Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bushkill Falls: "A Delightful One-Day Auto Trip"

This undated advertising poster for Bushkill Falls in northeastern Pennsylvania measures 12 inches wide by 16 inches tall. The above image represents a composite of separate scans of the top and bottom halves of the poster.

Bushkill Falls, located in the Pocono Mountains, was opened to the public in 1904 by Charles E. Peters. It is still owned by the Peters estate, but is leased an operated by Aramark. It consists of eight waterfalls, five of which are named -- Bushkill Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Bridesmaid Falls, Laurel Glen Falls and Pennell Falls.

The back of the poster features a huge, detailed map -- courtesy of Rand McNally & Company -- of eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southern New York and northern Maryland -- designed to show how many cities and towns were within a day's drive of Bushkill Falls. You can see that the unincorporated (and historic) community of Egypt, Pennsylvania,1 is located near Bushkill Falls.

The names and locations of the roads and highways on this map can also help us date this piece of ephemera, which I believe was originally distributed in the early 1920s. One prominently featured road is State Highway 5, an east-west route also known as the Lakes-to-Sea Highway, portions of which were the predecessor of U.S. Route 322. I'm sure the rest of the map, similarly, is a treasure trove for road and highway historians.

Also of interest is the eastern half of York County:

That's former U.S. Route 111, which was eventually replaced by Interstate 83, running north-south through York County. Some interesting locations noted within York County include Turnpike, Hametown, Holtz, Keys, Sunnyburn and Castle Fin.2

1. Here is some fun information about Egypt, Pa., courtesy of Wikipedia:
  • "Egypt is one of the oldest communities in eastern Pennsylvania, having been settled as early as 1733."
  • "Early Pennsylvania German settlers of nearby present-day Lynn and Albany townships had named the area where they settled Alle mängel ('all wants') due to the poor quality of the soil on which they were trying to farm and raise crops. By contrast, the soil here was found to be quite fertile, and early settlers named this region 'Egypta,' since ancient Egypt, with its fertile Nile delta, was the 'granary of the world.'"
  • "Development of the community was spurred by the organization of the American Improved Cements Company (later American Cement Company), which took over and modernized the older Egypt Mills cement plant. ... The New York City Subway was built using cement manufactured in Egypt's mills."
  • Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Curt Simmons hails from Egypt.
2. According to Jim McClure's York Town Square blog, Castle Fin name is a tribute to Robert Coleman, an iron manufacturer who once owned the iron forge in southeastern York county and was born in Castlefin, Ireland. Here's a peek at the Coleman family's Castle Finn Mansion, which dates to 1819.


  1. Great post! I, too, love to check out routes on old maps to see what changes and hidden gems they have :)

    Castle Finn Mansion is gorgeous. I can't imagine how cool it would be to own it!

  2. I have that same poster. I think it is 1934.