Welcome to the Stillwater Lakes Civic Association

THE HISTORY OF STILLWATER LAKES CIVIC ASSOCIATION INC.

 

In the very early days, there was swamp all around us. The swamp – KLAMPEECHEN CHUPPECAT – got its name from the Minsi tribe of the Leni-Lenape Indians and means “Deep, Dark Swamp”.

Settlers established homes, villages etc., on the Pocono Plateau, around the early 1800s.  The plentiful resource of timber brought money and lumbermen to the mountain. Waterways were created and lakes created or enlarged, to allow the movement of logs to various points down river where they could be sent on to the Philadelphia metropolitan area.  But, over time, the “Deep, Dark Swamp” was fully cleared of all timber, and businessmen and major landowners began to look for alternative revenue sources.

There was no refrigeration at that time; people used “ice boxes”.   These boxes had a place in the bottom for a big block of ice so that the food stayed cold.  Winter in the Poconos was long and cold. The weather provided the revenue solution, and the beginning of the ice harvest industry.  The Pocono Plateau was in the refrigeration business.

It is now around 1895 and the Wilkes-Barre & Eastern Railroad came through this area, laying a side track to provide access for rail transport.  This gave the ice company access to the large New York and Philadelphia markets.  The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, with a freight station in Pocono Summit, also had a side rail providing access to ship ice via rail.   In the winter months, ice was cut and transported from lake to market.   The winter months also allowed for cut ice to be stored in large ice houses.  Ice houses allowed shipping of the product during warmer summer months.

In the early 1900s the Tunkhannock Ice Company merged with the Mountain Ice Company; the owner was Samuel Rubel.  Ice was the blue chip of the day!  Other smaller ice companies were purchased by Mr. Rubel and the company renamed “Pocono Mountain Ice Company”.  Major markets were Philadelphia and New York.

It is now 1927, and use of electric refrigerators started to increase. By the 1930s there was little, if any, market demand for ice.  Ice was still used locally because many homes on the mountain did not have electricity or refrigerators.   It was said that, to accommodate this demand, German prisoners held at Camp Tobyhanna were among the harvest workers and were boarded in houses near lakes. But ice was becoming a thing of the past and large sections of Stillwater Lake were offered for sale!

Read more on the history of the Stillwater Lakes here…

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