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Thread: Bloomsburg and Fairgrounds, Columbia County Pennsylvania

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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    Bloomsburg and Fairgrounds, Columbia County Pennsylvania

    Bloomsburg is nestled between gently rolling hills along the northern banks of the Susquehanna River and bounded on the north and west by Fishing Creek thus allowing Bloomsburg to be a transportation hub and have power to drive industry. The Native Americans used the Susquehanna River for trade and the settlers were served by the river, the Pennsylvania Canal and eight rail lines. Today, interstate route 80 links Bloomsburg to the interstate highway system and the Warriors Path route 11 merges with other ancient paths that are now scenic highways.



    Looking south where Fishing Creek joins the Susquehanna River

    The earliest known inhabitants of Columbia County were Native Americans named Susquehannocks who are part of the Lenape Lenape tribe who William Penn made treaties with to open his woods for settlement. They inhabited this area until the seventeenth century when they were forced out by a rival tribe from the north, the Iroquois, and later by the presence of European colonists.



    During the late 1700s, Connecticut and Pennsylvania became involved in territorial disputes over a tract of land stretching the width of Pennsylvania just below the New York state border, a tract of land that included the area known today as Columbia County. Connecticut land companies and the proprietors of Pennsylvania simultaneously deeded land from this tract to encourage settlement in the region. This caused problems for settlers who purchased land that had already been claimed by settlers from the other state. Disputes over rightful land ownership erupted into major wars known as the Yankee-Pennamite Wars, which began in 1769 and were not resolved until 1795.

    The first settler to this area was James McClure of Scot-Irish descent, who arrived from Lancaster County in 1772 and purchased land under Connecticut claims. McClure built a log cabin near the banks of the Susquehanna River known as ÔÇ£ BeauchampÔÇØ which meant ÔÇ£ beautiful fieldÔÇØ that lies just east of our 2011 rally site. In 1781, a wooden stockade was constructed around the McClure homestead to protect settlers from Indian threats and attacks that deterred further development until the late 1790ÔÇÿs.



    Beauchamp by early accounts needed much work to become farmland, shown today as a soy bean field bordering a nice river road used as a bicycle route.



    Fort McClure, began as a cabin, then a stockade and expanded with the times.
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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    In the early 1800ÔÇÖs the Eyer brothers who were descendants of German Lutheran immigrants from Alsace, Germany now part of France arrived from Easton along the Delaware River. Ludwig and John Adam Eyer formed an informal partnership to establish a town and in those days the one that owns the land or ÔÇ£ProprietorÔÇØ receives the credit as founder. But in the case of Bloomsburg, Ludwig resided in the town but older brother John Adam resided in Northampton County because he was school master for the Lutheran and Mennonite one-room school system. He also was a great business man, financier and the land owner and brother Ludwig was his frontier agent thus allowing historians to name one or the other as founding father(s) of Bloomsburg.



    The town is set up on a grid pattern and The Civil War Memorial and Fountain in the historical district is a major hub.

    We will visit the town of Bloomsburg at a later date and now lets concentrate on our 2011 Rally site that began as a street carnival and a horse race that grew into the Bloomsburg fairgrounds.

    In 1855 Dr. John Taggart enthusiasm of attending a agricultural exhibit in northern Pennsylvania sparked the community have an event in Bloomsburg. Other prominent men named Dr. John Ramsey, B.F. Hartman, Caleb Barton, William Neal and I.W. Hartman decided to undertake an exhibition of fruits, vegetables and farm products. Caleb BartonÔÇÖs farm and buildings were selected for the event and he displayed his grain drill to inspire those not yet mechanized. The event was topped off with a horse race a continued tradition.



    The restored Caleb Barton homestead is still part of the fairgrounds.



    An early photograph of the fairgrounds resembles the Kentucky Derby.

    In the spirit of the founding fathers it is an excellent location to have our work judged, our skills tested, to show the machinery we enjoy and be inspired by new products in a family friendly environment in a destination that is a short scenic drive to storied attractions.

    I mentioned names and local history to inspire rally attendeeÔÇÖs that may have Pennsylvania roots. Many an immigrant came through the port cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore, Maryland and came north to purchase wagons to be part of the western expansion. They may have come in from New England by way of the Connecticut frontier or through New York City and ended up in Pennsylvania as part of innovation and industry that made a nation. They may have been seekers of religious freedom or land, built railroads and canals, been part of the iron, coal and oil industry or worked in conditions that brought forth change in health, safety and labor relations in their lifetime. As with them there is much to seek here and learn about those that made a nation, a great state and provided a beautiful field for our 2011 rally.

    To get a proper orientation and spare yourself from the verbose author please use the interactive map and view the pictures provided.





    The fairgrounds main street looking northward with exhibit halls for education, industrial arts, arts & crafts, agriculture, and horticulture. They all are very large with spacious interiors, concrete floored and during the fair week they are connected and climate controlled.



    Another view just a short walk looking back.
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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    Plenty of green space squared off into a paved grid pattern.



    A view from the Horticulture building looking to the northeast featuring the grandstand and entertainment stage.



    This half mile track and infield is used for figure 8 racing, demolition derbys, enduro moto racing, Monster Truck shows, tractor pulls, a 1953 NASCAR race and numerous open wheel midgets and sprint cars races. And I believe Mario Andretti raced here in a sprint car during the early 1960's. Plenty of room here for Dirt Bike School, GS Challenge field events with plenty of dirt to move around and it includes a man made water hazard.





    Horse racing is still popular.
    Last edited by Statdawg; 06-11-2010 at 02:46 AM. Reason: Word added
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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    The north end of the grounds looking east towards the Magee Rieter Carpet Company. Magee Rieter is one of the three largest suppliers of automotive carpets in North America and General Motors is its largest customer, they also supply Ford. The Rieter partner is an industrial group based in Winterthur, Switzerland, and operates on a global scale. This area of the fairgrounds would make a nice quiet camping spot, its green with paved streets, flat with adequate drainage and the grounds border single family homes and residential streets. The Industrial end of the border was quiet the days I was here. Furthermore it is grand to think that German bikes would be in the morning shadow of a Swiss owned company.



    This concrete slab is called Millennium Park and a perfect size for MSF and ERC training if allowed.



    Two BMW GSs standing by.



    The journey continues southward behind the grandstand where the livestock buildings are and a huge arena similar to the one at Wyoming event.





    Pit stops for motorcycle gear.





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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    More barns but these appeared leased and well used.



    Just a short hike south of the pit stop are more halls, a paddock, the Antique Farm Museum and a nice band shell.





    The Veterans Memorial is impressive and perhaps the BMW Vet Club could muster here.

    As a brief sidebar, in 1864 President Lincoln summoned the Union Army to Columbia County and their encampment was on the fairgrounds, their mission was search out the confederate insurgency. The incident was about the Fishing Creek Confederacy. I often felt maybe they came to enforce Pennsylvania Liquor laws since the Scot-Irish McHenry family operated a large distillery in the town of Benton just north of Bloomsburg and I wonder what the talking heads of our news media would say about the incident ?



    Another southeast gate and green space.



    In the southwest corner of the fairgrounds is one of many RV areas.
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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    Time to move on to search and other points of interest. This area is third in the state for the most concentration of covered bridges. There are plenty of nicely paved roads from mountain twisties covered by lush green canopies within the forests, there are twisty roads among the prosperous farmland, we have the Pocono and Endless Mountains, the Delaware Water Gap and Dutch Borders, Worlds End to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, storied attractions of our history and industry all in a short drive. And I will report on Bloomsburg our host town in the future, the historical section of town was too shaded with elms and maples to give it justice and the City Hall was getting new sidewalks. But here is a short sample of the nearby area.







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    Chromehead bobs98's Avatar
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    Excellent report, Chris! Thanks for taking the time to educate us on the area. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!
    Bob Smith
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    2 Wheeled Troubador oldhway's Avatar
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    Great report Chris! Many Thanks....
    Steve Marquardt, 2004 R1150RT

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    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    This really gives a great sense of place for the area that the '11 rally will be held in. Very impressive, Chris. Thanks for all the effort that went into putting this together.

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    Clay
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    Historical Covered Bridges

    As I recall there are impressive number of covered bridges still in existence up there..Maybe a covered bridges tour for the 2011 rally..

    Regards,

    Clay
    Kimberton,Pa.

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    Registered User LENRT1200ST's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Red Rock ride

    You've got to include a ride up to Redrock and Rickett's Glen. Beautiful Waterfalls. nice little out-of-the-way mom & pop store nearby.

    Great place when the weather gets hot and humid.

    Len

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    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lenrt1200st View Post
    You've got to include a ride up to Redrock and Rickett's Glen. Beautiful Waterfalls. nice little out-of-the-way mom & pop store nearby.

    Great place when the weather gets hot and humid.

    Len
    Another pretty area.

    I have seven forthcoming ride reports once the Redmond Rally is complete. Yesterday, I was scouting the old Reading Railway from Catawissa to Port Clinton. Lots of sites and former historical sites in between worth a look or one can just enjoy the woods, mountain vistas and roads to yourself. There are many roads that are well shaded for cooler rides on hot and hazy days one being the old Tioga Pike taking you from Berwick ( north of Bloomsburg ) to the Red Rock Corner Store just south & west of Rickets Glen State Park. Even those that are not hikers can enjoy the falls just off RT 118.

    Just past Ricketts Glen are some nice fire roads and game land routes that allow public access for our GS riders. For the touring riders one can spend a good day riding to and from Worlds End State Park, the Grand Canyon of Pa, Eagles Mere and even head to some of the historical parts on Rt 6. In the other direction you have pristine farmland, great mountain roads in the coal region and Dutch Borders.

    The covered bridges are interesting and the Association that protects them has a tour route sheet for the public. They are all close to the rally site.

    If one gets too hot at the Rally just ride south of the grounds and enjoy the old grist mill dam on Fishing Creek, there is even a public access rope swing to get you deeper. It maybe an alternative to those that do not like waiting in lines at public showers.
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    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Thank You for that excellent photo report.

    Looks like we will have a great time there.
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

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    Roadster Rider sjbmw's Avatar
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    +1 Thank you.

    excellent job.
    Sig? What's a Sig?

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    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Great write up. I rode through and stayed overnight in Bloomsburg on my way up to the RA rally. I checked out the city and fairgrounds, then followed much of StatDawg's excellent road recommendations on up to Rt. 30 in the Catskills.

    This is shaping up to be a great event! Hopefully PA will finish with all the bridge projects by then, I was caught waiting in the 95+ degree heat more than a few times for a single-span light to change

    PS - I got one of the last reservations at the place I plan on staying, better make yours soon!
    Ted
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