The Old Mine Holes and The Old Mine Road
Camp Pahaquarra History
While there is no record of the Dutch occupancy, there are some facts known about later mining operations. For in instance from 1850 to 1863 a firm of Philadelphians named Godleys, worked the holes but the venture proved unprofitable and the spot was finally abandoned. Later, in 1861, there was organized the Alleghaney Milling Company, also the Pahaquarra Mining Company in 1903. Work was carried on at intervals but the stockholders did not get much out of it. These operations did not develop the "Old Holes," but took copper from the exposed strip on the mountains. There was involved about three and a half square miles of territory, or the 1,490 acres now owned by the Scouts. Mining was again suspended in 1917.
A year later, or in 1918, another enterprise was started, that of making barrel staves from the timber on the tract. Buildings were erected and machinery installed, but the business proved unprofitable. Then in 1924 an effort was made to log the district, but this, too, was given up as a failure after some three months trial.
Apparently the section is not of much value from a business viewpoint, but surely the Scouts are not finding fault with this. If the country had been cleared and mined extensively it would not have been available for beautiful Camp Pahaquarra.
So much for the ancient history and traditions 0f the place, with the exception of a mention of the old fort located about two miles up the Old Mine Road and built by the pioneers some two centuries ago. Made of stone, with thirty-inch walls and partitions, this fort was set, as was the custom in those days, according to the points 0f the compass, with a corner each to the north, south, east and west. It was placed on an elevation in a big clearing and much 0£ the original walls remain in a good state of preservation. Mrs. Cecelia Ribble, aged 89 years, and her sister, Mrs. Ida Shoemaker, aged 81, have made their home in the old fort for more than forty years. Mrs. Shoemaker's former home was in the house now occupied and owned by Mr. Dimmick, the ferry man. Mrs. Ribble was born and reared on the Pennsylvania side of the river. These family names can be traced far back in the history of Warren County. It is especially interesting to visit and inspect the old fort house. There are still in use the old windows and doors, with hinges of wood and other evidences 0£ ancient workmanship.
An old slave cellar gives mute testimony of the customs of other days. Mrs. Ribble and Mrs. Shoemaker, fine old ladies, gave the writer 0f this article much information of historical value. They tell among other things of the great flood in 1903, when the Delaware, ordinarily half a mile away, rose to the road in front of the house. It must have been a sight long to be remembered.
And now we come down to the Scouts' replacement of the Dutch and other pioneers. In the Fall of 1923, the Executive Committee of our Council began looking for a permanent camp site. Mr. Chris Cartlidge, Chairman of the Camp Committee, made some forty special trips and inspected sixty suggested locations. Then came a suggestion by Dr. William J. Bickett, Superintendent of the Public Schools of Trenton, that the "Old Mine Holes" country might be available. Mr. Cartlidge came here for an inspection and the sixty other places were out of the running. It took until early in 1925 to gain control of the property desired, but Mr. Cartlidge and Mr. Carrick, the Scout Executive, were determined to have a camp that year, even if they had, as they said, only ten boys. The 1925 camp developed much better than was expected and is now a matter of fine history, as is also its even more successful successor, the camp of 1926.
page 5 of 9 pages, Sep 1, 2005