Burnside Photographic "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." – Henry David Thoreau

December 16, 2011

Hickory Run

Hickory Run

A trip to the Apple Store in Whitehall (my third within a week), suggested a stop off at Hickory Run State Park, one of the largest in Pennsylvania.  On a whim, I called Cousin Rob, who knows the place intimately as a former Park Ranger.  This was a good idea!  Although our time was limited, Rob introduced me to the head guy, the affable Dave Madl, and showed me the old cemetery, wherein lie the victims of the flash flood of Halloween, 1849.  One family lost four children in the flood, caused by a poorly constructed dam and excessive logging. (See image 4.) Of course we also had to go to the Boulder Field, a truly unique geological formation consisting of over 30 acres of nothing but boulders.

The park is a part of many facets of the region’s history, partly owing to its location along the Lehigh River, and offers unparallelled natural assets.  All of this is too much to summarize herein, and you may confidently expect more on this destination from these pages in the future!

October 31, 2011

Hallowe’en 2011

Barclay Cemetery

Barclay was an old mining town in Bradford County.  It is, of course, completely abandoned now, and all remaining vestiges of the once thriving village are gone, save one – the town cemetery.  After all, you can tear down all the buildings, pull up all the railroad tracks, but how can you remove a cemetery?  A breakdown of the 1880 census indicates that by far the majority of the town’s 2600 people were immigrants – primarily from Ireland and Scotland. In 1877, nearly one third of the town was children.  There were three schools, but most children left school by the time they were teenagers to work in the mines.

Disease was commonplace, and a great number of people were victims of diphtheria.  The majority of them were children.

So here is this cemetery, out in the middle of nowhere, nestled in the hills of southern Bradford County.  The land is now PA State Game Lands, and the cemetery is accessible by driving some pretty scary roads, and then walking perhaps a thousand yards beyond a gate.  I had been there about five or six years ago, and Cousin Rob wanted to see it, so off we went.  It took us two tries, partly because of the gate, which is new since my last visit.  I was SURE we were in the right place, but we couldn’t find it.  On our next attempt, we brought the latitude and longitude with us and found it with no trouble.  We had been within a football filed of it on the first trip.

There’s a sign near the “entrance” that documents the story, as well as the identity of as many of the grave as possible.

I thought it would be appropriate for Halloween.  It is, after all, an abandoned cemetery, and what could be scarier than that?  But in a way, it is a strangely beautiful place, and one has the sense not of death, but of everlasting peace.

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