This is a nice historical day trip from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, the site of our 2011 Rally.
The gps file will be placed at the end of the report.
The Upper Susquehanna Valley was part of Pennsylvania that Charles II of England granted to William Penn and the land that Connecticut had previously claimed. In 1792 The Decree of Trenton resolved this dispute and granted Penn heirs all land up to 42 degrees north latitude. Penn divided the area into three counties Chester, Berks and Northumberland by the time the white settlers were in numbers to govern them.
To reach beyond the colonies to the western frontier, settlers followed the Indian trials and warrior paths. These existing trails were fit only for walking due to fallen timber, heavy underbrush, murky swamps in the narrow valleys choked with laurel and hemlock as they lead to deep hollows to high mountain ridges. With progress, trade was established along these trails that were improved enough for a wagon and making them part of Pennsylvania's tapestry of roads.
Ones northwest journey began in Philadelphia by using the Lehigh River to reach the 1746 established Moravian mission settlement called Gnadenhutten ( Cabins of Grace ) in present day Leighton, then traveling up stream along the Leigh River to Mauch Chunk ( Jim Thorpe ). Jim Thorpe's location was ideal and later it became a hub for the Leigh Canal in 1829 linking the coal industry to Easton on the Delaware River and points southeast ending in Philadelphia. Once in Jim Thorpe one traveled the Pike to Berwick over the densely forested mountains that is now State Route 93. This Pike was completed in 1789, permitting commerce and allowing immigrants access to the frontier. After 1813, this route generally became the Susquehanna and Lehigh Turnpike, terminating at Nescopeck where we begin our journey.
Please be careful driving through this town, the posted speed limit is 25 and its strictly enforced.
Nescopeck is a small river town that supports commercial farming and many sand and gravel operations. It is the birth place of Peter F. Rothermel a land surveyor who turned to painting. He best known for The Battle of Gettysburg still used by academics in civil war studies.
In 1769, Evan Owen purchased land ten miles north of Bloomsburg and west across the river from Nescopeck in what is now Berwick and by 1780 a town emerged. It was initially called Owensville, and later named for Owens’s birthplace, Berwick Upon Tweed, England. To this day there are Berwick to Berwick student exchange programs with the twin towns.
Berwick was incorporated in 1818, that same year the completion of a covered bridge across the Susquehanna connecting Berwick and Nescopeck allowing faster travel along this important Pike.