Check out Interactive Maps of D&L Heritage Marathon & Half-Marathon Routes

April 16th, 2013

The second annual Delaware & Lehigh Marathon & Half Marathon will be held on Sunday, November 3, 2013.

For more information or to register online, click here.



Mining History Week in the D&L Corridor

January 30th, 2013

Written by Dale Freudenberger

Mining History Week in Northeast Pa was celebrated the week of January 16 -23, 2013. The annual commemoration in the Anthracite Coal Region of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor included observances in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Port Griffith, Ashley, Summit Hill and Lansford. The annual event focuses on honoring and remembering the tens of thousands of mineworkers who worked in or around the coal mines. Many were injured, killed, or suffered black lung disease.

Among the programs offered were a visit to the site of the 1959 Knox Mine disaster along the banks of the Susquehanna River, laying a wreath at several grave sites of disaster victims, a program about the Blue Coal Corporation, a Molly Maguire lecture and dinner at Kings College, and a feature story about a 50 year underground mine fire in the Panther Valley.

This year’s Mining History Week featured programs sponsored by the Anthracite Heritage Foundation, King’s College, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Luzerne County Historical Society, the Huber Breaker Preservation Society, the Anthracite Living History Group, the Old Forge Coal Mine Committee, the Greater Pittston Historical Society, the Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Committee, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum, and Summit Hill Historical Society.

One of the highlights of the week-long event was a lecture by Professor Kevin Kenny of Boston College. Professor Kenny is one of the foremost authorities on the Molly Maguires and the author of ‘Making Sense of the Molly Maguires’. Kenny was welcomed by a capacity crowd of over 250 people in the Burke Auditorium at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre.

Pictured with Professor Kenny are L to R – Jim Christmas, Prof. Kevin Kenny (author of Making Sense of the Molly Maguires), Jim Burke (retired COO of Paramount Pictures and the movie ‘The Molly Maguires’, Dale Freudenberger (Anthracite Region Coordinator with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor), and Dr. Robert Wolensky, author of numerous books on Anthracite history. Burke, Freudenberger and Wolensky are also Directors of the Anthracite Heritage Foundation.

A New Face Hits the Trail Running

January 28th, 2013

Written by Jeffrey Hall, D&L Intern

Hello, my name is Jeffrey Hall. I am the newest intern at the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. For the next few months, I will be assisting the D&L in developing a Wellness Program with St. Luke’s hospital. I will also be responsible for all of the D&L’s social media as well as updates to this blog. Before I get into that, I’d like to tell you a little about myself.

I’m originally from New York City.  When I was six, my family and I moved to the Poconos (Effort, PA), where I graduated from Pleasant Valley High School. I currently attend Kutztown University.  My major is Public Administration, and I am just starting my final semester of college. After graduation my goal is to move to D.C. and start a career in the healthcare sector. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my 36 fraternity brothers, going to the gym, and going on walks with my dog George.

Some of you might be asking how some city kid became an intern at the D&L. Well, it’s sort of a funny story.  Elissa Garofalo, the D&L’s president, came to my Senior Seminar class and gave a presentation about the D&L. Elissa’s presentation peaked my interest.  When she mentioned that she was in the early stages of creating a wellness program, I knew I had to become a part of this organization. The more and more I began to understand what exactly the D&L does, the more interested I became. That’s how I became the D&L intern. So, I lied… It’s not that funny, but it’s the truth. Now that I’m a member of the D&L, I’m excited to hit the ground running. 2013 is shaping up to be an eventful year for the D&L and all its partners.

So now that you know a little about me, let me tell you what I hope to accomplish at the D&L. In the next few months, I will be working on developing a wellness program that utilizes the D&L Trail. I will also be using this blog to highlight some individuals that participate in the wellness program. You will be able to see them transform before your eyes as they “get their tails on the trail” and take on the goals laid out in the wellness program. You’ll be able to cheer them on and give them words of encouragement. So I hope you’re ready to embark on a new adventure along the D&L Trail.

Bristol: The End of My Journey

October 15th, 2012

Written by Jay Marsden

We’ve come to the end of the trail in more aspects than one. This summer has been a remarkable one filled with new places, new insights, and new people and I owe a substantial amount of that to the D&L. I’ve been allowed to run free with my blog and explore the corridor in my own fashion and for that, I am thankful. Coming to the end of the 165 mile long Delaware and Lehigh Canal Trail in Bristol, PA is a bitter sweet end for me. In one hand I will begin the next chapter of my life at Penn State very soon but on the other I will be leaving this area that I have come to love so dearly. Although I couldn’t ride directly from Morrisville to Bristol to honestly seal the end of my journey due to the obstructions I mentioned last week. I was able to spend some time in this once epicenter of commerce.

Although there isn’t much tangible evidence of the place where all of the canal boats, their families, their mules, and their products ended up before turning back north, it is still fully remembered. The end of the trail comes at a point along the Delaware River where it looks more like a bay than the river into which Lehigh flows Easton.

Here there once existed Lock #1 of the Delaware Canal and the Tidal Lock, which preached the schedule of the canal boats entering the canal. By using the tide schedule the lock would raise and lower just as the water elevators of the upper grand section of the Lehigh Gorge but rather than using a series of locks and dams this primary lock worked with the moon’s schedule to allow boats to begin their journey. Although this lock is no longer in existence it is memorialized next to the Delaware River along with one of the most active toll stations that once stood here.

Bristol is filled with history and culture and soon this vital part of the canal’s story will be linked to the rest of D&L trail for all to ride and experience. The plan is to bridge the gaps of the trail with new trail heads, tunnels, and groundbreaking events in the near future.  The vision is to have a beautifully smooth trail from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol.

Freemansburg Canal Education Center

October 2nd, 2012

The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, the Borough of Freemansburg, and the Bethlehem Area School District have partnered to create the Freemansburg Canal Education Center (FCEC) at the Lock 44 canal complex in Freemansburg. A public tour of the site is being offered on Saturday, October 13 at 12 noon. Parking is available behind the Willow Grove Hotel on Main if the Freemansburg Trailhead lot is full. Here is the link for directions to the trailhead:

The FCEC is being developed as a field trip site for fourth-grade students learning the D&L’s “Tales of the Towpath” social studies curriculum, which is being taught in more than 70 elementary schools in the D&L Corridor. (“Tales of the Towpath” received the 2011 Outstanding Social Studies Program Award from the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies.)

Field trips initially will be offered on a pilot basis to five Bethlehem elementaries in October 2013, along with some public programs. The FCEC offers an outstanding variety of historic structures that will allow students to gain a better understanding of the importance of canals and their role in the rise of industry in eastern Pennsylvania in the 1850s. BASD teachers will develop standardized lessons and activities that will bring the “Tales of the Towpath” curriculum to life. The curriculum is based on a popular children’s book of the same name authored by D&L Outreach Coordinator, Dennis Scholl. (Click here to buy a copy.)

The noon tour on October 13 will include stops at historic Lock 44, the Lock 44 locktender’s house, the restored 1829 mule barn, the Geissinger Grist Mill ruins, and other site features.

Work at the site began in August and will continue through the rest of 2012 and much of next year. D&L Trail Tenders have been involved along with youths from Lehigh County Dept. of Juvenile Probation and Scouts from Troop 302 in Bethlehem. Archeologist Judson Kratzer worked with the Scouts to get accurate measurements of the Geissinger Grist Mill ruins and is in the process of making a scale map of the site. Architect Christine Ussler of Bethlehem is donating her services to provide an architectural blueprint of the locktender’s house as it appeared when it was constructed in 1828-1829. Our hope is to have the house restored to its original appearance by 2015.

Fritch Fuel Company of Bethlehem has provided funding for a full-size fiberglass mule – the “Fritch Fuel Mule” – and harness set that will be used in lessons inside the restored mule barn, which will be classroom space for other lessons as well. Other businesses in the Bethlehem/Lehigh Valley area have committed to replacing the locktender’s house roof, removing dead and fallen trees from the site, and providing cement for repair of some sections of the lock.

The field trips will take advantage of the October timing by incorporating lessons based on fall harvests. The presence of the Geissinger Grist Mill enhances that option. Food preservation techniques will be demonstrated and children will have an opportunity to sample butter, apple butter, and other 1850s fare made on-site.

The entire project is volunteer-based. The D&L will be recruiting and training volunteers to serve as costumed field trip hosts and docents. There is also a need for people to demonstrate the food aspects of the trip: making apple butter, cream butter, sauerkraut, chow-chow, chicken pot-pie, and other food children in the 1850s would have eaten.

The site itself is far from ready and there are several major improvements that have to be made before field trips can be offered. The biggest need is a set of retaining walls at the entrance area, which right now is not suitable for groups of children to use. We are hoping that local companies offer help through the donation of materials and services. The D&L is a 501 c3 non-profit organization and all services and materials for the FCEC project are tax-deductible.

The same situation occurs with some of our other goals: a concrete floor in the mule barn; a wooden walkway in the chamber of Lock 44; split-rail fencing near the parking lot and mule barn; canopies to protect students from inclement weather; the removal of several large piles of soil and rock; the building of steps for children to walk down to the shoreline of the Lehigh River, where ecology will be discussed.

The FCEC offers a wealth of educational opportunities, but a tremendous amount of support and work is needed to keep the project moving. So far, so good, but we are now entering a stage where equipment and materials and yes, cash, become important to the project’s success. If you or someone you know can offer support, please get in touch with Dennis Scholl at 610-923-3548 x225 or Volunteers also should contact Dennis or talk to him at the October 13 tour. We hope to see you there, and we’d love to hear your comments and questions on this blog.