A presentation at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock on Sunday, Sept. 10 will feature many beautiful photos of the Susquehanna River North Branch as seen at Laceyville (top) as well as glimpses of the Chemung River as seen at Athens (above).
There is a great deal of history in the Susquehanna River valley between Tunkhannock and the New York state line. The story can be told in many layers, from the earliest settlements of Native Americans, the disagreements between tribes over which European nations they should align themselves, Gen. Sullivan’s campaign to eliminate the “Indian Menace,” and centuries of boom and bust as white settlers looked for new ways to live off of and prosper from the bountiful resources of the Endless Mountains.
Such will be the backdrop of an educational adventure sponsored by the Wyoming County Cultural Center and the Endless Mountains Heritage Region. The “Discovering NEPA River Towns” school bus tour has been developed to cover as much ground and provide as many perspectives of life along the Susquehanna River North Branch from Tunkhannock to Sayre and back as possible.
On Sunday, Sept. 10 at 3 pm at the Dietrich Theater, project coordinator and tour guide Rick Hiduk will talk about the towns and villages that line the river valley in Bradford and Wyoming counties. Among the municipalities that he has photographed and researched this summer include Wyalusing, Hornbrook, Black Walnut, Ulster, Laceyville, Wysox, Skinners Eddy, Mehoopany, Rummerfield, Meshoppen and Jenningsville.
He will share his photos of the communities as well as his perspectives of how their histories parallel and overlap. Some towns, like Meshoppen, he offered as an example, existed largely to funnel commodities like lumber and dairy products from the countryside to larger markets. As those industries slowed down, Meshoppen, like many other towns along the canals and railroads, shrunk.
Commerce aside, it is the scenery along Routes 6 and 220 and the country highways that parallel them on the opposite side of the river that is ultimately the most captivating, and those are the photos that provoke the most universal response.
“Having grown up in Towanda and moved to Tunkhannock as a teenager, I was intrigued by the opportunity to share the beautiful landscapes and the towns so familiar to me with others,” Hiduk said of the project. “When we agreed to extend the journey to Athens and Sayre, I was challenged to dig deeper into the Indian lore, and I’m now captivated by it.”
Hiduk has leaned on the expertise of historians up and down the river to help him explain the importance of, not just the towns and villages through which the bus will pass, but also the fields and hill tops on which events unfolded that would forever shape the history of the region.
Highlights of the tour and presentation will include: several spots where Gen. Sullivan’s troops camped during their 1779 campaign, sites of American Indian Villages like Friedenshutten and Sheshequin that preceded modern-day settlements, a county park with a very special playground, homes of famous Americans with ties to the Endless Mountains, iconic architecture, flooding history, and a pop quiz during the return trip with theater tickets and snack bar vouchers given as prizes.
Tickets for the “River Towns of the Endless Mountains” presentation on Sept. 10 at the Dietrich Theater are available by calling 570-996-1500 or at the door while they last.
The “Discover NEPA River Towns” bus tour will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Participation is free but limited to the first 40 people to register at 570-996-1500. Participants, who should be at the Dietrich Theater at 8:30 am, are responsible for the cost of lunch and the afternoon snack break. Details will be provided at the time of registration. (Read about it here: http://www.endlessmtnlifestyles.com/?p=7883)