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Bear Creek Village Historic District

Bear Creek Village Boro, Luzerne County, PA

The Bear Creek Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]


The two hundred twenty-two-acre Bear Creek Historic District forms the core of the two square mile borough. The District contains 67 resources of which 61 are contributing and 6 are non-contributing. Of the non-contributing resources, five are houses constructed after 1949, and one is a modernized farmhouse that pre-dates the district's era of significance. The Bear Creek Village Historic District's contributing resources consists of houses and workers' cottages, outbuildings, auxiliary buildings, churches, cemeteries, a dam and lake, and industrial remains associated with the 19th and early 20th century lumbering and ice industries founded by Albert Lewis. The district also includes houses constructed as summer residences during the late 19th century, the 1930's, and 1940's forming a small resort village that coexisted with, and then succeeded, the village's industrial era. Fifty-two percent of the contributing resources (35) represent the Albert Lewis industrial era; while thirty-nine percent (26) of the contributing resources represent the seasonal resort character of the district. Only nine percent of the resources (6) are non-contributing. The main visual focal point of the district is at the intersection of State Route 115 (Bear Creek Boulevard) and White Haven Road (SR-2041) eleven miles north of White Haven and five miles northwest of Stoddartsville. From this vantage point, three of the district's principal resources, the Albert Lewis house, the dam and the lake, dominate the view. Bear Creek Village stands in a narrow valley formed by Bear Creek that runs through the center of the district from north to south. Wooded areas that slope down to the creek, lake, and dam surround the district. Most of the district is setback from the main highways accessed by a series of unimproved roads, some of which are former rail beds. Because the district is intersected by two state highways (Route 115 and SR-2041), it, consequently, has three distinct sections united at the intersection. The majority of the district's resources stand on the northern side of Route 115 surrounding the lake. A group of resources stretch in a southerly direction along both the east and west sides of Route 2041. The third section is a cluster of resources bounded by the southern side of Route 115 and Bear Creek on the east. While residential development has occurred around the boundaries of the district, the style and landscaping of the post-1949 development blend well with the historic resources. The development does not affect the integrity of the village as the site of important industrial activity in northeastern Pennsylvania and of a small resort community in the foothills of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.

The architectural focal point of Bear Creek Village is the massive Tudor Revival mansion of Albert Lewis, which dominates a hill to the east of the dam. Lewis began constructing his house, known as the "Mokwaka Inn," in 1895. Largely destroyed by fire in 1922, the Lewis residence was rebuilt between 1922 and 1923 to the designs of Wilkes-Barre architects Innes and Levy. The mansion curves to capture views westward across the Bear Creek valley and embrace a terrace on the west side of the house. Two large cross-gabled bays, two stories high, bookend the steeply-roofed two-story main body of the house. Originally, hemlock bark shingles clad the majority of the facade, while ornamental half-timbering was applied to the cross-gabled bays. In the 1970's, the bark shingles were replaced with additional false half-timbering to match that of the bays.

One of the district's contributing structures, the Bear Creek Dam stands on the north side of Route 115 at an elevation of 1,570'. The dam is made of timber cribbing. It is 320' wide and 17' high with a 161' spillway. The spillway creates a pool of water that flows under a bridge over the highway and continues south as Bear Creek. The Dam creates the artificial Bear Creek Lake, a district contributing site that stretches 3,830' north. Bear Creek Lake is 1,000' wide and averages a depth between nine and twelve feet. East of the dam and lake along Route 115 is the contributing cemetery.

Several large residences, most built as summer cottages by members of Wilkes-Barre's ruling class during the late nineteenth century, remain along Bear Creek Boulevard. The Pines (ca.1875) a home with a contributing barn and carriage house originally constructed by Lewis's business partner Daniel Stull, occupies a knoll to the southeast of the dam, directly across Bear Creek Boulevard from the Lewis house. Deep eaves and latticework bargeboards characterize its clapboarded mass. A contributing barn and carriage house are located at the base of the knoll. On the west side of the dam, 5767 Bear Creek Boulevard (ca.1887) a front-gabled two-story cottage with Stick-style wooden detailing, features a wraparound porch and an elaborately carved bargeboard. Across the highway, 5800 Bear Creek Boulevard (ca.1895) is a clapboarded Colonial Revival house whose gambrel roof and window placement suggests Shingle style influence.

Two significant religious buildings and a contributing site, the Lewis family cemetery, are set in the woods to the southwest of the dam. Grace Chapel (1884) is a shingled high-style Queen Anne building with a T-shaped plan. The nave and chancel are encompassed within the chapel's rectangular main wing; the chapel's interior, which is finished in beadboard, is illuminated by arched art glass windows on the north and south walls and a hipped dormer with three large multipaned windows on the east wall. An entry porch and tower, topped by a bell-roofed belfry and spiral, project from the sanctuary wing. The Lewis family cemetery sits across Chapel Road from Grace Chapel. Surrounded by a stone wall, the cemetery contains the graves of Albert Lewis and other prominent members of the Lewis family. The graves are marked by monuments or crosses designed by Tiffany Studios, New York.

Further south along Chapel Road, the former St. Elizabeth's Catholic Chapel (1911) is a vacant clapboard building. A tower with open belfry, centered on the north gable end, houses the main entrance. Simple rectangular windows, embellished with applied pedimented hood moldings, light the chapel's interior.

Two significant non-residential properties are located to the southeast of the dam along White Haven Road. The 2 1/2-story store and post office (ca.1885) is a simple shingled gable-front building with a two-story wing. A simple storefront occupies the southern portion of the front facade. Across the road, the clubhouse of the Bear Creek Association (ca.1920) is a one-story hall with clapboard siding, simple Craftsman style eaves and trim, and a porch extending across the length of the facade.

The former Lehigh Valley Railroad Station (ca.1895) originally sat directly to the east of the dam. Following the demise of rail service, it was moved north to 35 Cove Road on September 15, 1935, where it was placed on a new rubblestone foundation overlooking the lake and converted into a residence. At that time, an extensive addition, continuing the central cross gable, was made to the building's west side, and new stone chimneys at either end of the main volume. The frame building continues to boast elaborate Queen Anne detailing, including wooden bargeboards and purlins. Despite the alterations, the building retains integrity as a contributing building in the district.

The district includes properties originally constructed as workers' housing for the Lewis' enterprises. These include a three-story gambrel-roofed clapboarded double house at 29 Chapel Road near the workers' district, once known as "Hungarian Village," to the south of the two chapels. Other wooden workers' houses are concentrated along White Haven Road and in clusters surrounding the Lewis mansion on the east side of the dam and the Lewis outbuildings on the west side of the dam. Most, like the properties at 48 West Lake Road, 30 Cove Road, and 111 Beaupland Road, are variations of the Georgian house type, with rooms flanking a central stairhall, which was part of the regional rural vernacular. Others, such as the house at 602 Thistle Lane (ca.1895) and 12 Glen Summit Road (ca.1900) follow the model of the front-gabled Pennsylvania miner's dwellings common to the coal towns of the nearby Wyoming Valley. All have been altered during the transition from company village to suburban residential community.

Six contributing buildings in an area immediately to the east of the dam originally served as outbuildings for the Lewis estate. The former boathouse/carriage house (9 Lake Road West), built by contractors Monks and Shepherd in 1891, is a gabled building, clad in asbestos shingles, with simple Stick-style porches and detailing. It has been altered for use as a year-round residence. A former laundry building (5 Lake Road West) for the Lewis estate sits immediately to the south of the former boathouse. It is two stories in height with a hip roof and a redstone foundation; a simply detailed porch runs the length of its long south facade. It now serves as a private residence.

Monks and Shepherd also constructed a bowling alley in the same area for Lewis at 79 Lake Road West. Constructed atop a knoll overlooking the lake, the long, gable-roofed structure (built 1891) features two octagonal rooms, originally built as toilet rooms, which project from the east end of the structure. Clad in clapboards, this building now serves as a year-round residence. Three barns remain in a clearing behind the bowling alley. One has been converted for residential use, while the other two continue in their original function. The gambrel-roofed barn at 39 West Lake Road is notable for being the only property within the district clad in the hemlock bark shingles which once sided many Lewis structures. This grouping of estate buildings retain integrity, despite the fact that several have been converted into residences.

Innes and Levy designed Hugh R. Lewis's residence (1929) located to the northwest of the lake at 1000 Ten Mile Road, in a rustic stone and log style marrying wilderness camp architecture and rural French Provincial design. The architects developed a compound for the junior Lewis, with the main house and a caretaker's residence defining a central motor court. Both houses featured walls of uncoursed rubblestone, logs, and roughcut clapboard gable ends. The main house has an L-shaped plan; an apsidal main entrance, with a single wooden door set into a stone wall with ganged clerestory windows above, is set near the crotch of the L. The caretaker's house also has an L-shaped plan, comprised of two 1 1/2 story wooden volumes, with a hip-roofed stone appendage at the gable end closest to the motor court and the main house.

The design for the Hugh Lewis residence set the tone for much of the district's residential development in the early 20th century. Houses at 37 and 39 Cove Road (ca.1939), 99 Lake Road West (ca.1939), and 585 and 605 Lake Road East (ca.1940) echo the "Bear Creek" vocabulary of uncoursed rubble, roughcut wooden clapboards, and casement windows first explored with the Hugh Lewis lodge.

The Ernest Rohr residence at 50 East Lake Road represents a radically different design. Constructed in 1939 in the Art Moderne style for the regional manager of Duplan Silk Mill operations in Luzerne County. This two-story stuccoed house still maintains its original massing dominated by intersecting planes. While the residence has been altered, evidence of original Moderne features — such as the corner casement windows, now infilled, at the house's south end — remains clear.

While the Bear Creek Village Historic District has undergone changes during the years following its industrial prominence, the landscape, the contributing buildings and structures of the industrial era, and the large number of architecturally contributing seasonal residences built before 1949 establish a district of well-preserved integrity. The District's six non-contributing buildings include two houses constructed during the 1980's, and located at 5555 and 5770 Bear Creek Boulevard respectively. Both buildings continue the historic land use patterns along Bear Creek Boulevard; in fact the latter home, constructed in a simplified Tudor Revival style, occupies the site of a house, "White Lodge" built by George and Lilly Lewis Seneff (Albert Lewis's daughter). Three other non-contributing buildings, at 151 Beaupland Road, 499 Lake Road West, and 241 Laurie Lane, are homes constructed around the lake after the end of the District's era of significance. The last non-contributing building in the district is a frame farmhouse, constructed around 1872, and located at 555 White Haven Road. This much-modified building actually predates the Bear Creek Village Historic District's era of significance; however, in its present incarnation as an elaborate year-round residence, it is compatible with its surroundings. The district's coherence and integrity are not affected by the presence of these non-contributing buildings, nor are they affected by the additions and changes to many of the District' contributing buildings.



The Bear Creek Village Historic District meets three criteria and areas of significance for the National Register of Historic Places during the period ca.1880 (reflecting the beginning of the lumber and ice industry in Bear Creek) to 1949 (reflecting the end of ice harvesting at Bear Creek and conforming to the National Register 50-year guideline): in the areas of Industry and Recreation, in the areas of Industry Architecture. Bear Creek Village Historic District is significant in the area of Industry for its resources as they represent an intact company town associated with the important nineteenth and twentieth century lumbering and ice industries throughout the region and Commonwealth. Additionally, it is significant in the area of Recreation for its numerous resources that record the evolution of the vacation home-resort development of the Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania. The district is significant in the area of Industry for its association with entrepreneur Albert Lewis (1840-1923) who developed the lumbering industry, the ice industry, a company town, and seasonal resort community at Bear Creek and contributed substantially to similar developments in other regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Lewis successfully exploited the natural resources of a densely wooded and well-watered township, creating extractive industries and a way of life that endured for more than sixty years. He shared the drive and ability of his better known entrepreneurial contemporaries, men such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan, though lacking their degree of ruthlessness. Among the prominent lumber and ice men active in the region, Josiah White, Adam Stull, Daniel Stull, Arthur L. Stull, Col. Robert Bruce Ricketts, George M. Hollenback, and John P. Crellin, Albert Lewis stands out as the deciding actor. Through his career Lewis created business partnerships and arranged land deals with these men that most often led to a controlling interest, making him deserve the title of "Lumber and Ice King of Luzerne County." Lewis used his status as the premier lumber and ice magnate in Luzerne county to control substantial components of the lumber and ice business outside the county as well. Always operating from his Bear Creek base, Albert Lewis's influence extended throughout the Lehigh River and Pocono region, as a result of family ties to Asa Packer, the Lehigh Valley Railroad magnate, and John P. Crellin, the White Haven based lumber merchant to the Lehigh Valley Railroad. His influence extended into Carbon, Wyoming, and Sullivan counties. He invested in railroads and built roads in Luzerne County and St. Augustine, Florida. He was a partner in the Glen Summit Hotel with the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and was instrumental in the founding of the lumbering and ice producing towns of Noxen, Alderson, Stull, and Harvey's Lake. While he vacationed in Newport, Rhode Island and St. Augustine, Florida, Lewis is unique among many of his contemporaries in that he chose to live and work in the company town he created, rather than living among the mansions of the elite in Wilkes-Barre. The District's resources relating to Albert Lewis's estate and those of his son Hugh's demonstrate well the country estate of Lewis and his family commensurate with their station in life. These resources are some of the few remaining in the region that tell the story of successful business enterprise and the wealth it produced. The Bear Creek Village Historic District is also eligible for the National Register under Criterion C in the area of Architecture for its grouping of high style and vernacular buildings associated with two different aspects of the community's history. Its turn-of-the-century role as the proprietary village of ice and lumber magnate Albert Lewis, and its continuing role as a rustic mountain getaway for the well-to-do of the Wyoming Valley.

Bear Creek Village provides an opportunity to explore the organization of Northeastern Pennsylvania's ice-cutting industry. In comparison to the other communities that grew up around this little-understood regional enterprise, such as Mountain Springs or Alderson, Bear Creek Village retains a high degree of integrity from this period of its development. While certain buildings and structures, such as ice plants and the ice company office have been destroyed, the resources which remain — the lake and dam themselves, the workers' houses, store, chapel, the railroad station — provide ample opportunity to interpret life at Bear Creek Village.

Company housing types at Bear Creek reveal a heavy emphasis on the communal boarding of workers. Several early company boarding houses are believed to remain, including properties at 333 White Haven Road and 30 Cove Road. In fact, the northeast dependency of the Lewis mansion is still referred to as the "Bunk," in recognition of its long-standing use as workers' lodging. The preponderance of communal housing indicates the nature of the workforce for Lewis's early ice harvesting and lumbering operations.

This earlier company housing at Bear Creek follows traditional building types, such as the Georgian house type, which were common in rural eastern Pennsylvania. The usage of these vernacular forms is consistent with other mid-nineteenth-century rural industrial communities throughout the upper Lehigh River Valley, such as Stoddartsville, Hickory Run, or Rockport.

Later buildings constructed as company housing, such as the properties at 602 Thistle Lane, 29 Chapel Road, and 12 Glen Summit Road, reflect the changing nature of Lewis's workforce and community. The construction of a Catholic chapel in 1911 and a schoolhouse (300 White Haven Road) further emphasize this shift in 1913. The newer workers' housing, which is similar to the front-gabled Pennsylvania miners' houses found in the nearby Wyoming coal fields, demonstrates the subtle impacts of Lewis's increasing economic and social ties to the urbanized Wyoming Valley.

Together with its vernacular resources, Bear Creek Village possesses several remarkable monuments to Albert Lewis's interests, patronage and taste. Foremost among these are Grace Chapel, a superb example of a high-style rural Episcopal chapel; the monuments in the adjoining Lewis family cemetery, many designed by the Tiffany Studios of New York City, and the Lewis home itself. Taken together with the bowling alley, the boathouse, and other service buildings, these resources present a remarkably complete picture of the world that Albert Lewis created for himself and his family.

Grace Chapel, in particular, is an extremely well done essay in the Queen Anne style. Its highly talented designer is unknown, and it is possible that Lewis or P. R. Raife, the Wilkes-Barre contractor who built the chapel, may have obtained the design from a pattern book. In any event, the fact that a building of this quality would emerge in a place like Bear Creek in 1884 speaks volumes about Albert Lewis and the aspirations he held for his proprietary village. As Lewis's country seat, and the center of his multifaceted business operations, Bear Creek Village provides a glimpse into the complexities and subtleties of nineteenth-century capitalism as practiced by this significant Pennsylvania industrialist.

Another fascinating aspect of the Bear Creek Village Historic District is the way in which it illustrates the free intermingling of recreation and industry — an aspect of nineteenth-century life that has not continued to the present day. The pursuit of rest and outdoor recreation was a focal point of cottage at Bear Creek, occurring alongside Lewis's ice cutting and lumbering operations. The remaining cottages along Bear Creek Boulevard document the coexistence of an elite summer colony and a company town; architecturally, they are representative of the rambling residences, influenced by the Stick and Shingle styles, which typified Victorian summer resort architecture in the region.

As Bear Creek Village's industrial role declined, its development as a lakeside retreat accelerated. The residential compounds designed for Albert Lewis and his son, Hugh, by Wilkes-Barre architects Donald Innes and Charles Levy illustrate the architectural manifestation of that shift.

The firm of Innes and Levy dominated residential design in the Wyoming Valley during the 1920's and 1930's, designing dozens of town and country houses for the community's elite. They were particularly gifted at the Tudor Revival, and several of their essays in that style are significant resources within downtown Wilkes-Barre's River Street National Register Historic District. When Albert Lewis's mansion burned in 1922, Lewis engaged the firm to rebuild it. Innes and Levy were pleased enough with the results to feature the Albert Lewis house in their monograph, published in 1933.

It was Innes and Levy's residence for Hugh Lewis, however, which set the tone for residential development at Bear Creek during the next several decades. Seemingly influenced both by Adirondacks camp architecture and rural French examples, the architects developed a vocabulary of uncoursed rubblestone walls, logs, steel casement windows, and roughcut clapboards, which they used in conjunction with massing and motifs taken from the French countryside.

The design for the Hugh Lewis compound is echoed in the 1930's and 1940's residences at 37 and 39 Cove Road, 99 West Lake Road, and 585 and 605 East Lake Road. Some, such as the adjoining homes along Cove Road, are almost certainly by Innes and Levy. Taken together, they define a nascent "Bear Creek style" which came to typify the community's architectural development during the middle of the twentieth century. This stylistic direction sets Bear Creek apart from other Victorian summer colonies turned suburbs in the Wilkes-Barre area, such as Glen Summit or Harvey's Lake.

The district's twentieth-century architectural resources are not limited to essays in the Bear Creek vernacular. The high-style Ernest Rohr residence (ca.1939), for example, is one of the few examples of Art Moderne residential architecture in the region. As Bear Creek Village's new role as a year-round suburban community for Wilkes-Barre — a place apart from the bustle of the valley below — solidified, the district has continued to serve as a testing ground for new architectural design — a role which has continued to the present day.

After the industrial phase of the village's history the natural landscape, access to a private lake, and its proximity to industrial centers made the village an ideal location for a small resort community, which it remained until the post World War II era. During the ensuing decades, Bear Creek Village evolved as a year-round suburban community that has preserved the historic integrity of the earlier eras.

Early History of Bear Creek, Transportation and Lumbering

Until it became a borough in 1991, Bear Creek Village was part of Bear Creek Township, founded in 1856. The history of the region begins in 1779, however, with the march of General John Sullivan and his troops on their way from Easton to Iroquois territory in New York. Ordered by General George Washington to retaliate for the Native American and Tory attack on settlers in Wyoming Valley in July 1778, Sullivan and his men cut a road from Easton through Bear Creek to Wilkes-Barre. The road, later known as Sullivan's trail and the Wilkes-Barre and Easton turnpike, opened the Wyoming Valley and other regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania for development. The Bear Creek region remained undeveloped since it was not suitable for farming.[1]

The American lumber industry began in Maine in 1634 and was centered there for two hundred years. In 1860, Pennsylvania, with over 28 million acres of land area, most of which was densely forested, became the industry leader. Between 1870 and 1890, Pennsylvania was still among the nation's top three lumber producers, and was fourth in 1910.

The vast hemlock forests in Pennsylvania generally were not cut in the 1860s and 1870s. With the value of hemlock recognized in later decades, logging production for hemlock, remaining pine and other timber increased greatly in the state. Indeed, capital investment in the state's lumber industry grew from nearly $11 million in 1860 to $24 million in 1870 to $45 million by 1890 when nearly 2,000 lumber mills still peppered the state's forest lands. The number of mills had declined from 3,700 in 1870, because of larger mill operations and consolidation of land ownership by timberland speculators.

In Northeastern Pennsylvania, Sullivan and Wyoming counties were covered by vast timber tracts supporting only small lumbering operations until the late 1880s and early 1890s when major lumbering firms to harvest the forest created the towns of Jamison City, Lopez, Stull, and Ricketts lands. In the more populous Luzerne County, drained by the Susquehanna River, anthracite mining became the principal industry. However, lumbering was significant at Harvey's Lake on the Hollenback Estate lands during the 1840s through 1870s. During the 1870s through the 1880s John P. Crellin and Albert Lewis developed the lumber industry in the White Haven and Bear Creek region, which was drained by the Lehigh River and its tributary streams.[2]

In the first years of the 19th century, the vast forests of pine and hemlock timberlands in Bear Creek were the focus of considerable industrial development as the market for timber increased in large cities along the Atlantic coast. Oliver Helme built the first sawmill on Bear Creek in 1800. By 1815, John Stoddart laid out Stoddartsville, along the Lehigh River as a center for both grain and lumber milling activities. In 1818 Josiah White with the financial backing and support of Stoddart began construction of the Lehigh Navigation System as a challenge to the Susquehanna and Schuylkill River routes to East Coast markets. The two Philadelphia capitalists intended to monopolize the transportation of grain, timber and coal down the Lehigh to the Delaware River at Easton thence to Philadelphia. By the 1830's lumbering was taking place on a massive scale throughout the region. The industry was further developed by the completion of the Upper Grand Section of the Lehigh Navigation between Mauch Chunk and White Haven in 1838. White Haven rapidly became one of the lumber centers of the United States since the downstream navigation system of the Upper Lehigh River between Stoddartsville and White Haven enabled lumber merchants to transport timber that had been cut in the Poconos to markets in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. At its peak, there were more than six major sawmills operating on the Lehigh Navigation at White Haven.[3]

During the 1840's Isaac Lewis (Albert Lewis's uncle) and his brother Abijah Lewis (Albert Lewis's father) obtained and lumbered land in the region, including a section of Bear Creek Township. While the business was plagued by financial difficulties causing the sale of land shares to partners, the Lewis brothers managed to purchase a sawmill in White Haven in 1852. Isaac Lewis engaged in stripping bark from hemlock tress through the mid-1850s selling the product to the Gouldsboro tannery of Zadock Pratt and Jay Gould (later to become one of the nation's infamous "robber barons"). After the Civil War, Albert Lewis entered the lumber business. Operating from his home in Bear Creek, Lewis purchased large tracts of land through the 1860's and 1870's, in association with Edwin Shortz, Jr. and Calvin E. Brodhead, in Kidder and Lehigh Townships in Carbon County. Between 1870 and 1880, Lewis was a contract lumberman in Bear Creek and Stoddartsville, and in 1876 he purchased 13,000 acres along Bowman's Creek between Noxen and Ricketts Glen in the opposite corner of Luzerne County. On February 4, 1880, Lewis and his partner Brodhead purchased over 12,000 acres in Bear Creek Township, which included most of the timberland north of the Wilkes-Barre-Easton Turnpike (Route 115). In 1883 he added all the lands south of the turnpike to Carbon County. An agreement with the Lehigh Valley Railroad allowed Lewis to construct a branch line from above White Haven to Bear Creek Village. To serve his lumber industry, Lewis modified existing dams or built new dams on Bear Creek, extended the railroad to Beaupland, north of the village, and built sawmills at Beaupland, California, and Meadow Run. By the close of 1883 Lewis was the second largest lumber producer on the Lehigh River. By the late 1880's the huge Lehigh River lumber industry was in decline and by 1893 the lumber business closed. Albert Lewis remained a major lumberman until 1912 focusing on his lands along Bowman's Creek and his mills at Harvey's Lake, Noxen, and Stull.[4]

Ice Harvesting Industry

Before the 1830s, salting, spicing, pickling, or smoking generally preserved food. Butchers slaughtered meat only for the day's trade, as preservation for longer periods was not practical. Dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables subject to spoilage were sold in local markets since storage and shipping farm produce over any significant distance or time was not practical. Indeed, milk was often hauled to city markets at night when temperatures were cooler. Ale and beer making required cool temperatures and its manufacture was limited to the cooler months.

The early ice industry was localized. Farmers cut small harvests from local ponds, and only better homes, taverns, and hotels purchased ice from local dealers. Ice was a luxury not commonly available to the public except for cooling drinks.

Urbanization, improved icebox technology, and consumer demand, including the popularity of mineral waters, fruit juices, and ice cream, stimulated the creation of an American ice industry. Farmers increased their use of ice for meat and dairy use. Food cooled with ice could be shipped by railroad to more distant places. During the last half of the nineteenth century, ice became a necessity for home and business, and by the 1870s there were substantial ice dealers in medium-sized communities like Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

The American public consumed an estimated 5 million tons of ice in 1880. Pennsylvania was the nation's third largest producer of ice, following Maine and New York. Pennsylvania consumed about 1 million tons annually, cut on the state's lakes and rivers or bought from Maine and New York ice firms. The industry, by this time, also supported major conglomerate ice firms; the best known was the Knickerbocker Ice Company of New York, which also reached into Pennsylvania. With the growth of the ice industry during the 1880s substantial companies were formed in the Pocono region. Companies harvested ice from Saylor's Lake, Trout Lake, Mountain Spring Lake, Lake Naomi, Stillwater Lake, Pocono Lake, and the Lakes at Tobyhanna. The largest company operating in Monroe County was the North Jersey and Pocono Mountain Ice Company.[5]

Albert Lewis and Arthur L. Stull were the founders of two major ice production companies in Luzerne County. In the mid-1890s, Lewis and Stull jointly founded the Mountain Springs Ice Company in Ross Township, located now in state game lands adjacent to Ricketts Glen State Park. Lewis left the Mountain Springs company in 1912. Stull, along with his brother Albert A. Stull, and a son Robert A. Stull, then managed the Mountain Springs Ice Company. Lewis founded an even larger ice company, the Bear Creek Ice Company, in March 1895.[6]

Beginning in January, 1881, Lewis and Brodhead began to harvest ice at Bear Creek. There were a series of ice plants over time at Bear Creek Dam No. 1. In 1895 Lewis formed the Bear Creek Ice Company. At Bear Creek Dam No. 1, he built two large ice plants (Plants 1 and 2), and he also built Plants 3 and 4 at two dams at Beaupland (later called Beauplant) further up on Bear Creek. In the 1910 period he also had a facility to load ice on the railroad at Meadow Run pond No. 1 (Plant 5), and a sixth plant at Meadow Run pond No. 2. From 1911 to 1915 he also cut ice at Penn Lake. (He was also the founder of the ice operations at Mountain Springs near Ricketts Glen in the 1890s selling the Mountain Springs plants to his nephew Arthur L. Stull in the early 1910s.)

Ice from the ponds in the winter were initially cut and shipped out on the railroad to fill winter orders. Then ice was cut and stored in the icehouses for shipment out on the railroad from about March to December.

Bear Creek was a company town fully controlled by the ice company. The ice business required large numbers of temporary laborers during the winter harvest. Otherwise, the industry required fewer men during the balance of the year to unload the ice from the plants onto the railroad cars. The 1880s to the 1910s coincided with substantial immigration to the United States of people from the Ukraine and southern and eastern Europe. Employment agencies in New York provided new immigrants with employment in the ice fields and coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania. The Bear Creek Ice Company paid a fee to labor agencies in New York to send immigrants to Lewis's White Haven and Bear Creek industries at a day rate of $4.50, the men having their train fare of $6.00 deducted from their pay. The men also paid a $1.05 daily fee to board in houses at Bear Creek.[7]

Ice ten inches thick could be cut, but thirteen to fourteen inches was preferred, and in later years twelve inches was generally the desired thickness to meet a growing uniform standard in domestic ice boxes. An ice auger was used to drill test holes. Ice thickness was measured with a gauge dropped through a hole drilled through the ice.

Snow and slush on the ice pond had to be cleared. A team of horses pulled a large scoop that scraped and cleared a pond's surface. The snow and slush would be pulled over to the shore where it was piled.

Next, a channel of water had to be cleared between the water box at an ice plant. Once a channel of open water to a plant was cleared, actual work on the ice field could begin. An initial, long straight line had to be cut on the frozen surface using a plank board as a sighting line, although in later years a standard carpenter's blue chalkline was adopted. The initial line was cut with a small saw about twelve to eighteen inches long with a long-handle.A man pushed it along to scratch along the initial line a hundred feet or more along the ice. Then a horse-drawn marking saw was set into the line. This saw had a series of teeth that cut into the ice about three inches deep along the line. It had an arm which was extended ninety degrees from it and scratched a parallel 32-inch line along the ice's surface. The marking plow was then moved over to the parallel line, cut it three inches deep, and drew another 32-inch parallel line. The process continued until there were a series of parallel rows cut three inches deep. The marking plow, or a second one in use, could similarly mark out and cut the field crossways but at 22-inch intervals, until the field had a checkerboard pattern but with a 32 x 22 inch rectangular appearance.

As the marking plow was doing its work, another team of horses pulled an "ice plow" similar to the marking plow. But the ice plow had a series of larger teeth from 4 to 12 inches (front to back) in size. This plow, like the marking plow, had a man to guide the horse by the reins and a second man to work the plow. This plow was fitted into the cuts made by the marking plow. It passed through the earlier cuts a few times deepening the cuts from three inches to eight to twelve inches depending on the thickness of the ice.

But the horse-drawn plows did not completely cut the ice free. The workers and the sections floated in open water to the water-box near an ice plant cut large rectangular sections of the ice containing perhaps fifty pre-scored cakes free with handsaws. Here the floats of ice were chopped apart into strips of ice and finally into individual cakes of ice which were a uniform 32 x 22 inches. Cakes were 8 to 18 inches thick, sometimes thicker depending on the severity of the winter. In the World War I era, the horse-drawn ice plow was replaced by the gasoline-powered rotary ice plow. The initial line on the ice was sighted by a chalk line and scored by a worker who pushed a long-handled small marking saw along it. The rotary saw also had an extended arm that could be set at 32 inches. The end of the arm fit into the initial scored line. As the rotary saw was pushed or pulled along, the extended bar in the earlier line guided the rotary saw which cut a parallel line along the ice 32 inches away from the bar. After a line was cut several hundred feet, the rotary saw was moved over, the bar fitted into the prior cut, and the rotary saw moved along to cut another 32-inch line. The rotary saw could be adjusted as to the depth it sawed, and it usually needed only one pass over the ice to cut to the desired depth, for example, eight inches for twelve-inch ice. Once a field of parallel lines 32 inches apart was cut, the arm was adjusted to 22 inches and the field crosscut with a series of lines 22 inches apart. Or, a second circular plow was used for the cross-cuts to speed cutting the field as with the horse-drawn plows, the ice field was cut in a 32 x 22 inch pattern to within the last few inches of the depth of the ice.

The men could saw off a "float" of pre-scored cakes, ten cakes wide and up to twenty cakes long. The float was split in half creating a float five cakes wide by no more than twenty cakes long (100 cakes). The floats and half-floats were cut from the ice field with a gasoline powered jigsaw device. The floats were poled by the men towards the water box. Here, from the floats men would use an ice bar to chop off separate strips containing five cakes, then individual cakes were spiked off from each strip with a needle bar, and the cakes were swept up by the conveyor chain on to the ice plant conveyer for loading into railroad cars or the ice houses.

Although individual ice cakes were a uniform 32 by 22 inches (larger than the years of the 1890s) their thickness varied according to ice conditions on the lake. In early years typical thickness was fourteen to sixteen inches. Ten to twelve-inch ice occurred in a warm winter but was considered poor ice: seventeen to eighteen inch ice could occur in severe winters, but it was very heavy and undesirable. In later years twelve-inch ice was the standard and the cakes were planed down to this thickness. Once the ice cakes were separated, they were carried up into a conveyor and the cakes passed under an overhead planing mill which was a series of graduated knives which planed or scraped off the top of each cake to a uniform thickness. The cakes then passed under a heavy bristled brush which slightly scored or corrugated the top of the ice cakes that helped prevent their sticking together while in storage. There was a considerable amount of slush ice on the cakes from the planing and brushing process. Slush fell into a water-driven channel to the ground below. Men continually worked to clear away the tons of waste into a field below (the "snipe pile"). Old belt-driven sawmill engines that burned coal in boilers powered the conveyor. A flywheel and pulley arrangement connected the engines to the conveyor system. In the head house, forty feet above the boiler and engine room, the gallery operator engaged the conveyor with a simple clutch lever. One man worked the conveyor for each room in the icehouse. Each man was responsible to push the ice cakes from the conveyor down a wooden chute into his assigned room in the icehouse or to railcar on opposite side of the railroad track. At the end of the conveyor, any broken or unusable cakes passed up by men were pushed off to fall to the ground. The ice cakes from the gallery ran down wooden chutes to the open icehouse doors. Each chute pitched downward from the gallery to the ice house room. To slow the cakes' descent down the chutes, a board could be placed into the chute. Nails were driven partly through the extra board and the nail heads were bent over. The series of bent nail heads, call scratchers, caught the bottom of ice cakes, and slowed their speed down the chute.

In the beginning of the season, the conveyor or gallery, which was manually raised and lowered by winches, was at its lowest level near the bottom of the icehouse. Usually, each of the ice plant rooms was filled daily to uniform levels during the ice harvest. The conveyor was winched upward as the rooms in a plant were filled with ice during the season.

At the end of the chute inside each room were two men called switchers who alternated in catching the ice cakes with switching hooks as the cakes fell down the chute and entered the room. Each switcher worked to fill his half-side of the room. He grabbed a corner of an ice cake with his hook and shot the cake behind him by swinging it around to his side of the room to another worker. Each switcher worked with two other men called placers and one man called a spacer who lined up the cakes inside the room until a full level of ice or layer was completed. The rooms were filled from the rear to the front. The ice cakes were lined up in parallel rows from back to front with four inches of space between them to prevent their freezing into a solid mass. A total of eight men worked inside each room.

This process during the winter harvest continued until all the rooms were filled. The filled icehouse was topped with six inches of hay to insulate the ice. From March to late in the year a reduced work force was employed to unload the icehouses and fill railroad cars for shipment to the company's eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York customers.[8]

After World War I the company's ice plants experienced problems. In 1919 at Plant No. 1 three of the six rooms were leaning, a common problem in the ice industry, and were torn down. Two of the remaining three rooms were in poor condition. At Plant No. 3 two of its six rooms were blown down in a 1919 windstorm. In 1920 Plant No.1 was rebuilt to its six-room capacity, but No. 3 Plant at Beaupland with its remaining four rooms and conveyor were beyond repair and the plant was closed. During this period, particularly with the War's labor difficulties, tax issues, and Lewis's own declining health, Lewis nearly despaired and considered selling the ice company. Nathaniel Drake and Arthur L. Stull agreed they would purchase the Bear Creek business if Lewis was adamant, but they prevailed on Lewis to retain it. In the early 1920s the ice company served forty customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the Drake Company of Jersey City the largest purchaser followed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad with its ice depots at Mahoning and Jersey City. Other large purchasers were the Clinton Ice Company in Irvington, New Jersey; the Bound Brook Ice Company in Bound Brook, New Jersey, and E. J. Dorsey and Sons, another wholesaler from Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Local customers were Armour and Company in Hazleton; Home Brewing in Sheppton; Sunnyrest sanatorium in White Haven; Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton Ice Company in Wilkes-Barre; and Youngling & Sons, the brewer in Pottsville.

After Albert Lewis's death in 1923, his estate operated the Bear Creek Ice Company on behalf of Lewis's three heirs.

However, by the early decades of the twentieth century, the natural ice industry lost substantial market share to ice manufacturing plants. In addition, the electric refrigerator was introduced in 1913-14 and would grow in popularity over the next two decades. Mechanical refrigeration techniques developed for cooling railroad cars to haul meat and perishables lessened demand for ice by railroad companies and contributed to the decline of the natural ice industry.[9]

The Bear Creek Ice Company only shipped 14,540 tons of ice in the winter of 1924-25, which was nearly 50 per cent less of pre-WWI harvests. Plant No. 4 at Beauplant was not in use and would later be torn down. A fire in March, 1925 cut Plant No. 1's capacity by 50 per cent.

Later in March, 1928 Plant No. 4 at Beauplant was removed. With Plant No. 3 lost to storm damages in 1919-1920, ice harvesting at Beauplant now closed. By the late 1920s the Bear Creek Ice Company was in decline.[10] In 1928 the Bear Creek Ice Company only shipped 858 cars during the entire year, and the Lehigh Valley took 321 of them. The 1927-28 season also saw the near end of ice harvesting at Meadow Run for all practical purposes. The company had old ice from a year earlier still in storage at No. 6 Plant and only planned to cut water ice in the 1927-28 winter, but a January, 1928 storm nearly destroyed the Meadow Run operations. During the following 1928-29 season the company used the remaining No. 6 Plant rooms to load rail cars and to store ice from Meadow Run. This may have been the last year ice was cut at the Meadow Run plants, although ice stored in the surviving rooms at No. 6 Plant was sold as late as September, 1930.

A warm 1930-31 season was the last ice harvesting conducted by the Albert Lewis Estate. The company cut ice, probably only from Bear Creek pond, in early January, for shipment on rail cars, and from January 15 to January 30, 1931, the company only stored ice at its No. 2 Plant at Bear Creek. This was a limited season, and during the following spring men tore up the railroad track between Bear Creek and Meadow Run. Thereafter, the Lewis Estate would lease ice rights to Bear Creek Lake.

In late December, 1930 the real estate holdings of the Lewis Estate east of the river were formally distributed among Lewis's three heirs: his widow, Lily C. Lewis; son, Hugh R. Lewis; and daughter, Lily Lewis Seneff. Two-thirds of the holdings were in Bear Creek Township. The Lewis heirs would also share in the proceeds from future leasing of the Bear Creek Ice Company.

On November 10, 1931, the Lewis estate sold the ice plants and related business to Burt B. Bryant, who was also in the ice business at several ponds in the area. The Meadow Run plants were not in operation at this time. Bryant incorporated another Bear Creek Ice Company in December, 1931 with D. S. Lauderbaugh and John T. Williams. But the venture with Bryant faltered and the following December, 1932 the business was resold to the Lewis Estate. For several years the business was leased to Lauderbaugh.

The last passenger service on the Bear Creek Branch Railroad ran in early 1930. In the later years a passenger car was merely hooked on to a freight train for the run to Bear Creek. The Lehigh Valley Railroad station at Bear Creek officially closed on June 1, 1932. It was relocated by the railroad on September 15, 1935, and was converted to a private residence.

The 1937-38 harvest at Bear Creek was the last to use the railroad to ship ice. The following spring the Lehigh Valley Railroad began to remove the tracks of the Bear Creek Branch. The ice rights at Bear Creek were then leased to R. A. Davis, an ice and coal dealer in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, who had purchased Ricketts' Ganoga Ice Company in 1924 and would buy Mountain Springs in 1945. It is uncertain when the No. 2 plant at Bear Creek ceased operation. It may have closed with the railroad. If Davis continued to operate No. 2, it may have been only a couple reasons, but the plant was clearly closed and dismantled by 1941-42. Davis also bought the Lackawanna Mountain Ice Company in Gouldsboro. In 1945 he was President of the regional Ice Producers Association. In the mid-1940s, R. A. Davis was the largest natural lee producer in the Eastern United States. Total capacity of the Davis plants at Lake Ganoga, Mountain Springs, Bear Creek, and at the Gouldsboro plants was 130,000 tons. He distributed ice to New England, as far south as the Carolinas, and westward to Cleveland.

R. A. Davis continued to cut ice through the World War II era. During the 1944-45 ice season German prisoners-of-war were billeted at Gouldsboro and assigned to ice work at Gouldsboro and Bear Creek. Trucks were now used to plow snow off the ice pond. By the 1940s the only plant in operation was the No. I Plant at Bear Creek with only three rooms on the pond side of the old rail bed in use. Without a railroad the R. A. Davis Company used trucks to haul ice to its Wilkes-Barre and Scranton customers.

In the winter of 1947-48 only 9,000 tons of ice were cut at Bear Creek as artificial refrigeration swept away the natural ice industry. This season was quite cold and the ice was twenty-two inches thick. Shaved to a more useful twelve to fourteen inches, each block weighed 250 pounds. Ice sold at three dollars a ton principally to hotels, meat markets and dairies. There was a warm winter in 1948-49 and R.A. Davis could not cut ice until February 8, 1949, and only at Mountain Springs, Ganoga Lake at North Mountain, and at Gouldsboro. The ice was only nine to ten and one-half inches thick. If ice was cut at Bear Creek, it was only a nominal harvest and the last cut at Bear Creek. There was a warm winter, mostly cold rain, in 1949-50. On January 4, 1950, the warm sixty-six degree weather broke a record set in 1907. Then on February 14, 1950, eight to sixteen inch snows and heavy sleet fell in the area. Ten inches of snow covered the roof of the No. 1 ice plant at Bear Creek and the roof and front of the building collapsed as strong winds whipped through the area during the night storm. No ice had been cut during the season due to the weather. The ice business closed at Bear Creek with this loss. The following year, on January 21, 1951, the Sunday Independent announced the "natural ice business is dead for all practical purposes. It has bowed to the refrigeration age."

Hugh (Dick) R. Lewis died on May 17, 1948. An avid sportsman, Dick Lewis was engaged in his real estate holdings at Bear Creek during his last years. In June, 1950, Lily Lewis Seneff, acting for the Lewis Estate and her mother, Lily C. Lewis, sought to sell 2,500 acres of the Bear Creek lands for further development. The task of maintaining the unique village had grown too cumbersome for the aging family and their resources. A national marketing agency did not produce an outside developer. Albert Lewis's widow, Lily C. Lewis, died on September 24, 1950, at age 82. In 1952 the Bear Creek Realty Company, headed by Robert A. Eyerman, announced the purchase of nearly 3,000 acres of Bear Creek land. Over the next several decades, this company would oversee the sale and development of a considerable portion of the acre for residential purposes.[11]

The Evolution of Bear Creek Village

Bear Creek Village evolved in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a company town designed to support the industrial activities occurring there and the lifestyle of a successful business leader, Albert Lewis. During the industrial era, Lewis permitted several members of the regional elite to establish summer residences, a process of development that increased after the industrial era of the village ended.[12]

Since the industrial enterprises of Albert Lewis were located in a rather remote area, it was necessary to provide living accommodations for workers and the various services required of Albert Lewis and his family. This was a pattern consistent with early industrial development throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, the remainder of the state, and the nation.[13] Lewis constructed single houses and boarding houses for the immigrant workers he hired, many reminiscent of the style typically constructed for anthracite coal workers. The village had a general store, and, in 1911, Lewis built a Catholic Church for the workers. St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, formally dedicated on September 7, 1911 by Rt. Rev. Bishop Hoban of the Scranton diocese, was a mission of St. Leo's parish in Ashley. The village had its own electric power plant for the industrial operations and the village community. Electric power was free to village residents. In 1903, Lewis incorporated the Bear Creek Water Company to supply water to the community. A one-room schoolhouse was built, located along White Haven Road, for the education of the village's children. After the death of his wife, Lewis had Phillip R. Raife construct Grace Chapel, a high style Queen Anne structure, in her memory. The chapel stands adjacent to the Lewis family cemetery.

Albert Lewis's original house, the White House, at Bear Creek was enlarged in 1891 in preparation for his second marriage. It stood on the west side of the lake and was destroyed by fire in the 1950's. At this time, Lewis also constructed a boat (to hold a thirty-three foot steamboat transported to Bear Creek by rail) and carriage house and a bowling alley for the recreation of his guests and summer residents. A large picnic ground and pavilion were also constructed. By 1895, Lewis's growing family required more space; so, he had Wilkes-Barre contractors Monks and Shepard construct a large new home, known as the Mokawa Inn. This mansion was sided with hemlock bark shingles used on many of the Lewis estate structures.[14] It was at Mokawa Inn that Lewis entertained Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 and 1914. William H. Taft enjoyed the Lewis hospitality in June, 1919. On November 7, 1922, a fire destroyed the central portion and south wing of the Mokawa Inn. Lewis retained Wilkes-Barre architects, Donald F. Innes and Charles L. Levy to reconstruct the home as a Tudor Revival mansion. Lewis lived in the home for six months before his death in 1923.

Near Albert Lewis's home, perched on a high knoll, stood the stately home of Daniel Stull, a Lewis business associate, who operated the village's general store. This home was passed on to Arthur L. Stull, who became a partner in the ice business with Lewis. Stull sold the house to the prominent Reynolds family of Wilkes-Barre in 1892. Several other large seasonal residences, constructed by Lewis's friends from Wilkes-Barre's elite, stood nearby along Bear Creek Boulevard on land leased from Lewis.

Bear Creek as a Seasonal Resort

The development of Bear Creek as a resort community is part of a larger trend begun in the nineteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century, the idea of an escape to the countryside became popular among the country's growing middle class and elite. Numerous people now had the income, leisure time, and access to railroads to enjoy the scenic beauty, fresh air, and lakes and streams of the "rugged," often mountainous countryside. Resorts began to spring up along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida.[15] Mountainous regions like the Catskills and Adirondacks in New York, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, and the Poconos in Pennsylvania began to attract tourists who stayed for short periods or lived for several months in either rustic cabins or large summer homes.

The Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania first attracted city men who could "rough-it" while fishing or hunting. In the decades after 1880, the tourist industry in the Poconos literally exploded. By 1909 over 200 hotels in Monroe County alone advertised in the brochures of the Lackawanna Railroad. Between 1900 and 1927, four major resort-recreational complexes had been established. These included Buck Hill Falls (1900), Pocono Manor (19021, Pocono Lake Preserve (1904, and Skytop Lodge (1927). Even small, former industrial centers like Stoddartsville served the summer trade.[16] All around Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County's industrial center, exclusive recreational-resort communities; such as, Glen Summit, Harvey's Lake, and Bear Lake emerged during this period. At Glen Summit, the Lehigh Valley Railroad developed the Glen Summit Hotel that became one of the most popular resorts in the Northeast. Albert Lewis held most of the stock in the hotel and was elected President of the Board of Directors of the Glen Summit Hotel and Land Company in 1882.

Bear Creek continued to evolve as a seasonal resort village in the early decades of the twentieth century, as Albert Lewis's ice industry declined. After the death of his father, Hugh (Dick) Lewis engaged in the real estate business selling acreage of the Lewis estate for seasonal development. His house constructed by the architects Innes and Levy, while a permanent residence, set the tone for many of the important seasonal residences of the era. Dick Lewis further encouraged the atmosphere of a resort village with his reputation as an avid sportsman and the construction of a rustic, lakeside fishing lodge.

The Modern Era at Bear Creek

The last era of Bear Creek's history began in 1950 when Lily Lewis Seneff sought to sell 2,500 acres for residential development. In 1952, the Bear Creek Realty Company, headed by architect Robert E. Eyerman, purchased some 3,000 acres of Bear Creek land. Eyerman successfully sold much of the land and designed several of the seasonal and permanent homes constructed in the 1950's and 1960's predominately to the east of the historic district. Today, while a few seasonal residences remain at Bear Creek, it has evolved into an exclusive suburban community.


[1]H. C. Bradsby, History of Luzerne County, Chicago: S. B. Nelson and Company, 1893, p. 534.

[2]A brief consideration of lumbering in Pennsylvania, which excludes activities on the Lehigh River and in Luzerne County, is found in Bruce Bomberger and William Sisson, Made in Pennsylvania: An overview of the Major Historical Industries of the Commonwealth, PHMC, 1999, pp. 30-32. A complete history of the lumbering era in Pennsylvania is available from Benjamin F. G. Kline, Jr., Walter Casler, and Thomas T. Taber III, The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania, PA: Self-Published, 1970-1978, 13 Volumes; Petrillo, Ghost Towns..., pp. 1-3.

[3]George Thomas, Stoddartsville Historic District National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1998, section 8, pp. 1-3; Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums, Delaware and Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor Historic Resources Study, Easton: Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums, 1991, Lumbering, p. 1.

[4]Albert Lewis Manuscript papers, Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological society, 1880-1897. F. Charles Petrillo, Albert Lewis: The Bear Creek Lumber and Ice King, Wilkes-Barre, PA: F. Charles Petrillo, 1998, pp. 3-53. This is the most complete history of Albert Lewis's lumbering and ice businesses in the Bear Creek region written to date. For a more compete view of Lewis's lumbering and ice harvesting activities, the Albert Lewis book should be consulted in conjunction with Petrillo's other works, Harvey's Lake and Ghost Towns of North Mountain. See also Sheldon Spear, "King of the Mountain: Albert Lewis of Bear Creek," found in Chapters in Wyoming Valley history, Shavertown, PA: Jemags & Company, 1989, pp. 67-75; F. Charles Petrillo, Harvey's Lake, Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological society, 1991, pp. 53-60; Petrillo, Ghost Towns..., pp. 33-34.

[5]John C. Appel, History of Monroe County, Pennsylvania, 1725-1976, East Stroudsburg, PA: Pocono Hospital Auxiliary, 1976, p. 85.

[6]Petrillo, Ghosts Towns..., pp. 3-4.

[7]F. Charles Petrillo, "The Bear Creek Ice Company," Proceedings of the History of Northeastern Pennsylvania Conference, Nanticoke, PA: Luzerne County Community College, 1996, pp.11-12.

[8]Extensive descriptions of ice harvesting appear in: Petrillo, "The Bear Creek Ice Company," pp. 12-17; Petrillo, Albert Lewis..., pp. 68-101.

[9]For a more complete consideration of the impact of mechanical ice production and mechanical refrigeration on the natural ice industry, See: Oscar E. Anderson, Refrigeration in America: A History of a New Technology and Its Impact, Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1972; Vertie B. Knapp, The Expanding Use of Ice in Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania: A Consumer Interest, East Stroudsburg, PA: East Stroudsburg State College, 1977; Douglas C. McVarish and Liz Sargent, Met Ice Plant National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, no date; George E. Thomas, York Manufacturing Company (York Ice Machine Company), HABS No. PA-6011, Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1994.

[10]In January 1927 the Lewis Estate sold its remaining holdings in the Harvey's Lake and Noxen area to Arthur Stull, disposing all of Lewis's interests west of the Susquehanna River.

[11]For details regarding the activities of the Bear Creek Ice Company, see the Albert Lewis and Bear Creek Ice Company manuscript papers: Lewis and Brodhead Book (1880-82); Albert Lewis Ice Co. Account Book (1/1883-9/1884); Bear Creek Ice Co., Record of Shipments (11/1883-10/1884; 1895-1912) The complete history of the Bear Creek Ice Company and its ultimate decline is detailed in F. Charles Petrillo, Albert Lewis: The Bear Creek Lumber and Ice King.

[12]A Wilkes-Barre journalist, Charles Linskill, wrote a series of descriptions of the Bear Creek area between the 1870's and the 1970's. These descriptive newspaper columns have been collected in The Bear Creek Region. Charles D. Linskill. A compilation of Articles in the Wilkes-Barre Telephone, Record of the Times, and Semi-Weekly Record by C. D. Linskill.

[13]For a more complete consideration of company housing; See Bureau of Labor Statistics, Housing by Employers in the United States, Bulletin no. 263, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1920. Most company housing in Northeastern Pennsylvania was constructed for the anthracite coal industry. See: Robert A. Janosov, "Concrete City: Garden Village of the Anthracite Region," Pennsylvania Heritage, Harrisburg: PHMC, Summer, 1997; Patrick O'Bannon, et al., Anthracite Coal in Pennsylvania: An Industry and a Region, Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1997.

[14]Historic photographs of both houses are included in Petrillo, Albert Lewis ..., figs. 43 & 45.

[15]For details regarding the development of sea shore resorts, See, for example: John T. Cunningham, The Jersey Shore, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1958 and Charles E. Funnell, By the Beautiful Sea: The Rise and High Times of that Great American Resort, Atlantic City, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975.

[16]See Lawrence Squeri, "The Pocono Resort Economy: Economic Growth and Social Conservatism, 1865-1940," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, October, 1991, pp. 478-480; George E. Thomas, Stoddartsville Historic District National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1998, Section 8, pp. 9-10; Jean K. Wolf, Pocono Manor Historic District National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1996. Section 8. D. 19.


Published Sources:
Anderson, Oscar Edward. Refrigeration in America: A History of a New Technology and Its Impact. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1972.

Appel, John C. History of Monroe County, Pennsylvania, 1725-1976. East Stroudsburg, PA: Pocono Hospital Auxiliary, 1976.

Beers, D. G. Atlas of Luzerne County, PA. Philadelphia: Pomeroy and Company, 1873.

Bomberger, Bruce and William Sisson. Made in Pennsylvania: An Overview of the Major Historical Industries of the Commonwealth. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, 1991.

Bradsby, H.C. History of Luzerne County. Chicago: S.B. Nelson and Company, 1893.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Housing by Employers in the United States, Bulletin no. 263. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1920.

Campion, Joan. Smokestacks and Black Diamonds: A History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania. Easton, PA: Canal History and Technology Press, 1997.

Cunningham, John T. The New Jersey Shore. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1958.

"Death Claims Lumber King," The Times Leader. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 12-18-1923.

Funnell, Charles E. By the Beautiful Sea: The Rise and High Times of That Great American Resort, Atlantic City. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975.

Innes, Donald F. and Charles L. Levy. The Residential Work of Innes and Levy Architects. Wilkes-Barre, PA, 1933.

Janosov, Robert A. "Concrete City: Garden Village of the Anthracite Region," Pennsylvania Heritage, Harrisburg: PHMC, Summer, 1997.

Kline, Benjamin F.G., Walter Casler, and Thomas T. Taber III. The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania. 13 Volumes. Pennsylvania: Self-Published, 1970-1978.

Munsell, W. W. History of Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming Counties. New York: WW Munsell and Company, 1880.

O'Bannon, Patrick, et. al. Anthracite Coal in Pennsylvania: An Industry and a Region. Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1997.

Petrillo, F. Charles. Ghosts Towns of North Mountain: Ricketts, Mountain Springs, and Stull. Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological Society, 1991.

Petrillo, F. Charles. "The Bear Creek Ice Company," Proceedings of the History of Northeastern Pennsylvania Conference. Nanticoke, PA: Luzerne County Community College, 1996.

Petrillo, F. Charles. Harvey's Lake. Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological Society, 1991.

Petrillo, F. Charles. Albert Lewis: The Bear Creek Lumber and Ice King. Wilkes-Barre, PA: F. Charles Petrillo, 1998.

Sgromo, Vito J. and Michael Lewis. Wilkes-Barre Architecture, 1860-1960.Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological Society, 1983.

Spear, Sheldon. "King of the Mountain: Albert Lewis of Bear Creek," found in Chapters in Wyoming Valley History. Shavertown, PA: Jemags & Company, 1989.

Spear, Sheldon. "Glen Summit: Elite Retreat on the Mountain Top," found in Wyoming Valley History Revisited. Shavertown, PA: Jemags & Company, 1994.

Squeri, Lawrence. "The Pocono Resort Economy: Economic Growth and Social Conservatism, 1865-1940," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Volume CXV. No. 4. October, 1991.

Tyson, Carroll B. The Poconos. Philadelphia: Innes & Sons, 1929.

Unpublished Sources:
Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums. Delaware and Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor Historic Resources Study. Easton: Hugh Moore Historical Park and Museums, 1991.

Knapp, Vertie Blake. The Expanding Use of Ice in Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania: A Consumer Interest. Unpublished Master of Arts Thesis. East Stroudsburg, PA: East Stroudsburg State College, 1977. (WHGS)*

Lewis, Albert and The Bear Creek Ice Company manuscript papers. 28 Boxes. Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological Society, 1880-1937. (WHGS)

McVarish, Douglas C. and Liz Sargent, preparers. Metz Ice Plant National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, no date.

Petrillo, F. Charles, compiler. The Bear Creek Region. Charles D. Linskill. A Compilation of Articles in the Wilkes-Barre Telephone, Record of the Times, and Semi-weekly Record by C. D. Linskill. Loose-leaf bound photocopies, 1995. (WHGS)

Phillips, Edward. History of Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County. 10 Loose-leaf volumes. Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical & Geological Society. (WHGS)

Preliminary Plans for Dam at Bear Creek for Albert Lewis, Esq., December 16, 1913. (WHGS)

St. Augustine Historical Society. Albert Lewis Files. St. Augustine, Florida. (Photocopies of various newspaper articles available at WHGS.)

Thomas, George E., preparer. York Manufacturing Company (York Ice Machine Company). Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS No. PA-6011. Harrisburg, Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1994.

Thomas, George E., preparer. Stoddartsville Historic District National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Harrisburg: Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1998.

Warrantee Maps of the Townships in Luzerne County. Maps prepared by the Land Office of Pennsylvania, Department of the Interior. Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association, 1949. (WHGS)

Wasilewski, Ray. Bear Creek and From Fort Wyoming to the Lehigh. Unpublished manuscript, 1974. (WHGS)

Wolf, Jean K., preparer. Pocono Manor Historic District National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Harrisburg, Bureau for Historic Preservation, 1996.

*WHGS. Wyoming Historical & Geological Society Research Library. 49 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

  1. Janosov, Robert A., and Newman, Lawrence, Borough of Bear Creek Village, Bear Creek Village Historic District, nomination document, 1999, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Street Names
Bear Creek Boulevard • Beaupland Road • Coach Road • Hedge Road • Lake Road • Lake Road East • Lake Road West • Laurie Lane • Lewis Drive • Route 115