed in the last blasting—came near proving fatal to a miner in the vicinity who mistook the signal! You tremble for your fate, and are half-angry with your guide, who insists upon showing you how the thing is done—not the accident, but the process of blasting!

You are now quite willing to ascend again into the upper air, and are led back to the entrance. You came down in a cart—but how are you to get back? The carts which go up are filled with coal, so that you must go up some other way. You stumble against a slender frame-work which looks very like a gallows: it is upon this that your ascent is to be effected. The lower piece of the frame is not half a foot wide, and upon this piece the guide steps, bidding you to follow. You expostulate, meekly expressing your preference for the full coal-cart or any thing else; but it's of no use—the gallows or nothing!—and up yon totter, clinging to the sleeve of your guide.

From Scranton, via the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, we take a southwesterly course at Pittston, entering the Wyoming Valley, over which the cruelty of Indian warfare has thrown a deeply tragic pall in our history. At the very head of the valley is Campbell's Ledge—a favorite point of view for those wishing to obtain a prospect which shall take in the whole length of the valley. Fit it is that the ledge should receive this name, standing as it does at the very gate of the valley made illustrious by the noble poet's song—although, it must be, confessed, Campbell knew a little less than nothing of the Wyoming of which he wrote.

Our course from this point till we reach Wilkesbarre is characteristic both for the exquisite loveliness of the scenery, and for the intimate connection which every portion of this scenery has with the most pathetic romance of our early history. In this romance the adjoining valley of Lackawanna, which we have just left behind, has no insignificant share. Both valleys were originally settled by Yankees from Connecticut, who had to maintain a terrible struggle with the Pennsylvanians for a quiet possession of the country—a struggle which has passed into record under the name of the "Yankee and Pennamite" war. The Revolution diverted the attention of both parties from minor questions of dispute; but it was in connection with this war that a heavier scourge fell upon them at the hands of the Indians, who had become the allies of Great Britain in her conflict with the Colonies. The inhabitants of these valleys, from their vicinity to the Six Nations, and by reason also of their depletion in strength to meet the necessities of Washington's army, were peculiarly vulnerable to attack. This was too clearly seen by Major John Butler, who, with about 400 Provincials and 600 or 700 Indians, came down upon this valley of Wyoming on the last day of June, 1778. This body of men could be opposed by only 300, who came near reiterating the ancient fate of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. But has not all this been told in the pages of this Magazine?

As we move down the river, every stage of our progress discovers some new token of this memorable contest. On the opposite side of the river, a little below Pittston, was situated Fort Wintermoot, from which Butler with his savages advanced; and a little below this, on the same side of the river, the tourist may still see Queen Esther's Rock, named after that celebrated squaw who, in revenge for, the death of a brother, with her own hands beat out the brains of several captives taken in the battle. Farther down, where the Wyoming Monument now stands, was the bloody battle-field, and just below stood Forty Fort, upon whose site a church now stands.

Passing by these sad mementos, we come to the town of Wilkesbarre, or rather the railroad station, from which we are conveyed a short distance by stage to Phenix Hotel, which is in the centre of the town itself. After a good dinner in a hotel, which, as regards its structure, seems to you old-fashioned enough to have been honored or dishonored by a visit from "British Butler" himself, and which, you are astonished to hear, has yet only seen about a single generation of human life, we set out for Prospect Rock upon the mountain-range just east of Wilkesbarre.

The view from this point comprehends the whole valley from Campbell's Ledge to Nanticoke Dam; and on a clear day it is said that even Hyde Park, opposite Scranton, is quite distinctly visible. The panorama spread before the eye is magnificent. The valley, with the beautiful Susquehanna, dotted with many a verdant island winding through it; the pleasant old villages, that lovingly cling to the banks of the river as if the stream which runs through them and links them together were a symbol of the beautiful chain of unity that in the former time bound them together against the common perils of the wilderness; the remembrancer of these perils which one sees in yonder monument (for it is distinctly visible); and, beyond all these, the threefold tier of mountain-ridges that rise one above the other along the western sky, one of thorn near at hand, with its well-defined form, while the other two peer from above with their blue tops, as from some other world; these are the prominent features of the scene.

Give me Prospect Rock for magnificence of view; but if you want the material for a picture you need not stir one step from your hotel. Sit down in the veranda with me, during that one hour—the one which follows sunset—in which hour of all others the Susquehanna wears its crowning glories. I can not describe what you shall see—who could describe in words this meeting together, through their shadowy reflections, over the edges of this languid and luxurious river, of all things near it and above—this meeting together, as for caresses and last adieus, of woods and clouds and sky, while the river that mirrors all glows with delicate and ever-changing tints, as if it had an impassioned appreciation of the glory with which it is overspread?

From Wilkesbarre two routes lie before us, which we shall pursue separately. Starting upon the longer of these, we continue our course through the Wyoming Valley, directly along the bank of the Susquehanna, through Rupert, where is the junction with the Catawissa Railroad, to Danville, where are the celebrated Montour Iron Works. If the reader desires to have some memorable impression of what manual labor is, let him visit the "puddling furnaces" of the Rolling Mills here, and he will be fully satisfied. For myself, I was so thoroughly enchanted that for two full hours I stood and watched the workmen at a single furnace through the entire process of transforming pig-iron into wrought-iron. It is so hot in the vicinity that you or I could, with great difficulty, stand for five minutes in the place of the workman.

At Northumberland we have the junction of the north and west branches of the Susquehanna, whose united stream we follow down to Clark's Ferry, where we are directly opposite to the mouth of the Juniata, and thence to Harrisburg. Just after we have crossed the long bridge across the river, as we enter Harrisburg, we can easily see the grave of Harris, the founder of the borough, the only monument, above which is the stump of the old tree to which the Indians once bound him and attempted to burn him by setting fire to the tree—a fate from which he was succored by a band of friendly Indians from across the river. The citizens have inclosed the spot with an iron railing and covered it thickly with flowers. The river here, as heretofore, is dotted with numerous islands.

From Harrisburg, through a rich and beautiful valley, we move on to Reading, stopping at Lebanon, to pay a visit to the Cornwall iron banks, about seven miles distant from that town. The peculiar characteristic which gives interest to these banks is the vast extent of iron ore lying open to the view; in the largest of the three, which is called Big Hill, it is estimated that more than 40,000,000 tons lie in plain sight above the water-level!

From Allentown we might move directly back to New York. But the reader will bear in mind that from Wilkesbarre I was to take him upon two separate courses. One of these, so far as it is distinct from the other, we have taken: let us now imagine ourselves back at Wilkesbarre, from which point we will take a shorter but more lively route.

By stage we ride up to the top of the mountain in order to take the cars of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad to White Haven, descending over the last five miles of road by mere force of gravity. From White Haven we again take the stage for Eckley, which is seven miles distant, at the top of Buck Mountain. The view from the summit of this mountain, which towers upward to the height of 1700 feet above tide-water, is exceedingly picturesque. The whole scene is untouched by the modifying hand of man, rugged, just as it came from God, if we except the road along which we have come, and which, as we look behind us, we can see winding its way backward and downward into the valley—the one single token of intrusive civilization.

Eckley itself is a vast collection of shanties—its uppermost social strata are yet to be formed; it is a good example of the sort of town which will grow up about a colliery.

Over the Hazleton Railroad to Hazel Creek, and from thence by the Beaver Meadow Railroad, we proceed to Mauch Chunk, passing along the beautiful banks of the Lehigh River. So narrow is the defile between the mountain-spurs at this point that there is only sufficient room for a single street in the main part of the town.

The chief attractions for us at Mauch Chunk were two. The first of these was the grounds, or garden rather, surrounding and belonging to Judge Packer's residence. The gardener of Louis Philippe laid them out: the poor refugee had somehow found his way from the gardens of Paris to the shanties of Mount Eckley, and thence down to Mauch Chunk, where he was obliged to beg an opportunity to work. When he undertook the Judges grounds they were as rugged, barren, and unpromising as any of the surrounding mountain slopes. Now terrace rises above terrace, the very soil of which they are formed having been literally created by the gardener; these are supported by conglomerate stone, brought hither from a considerable distance and placed ingeniously so as to mimic a natural situation; and over these the myrtle spreads a luxuriant growth.

The second great charm of Mauch Chunk was the ascent to the top of Mount Pisgah, and a trip to the mines over the Gravity Roads and the marvelous Switch-back.

We commence the ascent from the foot of Mount Pisgah. Here we seat ourselves in the open car, and, at a given signal, are hoisted up an inclined plane more than half a mile long over a grade of one foot to every four—up—up, as if we were being drawn into the clouds by some invisible power! Here then we stand at the top, 880 feet above the sea, obtaining a most magnificent view. The Valley of the Lehigh seems directly under our feet; Mauch Chunk dwindles into nothingness, as seen under the mountain-spurs that surround it; tier above tier of mountains arise in the distance; and far above, prominent as the crowning feature of the scene, tower up the cleft sides which form the Lehigh Water Gap. But we are not at our full height—though this is the most advantageous view that we shall get. Another plane, six miles further on, lies before us, up which we are again elevated to Summit Hill: from which point we descend into the mines. These lie in quarries, which we enter not by shafts, but directly, by means of tunnels, into the coal-measures, which nave here a greater thickness than any where else in the coal-fields. But the road itself is far more interesting than the mines to which it ministers. We descend from our high elevation by gravity, changing our directions at various points by means of what is called a switch-back. The car, by the momentum it has gained, is carried for a short distance up a steep ascent, from which, by the returning descent, it gains an impetus which forces it over another track (upon which, by a self-regulating arrangement, it has been switched). The arrangement of these switch-backs is such that we are carried around a circuit of several miles, returning again to Summit Hill, the point from which we started, being again drawn up, of course, to the top by means of inclined planes. All the way our course is through the wildest woodland scenery, and our velocity, oftentimes exceeding that of the locomotive, adds to the excitement with which we are inspired.

An anecdote is told of a Quaker couple who once visited Mauch Chunk, on purpose, as they said, to see "Josiah's works"—meaning this novel system of inclined planes, together with the switchback, which were the work of Josiah White. Looking up, however, from the foot of Mount Pisgah, the bump of prudence began to predominate against that of curiosity. Some efforts were made to induce them to enter the car; but they held back. "They wanted much to see Josiah's works, but—" and shaking their heads deprecatingly they looked up the long plane. Continually the visitors came thronging in and took their seats in the cars. "Does thee mean to say," asked the Quaker, "that all these people are going up?" "Certainly," said the conductor, again assuring them of their perfect security. The Quaker couple were now observed to hold an anxious consultation, the result of which was that they agreed to make the venture upon one condition. "Thee will go no faster than we want thee to?" stipulated the Quaker. "Not a whit," replied the conductor, now certain of his prey. The cars are mounted, and up they are hoisted. The poor couple looked at each other in amazement and affright, but are persuaded to try the second plane. Then commences the descent. The novelty of the ride exhilarates and inspirits. The old Quaker's gray eyes glisten with excitement as the speed gradually increases. Soon he gives an impatient gesture, and asks the astonished conductor, "Can't thee go a little faster, friend ?" Now the velocity is at its highest. The Quaker's eye has a mad twinkle about it, as with still greater impatience he beseeches the conductor to put on all possible speed, utterly unconscious of the merriment which he is making among the party.

Passing over the Lehigh Valley Railroad to Easton we have the Lehigh River continually at our left, and are frequently reminded of the terrible freshet which swept this whole valley last year. It was all the more destructive on account of the damming up of the river to fill the Lehigh Canal; for these dams, being suddenly swept away, let down immense volumes of water into the narrow defiles below. Many lives were lost, and many instances are recorded of the miraculous preservations of life. One of the most remarkable of these instances occurred at Hokendanqua, just above Allentown. A father went away to carry some articles of great value to a place of safety, leaving his two young children in bed, intending immediately to return to their rescue. But he came too late. The waters had already rendered access to the house impossible. Now here is the marvel. Instead of drowning the children, the inflowing waters gently lifted the bed upon which they lay, and saved their lives. They were not even moistened by the water! It was this freshet which, breaking up the canal, so greatly increased the price of coal last year.

Bethlehem, twelve miles above Easton, is noted as an ancient Moravian settlement. The old edifices built by the Brethren still remain. It is very interesting to go through the Moravian burial-ground. Here are buried, with the utmost indiscrimination, Indians, negroes, and white men. The Moravian Society in this country was in reality a missionary organization, and is to be considered as such. Their great aim was the conversion of the Indians; and it is beautiful to look upon these Indian graves, and to think of the Christian love with which the Moravians regarded the poor savage even in death.

Easton is one of the oldest boroughs of Pennsylvania. Confined originally to the lower grounds it has literally climbed up over the surrounding hills. Altogether it is a quaint old town, having about it all the peculiarities of a Pennsylvania borough, one of the commonest of which is a plentiful abundance of lager-bier.

From Easton we return on the Central Railroad of New Jersey back to New York, having seen probably a greater variety of natural scenery than is usually the lot of railroad travelers, and having witnessed some of the most remarkable specimens of human ingenuity and skill which the country can furnish. Besides these attractions to the tourist, there are few regions in which a summer vacation can be more pleasantly passed.

 

ITINERARY OF THE ROUTES DESCRIBED.

I. NEW YORK To WILKESBARRE.—Starting from Jersey City at 8 A.M. the tourist will reach Hampton Junction, (60 miles distant, at 11 o'clock, which is the only time when it is possible to secure a connection with the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. Immediately availing himself of this connection he reaches the Water Gap, 26 miles beyond, at 1 P.M. Supposing him to stop over at the Gap for one night, he will resume his journey at 1 o'clock the next day to Scranton, 57 miles further to the northwest. Stopping at Scranton overnight, the next morning he takes the 10 o'clock train for Kingston, 17 miles distant, on the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, from which point he is taken by stage to Wilkesbarre, about a mile from the station, arriving there about 3 o'clock P.M. The trip to Prospect Rock, 3 miles to the east of the town, may be, with the exception of the last 200 yards, taken by carriage. The tourist will stop at Wilkesbarre overnight.

II. From WILKESBARRE To HARRISBURG.—The tourist who takes the longer of the two routes which we have described in the foregoing pages will leave Wilkesbarre at 9 A.M. of the fourth day, reaching Danville, 50 miles further down the valley, at noon. Stopping over for a day—as he must, if he stop at all—he will reach Northumberland, twelve miles distant, at 1 the next day. From this point, at 10 o'clock of the following day (the fifth), he proceeds 53 miles to Harrisburg over the Northern Central Railroad, arriving at 1 P.M. If he stays at Harrisburg, overnight he will proceed at 8 A.M. on the following day to Lebanon, 26 miles distant, which he will reach a little after 9. After paying a visit to the Cornwall Ore Banks, by a special railway accommodation, he will take the 3 P.M. train for Reading, 28 miles from Lebanon. From Reading he may immediately proceed to Allentown, via East Pennsylvania Railroad, over a distance of 36 miles. The next morning, at 5:30 A.M., he starts for Bethlehem, about fifteen minutes' ride over the Lehigh Valley Railroad: stopping at which point till 1 P.M., he moves on to Easton, 12 miles further down the Lehigh River. He will then have five hours at Easton before taking the 6.30 P.M. train, via Central Railroad of New Jersey, to New York—a distance of 75 miles.

The route thus described from New York and back takes one week, and traverses 457 miles, giving time for examining the more important objects of interest, though there are several points where an additional day may be pleasantly spent.

III. WILKESBARRE To MAUCH CHUNK.—Supposing the tourist to prefer the shorter of our tours from Wilkesbarre, on the morning of the fourth day, instead of pursuing his course down the Wyoming Valley, he will proceed by stage from Wilkesbarre at 7:30 A.M. to the depot of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, 5 miles up the mountain. At White Haven, taking the stage to Eckley, he arrives about noon, proceeding thence directly by Hazleton Railroad to Beaver Meadow Junction, where he will take the Beaver Meadow Railroad to Mauch Chunk, arriving thereabout the middle of the afternoon. The next morning he will take the trip over the Gravity Roads and Switch-back, starting at 8 A.M., and returning in time for the Lehigh Valley 4 o'clock train to Allentown, 29 miles from Mauch Chunk. Thence his course to New York will be the same as by the longer route.


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