Canal System, Gomer Thomas, Hanging Rock, moose, Pennsylvania, Scranton, Susquehanna River, Waldorf Phillips
What a great view.
They call this “Hanging Rock.” I wonder why.
It is in Danville, Pennsylvania.
However, the area between the river and the cliff is a little narrow for a roadway, a railroad and a canal.
I met the man who took this picture. He said it is going to be placed in the United States Library of Congress.
I hope so.
The hanging rock may puzzle some but I have seen this type thing happen before. It is the “natural progression of progress” – – – if I may use that phrase.
First the rivers were used by rafters to ship produce from rural areas to places like Baltimore and Philadelphia.
It happened on the Susquehanna River, which by the way is the river in the picture, and on the Delaware River – – – just to name two.
Then the canal systems were built. What better place to get water from than the small streams that ran into the rivers. Besides – – – it was already surveyed by God and deemed to be the most level place to build a canal.
Right on their tails were the railroads. So the railroads had to build next to the canals. They did not want to go uphill and downhill either. But there were existing roads in those locations.
So the railroad companies had to blast new roadways for the carriages. And they were not about to go the extra mile. So they blasted just enough for the carriages to pass.
Oh yes – – – how did I get here in Danville, Pennsylvania?
It was Jim McFee again. His relatives had come here from Ireland and built the canals. Some of them stayed in the area to work in the iron works.
See that fellow in the wagon? He is hauling iron ore down to the iron works.
It is that factory down there in the valley.
So Jim’s Uncle Eppy – – – from Henryville – – – sent him this map. He wanted to show Jim how he was supposed to use the river and the canal system to get to Danville to visit his relatives.
See how the canal followed the Susquehanna River from New York all the way to Northumberland?
Danville is only fifteen miles from Northumberland. Uncle Eppy made it look a little closer to Scranton. Maybe he was trying to make the trip look a little easier than it was.
Anyway, we made the trip to Nanticoke by raft, then hopped on a canal boat just to see what that was all about. The canal boat took us right to the boat basin in downtown Danville.
We had a good time downtown. There were a lot of pretty girls there. I think I will return by myself some day.
Oh – – – I almost forgot to tell you. Guess who I met while I was standing on the bridge going over the canal. Give up? Gomer Thomas!
Yes – – – that Gomer Thomas. I wanted to meet Waldorf Phillips but Gomer told me he had another engagement in Baltimore.
It wasn’t a big trip. You can take the river or a railroad to get to Baltimore. Gomer gave me this fancy cover page – – – and the following second page of his and Waldorf’s music.
He must have been thrilled that I recognized him right off.
I had seen a woodcut of him on the Opera House in Scranton. It was a very good likeness.
Gomer took us to see the new bridge that they had just built across the Susquehanna River.
We left Danville and headed back to Scranton after a day or two. Jim had sort of a falling out with his relatives. They sure were not any Uncle Eppy or Aunt Polly.
On the canal ride back we saw a moose in the woods – – –
– – – and several beautiful waterfalls.
It was a nice trip back but Jim was very moody.
With good reason.
David Stewart said:
It would have been cool to live in the era of canal building back then. My mother grew up in western New York, near a former canal system, the Allegany Canal, I think. In areas, you can still see remnants of the lock systems.
Waldo "Wally" Tomosky said:
I believe the canal systems of the 1800’s (although short lived) were the impetus that gave NY its great start. Maybe you would enjoy this true story which depicts what affect canals had on two original settling families of Greene (Chenango County) NY.
An enjoyable trip! Thank you for taking us with you, Wally!
Waldo "Wally" Tomosky said:
Thanks for going with Jim McFee and me on the trip. I hope you enjoyed the music of Gomer Thomas and Waldorf Phillips; they serenaded a lot of lovers while I was there.
We also have a ‘Hanging Rock’ in Victoria – a group of eerie rocks that inspired a mystery movie about a group of school girls going missing from there whilst on a picnic …