Columbia-Montour Quarterly Vol. 10: October-December 2023

Enjoy a quarterly snapshot of our region with the latest edition of our quarterly digital magazine!



Volume 10 October - December

Your All-Access Guide to Columbia & Montour Counties!







These Roots Run Deep: The History of Grassmere Park

10 Covered Bridge & Arts Festival: October 5-8th

12 Indigenous Names of the Susquehanna Greenway


Events Calendar 16

2023 Covered Bridge Puzzles Have Arrived 25 22 Preserving the Past: The Jackson Mansion

All in the Spirit of the Season: Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree farm 26

Sweets & Spirits Trail 30

Member Spotlight 32


The Eastern Hellbender Gets a Second Chance 34


Your fall Adventure Begins in COLUMBIA & MONTOUR Counties




Article by: Linda Sones & Stacey Geffken

Nestled in the hills of Northern Columbia County and along Fishing Creek is a camping resort loaded with history. You may have been a part of a family gath- ering, or perhaps roller-skated there in days past, or perhaps have just heard the name in passing if you are local to. This historic park is Grassmere Park, and its roots go back to the 1790s. In the 1790s, as this region was first becoming inhabited, John J. Godhard, an Englishman from Delaware, and his family settled a section of land near today’s village of Central, along State Route 118. Mr. Godhard, along with his son-in- law, William Hess, and the husbands of four granddaughters, purchased a large section of land in what is now known as Sugarloaf Township for an average price of two dollars an acre. The husbands of the four granddaughters were Philip Fritz, Christian Laubaugh, John Kile, and Ezekiel Cole (you may remember Eze- kiel from the article on St. Gabriel’s in the Pines in our January - March 2023 edi- tion of this magazine). All these names are common in the northern part of this county, and their descendants still reside in the area today. These men farmed the land through the 1800s. One of William’s sons, Andrew, operated a large farm from this settlement and willed it to his son, T. Wesley Hess around 1885. Then in 1889, Wesley opened part of this farm as Hess’ Grove, where folks could enjoy a day along the creek fishing, picnicking, and relaxing. It is not likely a coincidence that just prior to opening Hess’ Grove, the Blooms- burg & Sullivan Railroad (B&S), who received a charter in 1883, had completed a line into northern Columbia County in 1888. Men were arriving in the area to work logging efforts and were based out of Jamison City, a little farther up the line. The rail not only provided a way for men to get into Jamison City to work but also gave people from out of the region a way to get to the park. With people now having a way into the region, Wesley built a tabernacle, eating stand, and other buildings for public use. He would host Evangelical Church Camp meet- ings as well as Negro Camp meetings.

A train ticket from Grassmere to Jamison City, circa 1907.


If a delicious meal is in your plans, then you’ll definitely want to visit us here at Old Forge Brewing Company. Our chef has created a menu that is outstanding and truly unique. Enjoy Our Great Food & Amazing Beer. Stop in today, we know you’ll be pleased! JUST RIGHT!

We offer up to 16 of our very own beers on tap with 2 additional Cask Conditioned beers rotating on the hand pumps. We also feature a selection of wines and a cocktail menu. Lunch, Dinner, Appetizers & Daily Food Features Interested in Take-Out? Call to order! We Have Beer To Go: in Cans, Growlers, or Crowlers.

532 Mill Street • Danville, PA 17821 • 570.275.8151 OLDFORGEBREWINGCOMPANY.COM

A Grassmere Park baseball game between Grassmere & Benton, circa 1906.

Grassmere Park’s home baseball team; undated.

By 1899, Hess’ Grove had become known as “Grassmere Park”, and it was booming with family outings and the annual Farmer’s Picnic. The Columbian , the area’s local newspaper at the time, re- ported “fully 3 thousand attended” the August 1899 Farmer’s Pic- nic! The origins of the Grove’s name change are unclear, but have been the topic of debate through the years. The word, mere, in the English language can mean “meadows” or “only” and in French it means “lake”. It is easy to imagine that the name came about as a result of the lush green landscape with numerous fresh water sources that still exist in the area to this day.

sionist travel” and the park was to be the focal point. They added a dance pavilion & band shell, metal swings, a rail station, and a store. They continued the use of the food stand and kitchen previously built by Wesley and opened a sawmill that was operated by William Shultz. The park became a hotspot for dancing and watching baseball games. The park had its own team and ball diamond. People would shut down stores and stop farming to come to watch the games on weekends. On one such occasion, on July 4th, 1910, The Bloomsburg team was scheduled to play the Benton team. Also on this day was the Millville Fourth of July parade. Between these two holiday events, the village of Benton was mostly de- void of its population. It is stated that a few boys who remained in

Wesley sold Hess’ Grove (now Grassmere Park) to the B&S Railroad in 1904. The railroad company was interested in developing “excur-


Benton were playing with firecrackers on this day and caught an outbuilding on fire. It quickly spread as there were too few people in town to help fight the blaze. Most of the southern section of Benton was burned to the ground in three hours, stopped only by it running into Fishing Creek. You can learn more about the Ben- ton Fire here: 1913 saw the end of the logging industry in Jamison City. As things wound down, the park was sold to Nevin Hummel who planned to timber the park and neighboring lands. All picnicking and fes- tivities stopped. A year later however, Nevil sold the park land to Mr. & Mrs. Ira Sutliff and Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Seward. They retained the buildings and managed to save a lot of virgin timber. Additional new trees were planted, picnics and fish suppers returned to the park, and the park returned to relevance in the community. Mr. H. Stanley Hess and his wife B. Ione greatly enjoyed their times at the park, and in 1923 the couple purchased it from the Sutliffs and Sewards for a sum of $500.

H. Stanley & B. Ione Hess with June, Bette, & Budd, circa 1925.

still for dancing. They continued to provide suppers, picnicking, wrestling camps, baseball games, Izaak Walton meetings, reli- gious meetings, and camps for Christian services. Patrons could purchase homemade ice cream as well as candy and soda at the concession stand. Stanley had a Model-T with offset wheels that made it “bounce” as you drove it. He called it “Leaping Lena” and picnickers would pay ten cents for a ride. The car was eventually sold to Tubby Bartlow of Millville.

After Stanley passed away, his grandson, Fred Hess, and his wife Jane, purchased the park from Ione in 1971. Fred added 30 camp-

Deed transfer to H. Stanley and Beatrice Ione Hess, made July 7, 1923.

Here, they raised their five children, June, Bette, Budd, Kay, and Shirley. And as their family grew, the need for a larger home be- came more apparent. In 1930, they built a two-story home from a Sears kit which is still standing in the park today. Times were changing and people’s interests changed as well. The Hess’s converted the dance hall into a roller rink around 1940. The rink would be open on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday nights as well as Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. But Saturday nights were

The dance hall prior to 1940; it was later converted into a roller rink.


A view of Fishing Creek from the park.

rs Country Grill 22 - Half_Layout 1 6/9/22 10:40 AM Page 1

Deed transfer from B. Ione Hess to her son Fred Hess and his wife, Jane on February 11, 1971.

An announcement of the Park re-opening for weekly dancing and roller skating, after Fred and Jane Hess took ownership in 1971. After Fred took over ownership, he added camping sites to the park. DineIn • TakeOut • Catering

Westovers Country Grill creates delicious, good ole’ fashion home cooking in a nostalgic country setting. From comfort food like BBQ to delicious steaks and pasta, you’ll love every bite. We even make homemade desserts! Stop by anytime, especially if you’re on your way to nearby Ricketts Glen. Dine inside or relax outside on our all weather outdoor deck/pavilion. It’s also the perfect place to have your next party, event, or business gathering.

4438 Red Rock Rd. Benton PA 17814 570-925-0330 Open at 11am Tuesday-Sunday

B.Y.O.B. Welcome!


Stacey Geffken, one of the current owners of the park, speaks at the park’s 100th Anniversary party.

The roller rink today; the current owners’ goal is to eventually re-open it.

dren, Miles and Kate. They plan on continuing the family legacy of the park and, hopefully, reopening the roller rink that has fallen into decay. They still offer fishing, a ballfield, candy hunts, hay rides, pig roasts, picnicking, tent and RV campsites, and a camp store. On July 22, 2023, Grassmere Park celebrated its 100th Anniversa- ry in operation by the Hess Family. Family and friends came from as far away as Colorado. Stories were told and memorabilia was shared. Grassmere Park has stood the test of time and will contin- ue to do so for generations to come. •

sites complete with firepits, picnic tables, and garbage cans. He also introduced a bathhouse, plumbing, and electricity, as well as an arcade, tennis court, volleyball court, and a camp store. Be- sides the roller rink, dances, and picnics, Fred started having bin- go, hayrides, candy hunts, and pig roasts. He then went to work adding approximately 40 additional campsites.

In 2021, Fred passed unexpectedly. The park is now owned and operated by his daughters, Stacey and Wendy, and his grandchil-

Grassmere Park owners today. Front: Miles Geffken, Kay Hess Mausteller (only surviving child of H. Stanley & B. Ione), Kate Geffken, Back: Wendy Hess Gable, Stacey Hess Geffken (both daughters of Fred Hess)

The Grassmere Park campground is still a popular summer destination today for campers to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.


The Hess Family at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Grassmere Park, held on July 22, 2023.

Where Learning and Fun Come Together

2 West 7th Street Bloomsburg, PA 17815 (570)389-9206



We invite your family

to our family farm

For Fall Fun...

For Classes & Events Friendsgiving Tea Kids Crafts & Storytimes Wreath Making Class Gingerbread Workshops Cookie Exchange Caroling

Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins Corn Maze Kids Playland Apple Slingshot Flashlight Nights in the Corn Maze For Holiday Desserts Fresh baked pies,

Plus Food, Wine & Seasonal Decor

cookies, dumplings & more

for more info or to register for events, visit




“Native Lands” Painting by Carol Oldenburg

Indigenous Names

Article by Alana Jajko, Susquehanna Greenway Partnership

The Susquehanna River has drawn people to its banks for thou- sands of years. Many of our Susquehanna Greenway River Towns were built where former Native American villages once main- tained extensive agricultural fields, towns, and roads along the easily navigable shores of the Susquehanna River. Acknowledg- ing the importance of Indigenous people in Pennsylvania’s past, present, and future is key to understanding and respecting the Susquehanna Greenway that we explore today. Many familiar names throughout the Susquehanna Greenway have their roots in Native languages. In the Northern regions of the Susquehanna River, most Indigenous people spoke varia- tions of the Haudenosaunee language – including Mohawk and Oneida – while those in the central and southern regions largely spoke Algonquian dialects. In this article, you’ll learn about just a few of these parks, trails, and landmarks with key ties to Indigenous history. Remember, many of the paths we walk today have been walked for thou- sands of years.

habited by Susquehannock people. The name Moshannon is de- rived from the Algonquian word “Mos’hanna’unk,” meaning “elk river place,” with “black” referring to the darkness of the water due to the plant tannins from the bog. Located within one of the most remote sections of the Susquehanna Greenway and the PA Wilds, it is also one of the few places you might see wild elk today. Chickies Rock (Lower Susquehanna): Chickies Rock, a stun- ning 400-foot overlook situated where Chiques Creek runs into the Lower Susquehanna, is a derivation of the Algonquian word “Chiquesalunga” meaning “place of the crayfish.” Many Indigenous names are written multiple ways, like “Chickies” and “Chiques;” since these words were not originally written using the English alphabet, accepted spelling often varies. Conestoga Trail (Lower Susquehanna): Conestoga, a name commonly found throughout south central PA, was the English name for the Susquehannock. The term is often used to refer to the smaller groups of Susquehannock that remained as their numbers dramatically decreased. The Conestoga Trail offers sev- eral scenic overlooks of the Susquehanna River along its 14.3-mile stretch.

Black Moshannon State Park (West Branch): Situated along Moshannon Creek, Black Moshannon State Park was initially in-


of the Susquehanna Greenway

Catawissa (North Branch): Catawissa, a borough in Columbia County that sits upon the banks of the Susquehanna, derives its name from the Indigenous word “Catawese.” Authorities differ as to the nationality of the aboriginal tribe which made their home in the area. Redmond Conyngham, a prominent settler in the area at the time (and after whom Conyngham Township is named) stated that “The Piscatawese, or Gangawese, or Conoys had a Catawese, now Catawissa.” Stewart Pearce, another renowned area historian of that time, asserts that the Shawanese tribe established a village at Catawissa in 1697, or about that time. Regardless, the word “Catawese” occurs in several different in- digenous dialects, including the Shawanese and Delawares, and always with the same meaning: ”pure water.” Diahoga Trail (North Branch): The Diahoga Trail, which saw its grand opening in 2019, runs 1.5 miles from Athens to Sayre. The word “Diahoga” comes from the Susquehannock name for what is now the town of Athens. The name, which means “at the forks,” is fitting for the community, which is situated at the confluence of the Chemung River and the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. Iroquois Trail (North Branch): This 3-mile trail is located near the town of Tunkhannock, another town with rich Indigenous history. Although the name Iroquois is still widely used today, it

A illustrative view of the settled town of Catawissa, in Columbia County.

is actually a derogatory term that the French used to refer to the Haudenosaunee people. The term is a mispronunciation of the Algonquian word for “snakes”—an insult used originally by the Al- gonquians, who engaged in continued conflict with the Haude- nosaunee.


Loyalsock Township Riverfront Park (West Branch): Loyalsock comes from the word “Lawi-Saquick,” meaning “middle creek,” in Algonquian. The Loyalsock Town- ship Riverfront Park is located on the site of a former Native American village called Ostonwakin, meaning “a rock,” which expanded into what is now Montoursville. Mocanaqua (North Branch): Another community on the banks of the North Branch, Mocanaqua’s name derivation is a reminder of Frances Slocum, who was kidnapped by three Delaware warriors in an attack on the Slocum family farm in nearby Wilkes Barre. The first night after her abduction was spent in a crude shelter under a rock ledge along Abrahams Creek. In present day, this location is within the boundaries of Frances Slocum State Park, which is located just north of Wilkes Barre in Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The attack on the farm took place during a very unstable time in the region. Just a few months prior, during the Battle of Wyoming - which happened in July 1778 - British forces and Seneca warriors destroyed Forty Fort near Wilkes-Barre, killing more than three hundred American settlers. Little Frances, who was only five years old at the time of her abduction, was brought westward and eventually traded for animal pelts to a childless couple in the Miami tribe who named her “Maconaquah,” or Young Bear. As Maconaquah grew older, she became a celebrity of sorts within the native community. She was known not only for her light skin and flaming red hair, but also for excelling at the foot races and games on horseback often played by young braves. Ultimately, she married a Miami tribe leader in Indiana and lived there until her death in 1847 at the age of 74.

s 23 - Half_Layout 1 6/27/23 11:57 AM Page 1

story continues -->

616 Walnut Street Danville, PA 570-275-1310

Lunch • Dinner • Takeout • Delivery Something for everyone... entrees, appetizers, burgers, salads, soup and don't forget the fresh cut fries! Offering a full bar with a variety of domestic, imported, craft, and seasonal beers. Family-friendly atmosphere with outdoor seating. Open for lunch and dinner. Online Ordering Available!


Nescopeck (North Branch): The borough of Nescopeck, just across the Susquehanna River from Berwick, derives its name from a creek of the same name that flows south from the river on the edge of town. “Nescopeck” comes from a Lenni Lenape (Delaware tribe) word meaning “deep black water.” The current community of Nescopeck occupies the original site of the Dela- ware tribe’s village. Shickshinny – Greenway River Town (North Branch): Conflict- ing interpretations state that Shickshinny means either “a fine stream” or “five mountains.” Either name would suit this Green- way River Town, which is situated along a small creek and ringed by five mountains. Shikellamy State Park (Confluence): One of the most recog- nized Indigenous names in the Susquehanna River Valley is that of Chief Shikellamy, the namesake for Shikellamy State Park, which is situated at the confluence of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna River. Shikellamy was a leader of the Haude- nosaunee Confederacy who lived in modern-day Sunbury in the mid-18th Century and served as an emissary from the Haudeno- saunee in New York to the colonial government in Philadelphia. Susquehanna River: The Susquehanna River is named for the Susquehannock people who inhabited the Susquehanna River Valley and surrounding areas at the time of European contact. Variations on the suffix “hannock” are commonly found through- out the Susquehanna Greenway—its meaning in the Algonqui- an language is “moving water” or “river.” Sources conflict on the full meaning of Susquehanna, with interpretations ranging from “oyster river” to “muddy river.” Tiadaghton State Forest (West Branch): Tiadaghton is the name the Haudenosaunee gave to Pine Creek, a major tributary that runs into the West Branch of the Susquehanna. The Pine Creek Path, which passes through Tiadaghton State Forest, connected Native villages along the Susquehanna River with other Haudeno- saunee communities in New York. A rail line was later construct- ed along its route, which has since evolved into the popular Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Towanda is located near a Nanticoke burial site. The Nanticoke’s traditional homelands lie around the Chesapeake Bay; howev- er, in the 18th Century, some members of the Nanticoke people moved North into Pennsylvania, seeking the protection of the powerful Haudenosaunee. Tunkhannock – Greenway River Town (North Branch): The name of the Greenway River Town of Tunkhannock has various interpretations; some maintain that it signifies “small stream,” while others have traced it to mean “a bend in the river,” referring to a sharp upriver bend known as “the Neck.” Wapwallopen (North Branch): Another community on the North Branch, Wapwallopen, has two potential indigenous name origins. The first being, “the place where the messengers were murdered,” though no reference has yet been found as to the reason for this translation. Any reason for that meaning is most likely lost in history. The other meaning is given as, “the place where the white hemp grows.” This translation seems more like- ly, since in the Delaware language, the prefix Wab, Wapsu, and Whap, translated into English, all mean white. And “halahpink” can be translated to mean “wild hemp.” It is definitely known that a kind of wild hemp did grow in the area. From this plant, fish nets, coarse clothing, and bedcoverings were made by the Delaware. - Information from “A History of the Wapwallopen Region” White Cliffs of Conoy (Lower Susquehanna): The White Cliffs of Conoy, located in south central PA, are named for the Piscat- away Conoy Tribe, a group of Nanticoke people who traditional- ly lived along the Potomac River. They moved North with other Nanticoke people in the early 1700s, seeking land and protec- tion. These cliffs are actually a limestone deposit which can be explored just off of the 14.2-mile Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. Indigenous voices are essential to understanding our relationship with the land. When visiting one of these spots along the Susque- hanna Greenway, take some time to consider its importance to the Haudenosaunee, Susquehannock, Nanticoke, and others who previously called it home. While the Susquehannock people are no longer active in the area, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy is an important force in the Northeast today. For more information, visit their website at •

Towanda River Walk (North Branch): Towanda means “burial ground” in the Algonquian language and, indeed, the town of

A view of Wapwallopen and the Susquehanna River

The White Cliffs of Conoy Photo by: Mark Kissinger

The Susquehanna Greenway is a corridor of connected trails, parks, river access points, and communities, link- ing people to the natural and cultural treasures of the Susquehanna River. The mission of the Partnership is to continue to grow the Greenway, inspiring people to engage with the outdoors and transforming communities into places where people want to live, work, and explore. Learn more:





41 st annual covered bridge & arts festival October 5 – 8 Bloomsburg Fair Grounds, 900 West Main Street, Bloomsburg 570-784-8279 • “ new chapters ” show at artspace gallery October 5 – November 12 Artspace Gallery, 221 Center Street, Bloomsburg 570-784-0737 • berwick riverfest October 6 – 8 Berwick Test Track, South Eaton Street, Berwick 570-752-2723 • hallo - fun weekends October 6 - 29 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) Knoebel’s Amusement Resort, 391 Knoebels Blvd. Elysburg 800-487-4386 • bte improv October 6 & November 10 Alvina Kraus Theatre, 226 Center Street, Bloomsburg, PA 570-784-5530 • odyssey October 6 Bloomsburg University K.S. Gross Auditorium, 400 East Second Street, Bloomsburg 570-389-4409 • 30 th annual knoebel lumber 5 k October 7 Knoebel’s Amusement Resort, 391 Knoebels Blvd, Elysburg 570-672-2531 x 344 •

danville area community center 5 k and kids fun run October 7 Danville Area Community Center, 1 Liberty Street, Danville, PA 570-275-3001 • warrior run - fort freeland heritage days October 7 & 8 Freeland Farm, 246 Warrior Run Blvd, Turbotville bloomsburg singers fall concert October 7 Wesley United Methodist Church, 130 West Third Street, Bloomsburg 570-336-3928 •

emmet cohen trio ( jazz ) October 12 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 • haunted history tours of the jackson mansion October 13 & 14 Jackson Mansion, 344 Market Street, Berwick 570-759-8020 •

corn maze flashlight nights at rohrbachs October 13 & 14 Rohrbach Farm Market, 240 Southern Drive, Catawissa 570-356-7654 • eagle arms gun show October 14 & 15 Bloomsburg Fair Grounds, 900 West Main Street, Bloomsburg 610-393-3047 •


nk Association F23-Half_Layout 1 9/19/23 6:03 PM Page 1

A truly special museum filled with displays and artifacts which celebrate the manufacturing of the Stuart Tank by the American Car & Foundry in Berwick and honor the brave veterans of WWII. Stuart Tank Memorial Museum

FREE Admission

Tuesday 11-5 • Friday 2-8 • Saturday 11-5 Or By Appointment

in Mid July every year at the Berwick Riverfront Park Test Track (dates on website)

Look for our Annual WWII Weekend

309 North Vine Street Berwick, PA 18603 570-350-9675




37 th annual pumpkin festival at the ol ’ country barn October 14 & 15 Ol’ Country Barn, 9 South Comstock Road, Benton 570-925-6295 • 1 st annual craft show at the butterfly farm October 14 & 15 Folk’s Butterfly Farm, 9 Butterfly Lane, Nescopeck 570-394-7298 • “ food for thought ” October 16 - November 17 The Exchange, 24 East Main Street, Bloomsburg 570-317-2596 • the legendary ingramettes ( gospel / soul ) October 19 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 •

the exchange ’ s listening room presents : dana cooper October 25 The Exchange Gallery, 24 East Main Street, Bloomsburg 570-317-2596 • dublin guitar quartet ( classical guitar ) October 27 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 • boo ! burg 2023 October 27 7th St. at the Bloomsburg YMCA & Children’s Museum, Bloomsburg 570-317-2596 •


terry jenoure ’ s secret to life with angelica sanchez ( jazz : violin & piano ) November 1 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 •

outfest October 21

Bloomsburg Town Park, Bloomsburg

8 th anniversary of three dogs vino October 21 Three Dogs Vino, 129 Hidlay Church Road, Bloomsburg 570-389-0151 •

la banda morisca ( world music ) November 3 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 •


dogs in the corn maze & dog costume contest November 4 Rohrbach Farm Market, Bakery & Gift Shop, 240 Southern Drive, Catawissa 570-356-7654 • danish string quartet ( classical ) November 5 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 • BODYTRAFFIC ( contemporary dance ) November 9 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 • alissa moreno ( indie - pop / americana ) November 10 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 • okaidja afroso : ‘ jaku mumor — ancestral spirit ’ ( world music / afro - jazz ) November 14 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 •

holiday exhibit & sale at artspace gallery November 16 – December 31 Artspace Gallery, 221 Center Street, Bloomsburg 570-784-0737 • modern warrior LIVE November 17 Bloomsburg University, 400 East Second Street, Bloomsburg 570-389-4409 •

run for the diamonds November 23 Downtown Berwick, Berwick 570-759-1426 •

treefest November 24 - December 3 Caldwell Consistory, 150 Market Street, Bloomsburg 570-784-5530 •

winterfest at the bloomsburg fairgrounds November 24 & 25 Bloomsburg Fair Grounds, 900 West Main Street, Bloomsburg 570-784-4949 •






joy through the grove November 24 – December 30 Knoebel’s Amusement Resort, 391 Knoebels Blvd. Elysburg 800-487-4386 • a christmas story November 24 – December 28 Alvina Kraus Theatre, 226 Center Street, Bloomsburg, PA 570-784-5530 • the exchange ’ s listening room presents : stew cutler November 29 The Exchange Gallery, 24 East Main Street, Bloomsburg 570-317-2596 • mariachi herencia de méxico ( world music / holiday ) November 30 Weis Center, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg 570-577-1000 •

benton winterfest December 2 Park Street, Benton

2023 berwick boulevard December 2 – 31 Market Street, Berwick 570-336-0858 philadelphia freedom : elton comes home for the holidays December 2 Bloomsburg University, 400 East Second Street, Bloomsburg 570-389-4409,

christmas on the bridges December 3

Twin Covered Bridge Park, Route 487, Orangeville


GOSPEL/SOUL The Legendary Ingramettes Thurs., Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. CONTEMP. DANCE BodyTraffic Thurs., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. WORLD MUSIC/HOLIDAY Mariachi Herencia de Mexico Thurs., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.

FarmsFall 23-HalfPg._Layout 1 9/21/23 10:35 AM Page 1

Full schedule at

570-799-5888 Fall Hours:

Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun: 9am-5pm Call for Special Holiday Hours from Nov. 24- Dec. 23 Closed January Restaurant & Farm Market Banquet Hall with available Catering Christmas Tree Farm Check Website for Special Events!

Located 1 Mile Off Rt. 42 In Numidia 270 White Church Rd, Elysburg, PA

Preserving the Past

The Jackson Mansion

by Jenn Puckett

daughters, Henrietta, and Jane. In 1877 he initiated construction on the mansion. The mansion was completed in 1879, but sadly Colonel Jackson would pass away in 1880 at only 38 years old. Henrietta and Jane eventual- ly married and moved to New York City. Mrs. Jackson con- tinued to reside in the man- sion until her death on June 30, 1913. The daughters re- turned to settle the estate and gave many of the con- tents away to family and staff,

The Jackson Mansion in Berwick is a historic American home that was built for Civil War Colonel Clarence G. Jackson in the years after his return from combat. Let’s dig into the history of this palatial mansion! Colonel Jackson was born on March 25, 1842 in Berwick. Af- ter attending Dickinson College and graduating with honors, he returned to Berwick to work with his father, self-made railroad equipment manufacturer M. W. Jackson, and to study law. How- ever, shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he enlist- ed in the 84th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The regiment participated in some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Jackson was twice taken prisoner by the Confeder- ates, but was exchanged both times. Upon the conclusion of the war, Jackson returned to Berwick to work as Vice President of the Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company, his father’s company. He also served as a director of the First National Bank of Berwick. He married Elizabeth Seybert in 1866 and had two

A young Clarence G. Jackson.

selling the remainder. They couldn’t find a buyer for the family home and in 1915 they deeded the mansion to the Borough of


Berwick to be used for municipal purposes. They stipulated that no changes could be made to the outside of the house.

Over the years, the Jackson Mansion housed City Hall, the Red Cross, the local Library, the police station, emergency manage- ment, civil defense and the Berwick Historical Society. The Borough of Berwick eventually outgrew the mansion. The question was – what would happen to the property? Luckily, friends Jim Stout and Gerald Kerschner (Gerald was the great grandson of the Jackson family’s coachman!) were involved in the Berwick Historical Society and stepped up to save this histori- cal treasure. I spoke with Jim Stout, Curator of the Jackson Man- sion about how the mansion became what it is today. There are far too many amazing stories regarding the mansion’s journey to include them all, but here are a few especially noteworthy ones: First, was the question of how to get the funds. Luckily, the Soci- ety possessed a donated copy of the 1733 Poor Richard’s Alma- nac, produced by Benjamin Franklin. The decision was made to sell it and use the proceeds for the mansion. After many apprais- als, the Almanac was deemed to be an original copy. It ended up at Sotheby’s in NYC, where it eventually sold for $556,500! Shockingly, it was one of only three copies of the original 1733 issue in existence. In the family Parlor is a Steinway Square Grand Piano. This is one of the items that was missing from the house; whether it was sold or given away in 1913, no one is sure. Jim Stout happened to be at an auction in a nearby town almost a century later and found a dilapidated, nearly ruined piano. No one wanted to buy it, but Jim decided to check with the seller later – on the day it was to be taken to disposal. He agreed to pick up that day. After the Historical Society got the piano and restored it, they checked the serial number with Steinway – and found it was reg- istered to C. G. Jackson! This very unique musical instrument, once part of the original house, had found its way home.

A look at Ben Franklin’s 1733 edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack”

The restored Steinway Square Grand Piano in the family parlor.

The Jackson Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Top: The Jackson Mansion’s family dining room. Bottom: A tour of the mansion; guides are dressed in period-appropriate attire.

Gerald had a collection of many pieces from the mansion, which he donated to the Historical Society. Original light shades were found at a yard sale and were later found out to match the ones still in the basement. I had the pleasure of touring the mansion twice and it is obvious how much work has been put into accurately pre- serving this historical treasure. I asked Jim how he does it. He replied, “it’s the volunteers and their dedication. I could not do my job without them.” There’s too much to tell about this amazing piece of Co- lumbia County history. The Berwick Historical Society continues to add more features, including plans to add a new gift shop and restore the Carriage House to include the authentic era-accurate horse drawn vehicles. You can visit, volunteer or even better – become a sponsor! Special events coming up at the Mansion include: Haunted Histo- ry Tours (October 13 & 14) and Victorian Christmas Tours (December 5 – 30; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays). Visit for more information. •

Inn 21 - Half_Layout 1 6/11/21 10:01 AM Page 1

Six Luxury rooms for today’s distinguished travelers who are looking for a comfortable home away from home! Wandell Inn 240 Main Street Benton, PA 17814 570-394-7033

A Picturesque Inn Nestled in the charming Village of Benton Pennsylvania... just a short drive from both Ricketts Glen State Park and Bloomsburg University. Each one of our six guest rooms is uniquely designed and features works by local artists. Complimentary coffee bar .

2023 Covered Bridge PUZZLES ARE HERE!

The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau is excited to announce the arrival of its thirteenth annual Covered Bridge puzzle. The newest limited-edition puzzle showcases the Jud Christian Bridge in Columbia County. They are 550 pieces and were manufactured by Heritage Puzzle out of North Carolina. Limited quantities are currently available for the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. Puzzles are sold for $18, tax included. A $2 donation from every puzzle

sold will be made by the Bureau to the Columbia County Covered Bridge Association. They make a fantastic Christmas present idea for family or friends! Puzzles may be purchased in person at the Visitors Bureau Welcome Center, located at 121 Papermill Road in Bloomsburg during normal business hours (Monday – Friday; 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM). Puzzles are also available to be shipped anywhere in the continental United States for an additional shipping charge. Mail orders may be placed by calling the Welcome Center at 570-784-8279. This year’s puzzle photo was taken by Mark Koskulitz, who was honored earlier this year as the 2023 Covered Bridge photo contest winner. The Jud Christian Covered Bridge was built in 1876 by William L. Manning at a cost of $239. It is located five miles northeast of Millville and Iola on Ardens Hill Road, off Sereno Hollow Road. It spans Little Fishing Creek between Jackson and Pine Townships, in Columbia County. This Queen Post truss bridge is 53 feet long and in near-perfect condition. The bridge is still open to vehicular thru- traffic. It was named after a farmer and lumberman, Jud Christian, who lived nearby. The farm’s old mill still stands a short distance from the bridge on private property. If not already sold out, the 2023 Jud Christian puzzle can also be purchased at this year’s 41st Annual Covered Bridge & Arts Festival, held this coming October 5-8 at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.




All in the Spirit

of the Season

by Linda Sones

to be done either by the headlights of a pickup or a flashlight be- cause he normally worked till almost dark. The first year, they sold between 50 and 100 trees. Right from the start, people wanted the Kohls to include wreaths for sale. Neither Stan nor his wife, Nancy, had any idea how to make a wreath. So, they found a lady to make wreaths for them during their second year of business. By year three of being in the tree business, they had started planting their own trees on their farm, continued to buy more pre-cut trees to sell at their second location in Northumberland, and started making their own wreaths by wrapping wire around the branches on a frame. This was a slow and painful process for the fingers. When the holidays moved in, they had only 75 wreaths ready for their guests. In 1989, major changes were made in their Tree and Wreath busi- ness. They bought a Christmas tree drill to put the hole in the trunk that actually goes onto a stand in the house or a pin in the lot. The other major upgrade was a wreath-making machine which crimped the frames around the branches rather than having to wire the branches fast. This greatly improved efficiency, and pro- duction of wreaths jumped to between 200 to 250 for the year. It worked so well that Stan made two others so they could have one

Christmas is a great time of year. And for people like Stan Kohl and his family, it’s always Christmas! Stan owns Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm just outside of Washingtonville in Montour County. Through- out the years, he has turned an old farm into one of Santa’s work- shops that is certainly well worth a visit. Stan and his family purchased the farm back in November of 1986. At the time, it was quite run down; pretty much the only thing that was in good condition was the barn. The house had to be com- pletely renovated to even think about living in it. But there were a few blue spruces, Douglas firs, and Norway spruce trees planted on the farm. The blue spruce trees were nearly 16 feet tall, the Norway spruce were a little taller, and the Douglas fir a little short- er. Stan was able to start harvesting towards the end of November. These few trees became a passion that started him into the world of Christmas trees, ornaments, and a Guinness world record. In these early days, Stan was working full-time for his father-in-law in his machine shop, so having time off in order to sell Christmas trees was somewhat of an issue. Most of the trees he did cut had


Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm currently has over 100,000 ornaments for sale at their Christmas Shoppe!

road” and set up shop at the Lewisburg Farmer’s Market and the Route 15 flea market. Stan took a little air compressor along so that he was able to sit and make wreaths in between customers. Stan worked the Lewisburg Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Nancy went to the Route 15 flea market on Sundays so that Stan was able to tend the lot in Northumberland on Sundays. The new wreaths made at the markets would be taken back to the farm and Nancy would decorate them in the evenings. The next big step came to the farm in 1995 with the addition to their house which included a garage. They moved the wreath pro- duction from the basement of the house into the new garage. That also enabled them to do the branch clipping in the barn which was closer to the garage. Prior to having the garage, all the branch clippings were completed under the front porch. With the addition of the garage and being able to have a place where customers could come, they started doing “choose and cut” at the farm. Nancy was pretty much in charge of all of that and kept busy, so they hired a niece to do the Route 15 flea market on Sun- days. Stan continued to work the farmer’s market on Wednesdays and still manned the lot in Northumberland.

at their lot in Northumberland and a total of two at home. Nancy’s mother and sister started helping to make wreaths on the week- ends, and Stan was able to take branches along down to the lot in Northumberland to make more wreaths. In between customers he would sit in an old camping trailer and make wreaths while waiting for customers to stop by. Drilling the holes in the bottom of the tree made it much easier to set them up on the lot for display. It made the trees look like they were plant- ed there and people could look all the way around them. Prior to buying his own farm, Stan had planted 5,000 trees at his parent’s farm in Northum- berland. Those trees were now ready to cut, but they still had to buy many more trees.

By 2001 it was more than a little apparent to Nancy that making wreaths in the garage was not a great idea. While walking through

The Kohls decided to take their business “on the

Stan Kohl, owner of Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm.


Construction on the Christmas Shoppe allowed for the family business to greatly expand!

the garage, they constantly got needles stuck to their shoes and they followed you right into the house. Another change was need- ed to keep family peace, so a new building was built in 2002. It was a 5,000 square-foot building with two levels shaped to look like an antique barn in which the wreaths were made. But to pay for this building, they needed something more - so in came ornaments! They were able to purchase about 1,000 ornaments the first year and actually displayed many of those on a real blue spruce Christ- mas tree in the new building. Customers were very happy with the new look of the farm and the choose-and-cut started to take off. Stan continued to cut and haul trees to the Northumberland lot and spent many hours working there. In 2003, the Kohls started finding Christmas shows to go to and began purchasing even more ornaments. They still only had the first floor of the Christmas shop ready for customers and needed more space. They purchased about 4,000 ornaments by Christ- mastime in 2003. In 2004 they got the second floor of the Christ- mas shop ready to use and expanded the inventory into three quarters of the second floor while using a small room upstairs mainly for storage. They continue to expand their inventory and purchased more fake trees for ornament displays. The customers enjoyed the ornaments better and the fact that they could be sep- arated by category was a big help. The farm’s philosophy, which continues today, is that they are constantly adding more catego- ries and more varieties of ornaments. With the farm being a bit out of the way, along a back country road, they want to make it worthwhile for customers to come to shop at their Christmas shop. During the Christmas season of 2005, Stan’s father passed away from cancer. This was a huge setback for the farm in that he helped with many of the tasks like going to the Lewisburg Farm- er’s Market and manning the stand in Northumberland. He had been very instrumental in helping do a lot of the construction on the Christmas shop as well. Three years later, it became appar- ent that Stan was not going to be able to maintain both the lot in Northumberland and continue to grow his customer base at his farm near Washingtonville. Because of this, the 2008 season marked the last season to have trees in Northumberland. Folks still tell Stan how much his father and grandfather would help them, and how they really enjoyed going to the Northumberland lot.

Once he gave up the lot in Northumberland, he had more time to focus on expanding what was going on at the home farm. He continued building an inventory of pre-cut trees, turning it into one of the biggest selections around. People could either pick through the pre-cut trees or go into the field to pick and cut their own tree as a family, and enjoy the whole experience. This was when the choose-and-cut really took off. By 2010, the inventory in the Christmas shop had grown so much that they had to clear out the storeroom upstairs and make that into a showroom, and it did not take long to fill that. By 2012 the inventory was over 30,000 ornaments and a need to expand again arose. They added an additional 7,000 ft. to the Christmas shop which allowed them to greatly increase inventory, add custom- er bathrooms, and ramp access to the second floor for handicap accessibility. They attended different Christmas shows including Philadelphia and Atlanta to purchase ornaments. This was done in the winter- time shortly after Christmas and then the ornaments they pur- chased would be shipped to the farm starting in May or June.


TOP: An aerial shot of the farm, taken during the summer of 2011. RIGHT: Another aerial of the farm, looking northeast. BOTTOM: A family finds the perfect tree in the choose & cut section of the farm.

Another huge addition to the farm happened in 2013 when they added a corn maze. The main reason for the corn maze was to help draw people in to enjoy the Christmas shop and tree farm. The Kohl family enjoyed going to other local mazes over the years and thought adding a maze of their own would be a wonderful way to bring families to their farm. By 2016, business was booming, so they started building an online store to offer Christmas ornaments to those who were unable to visit the shop in person. They had to assign locations to every orna- ment in the Christmas shop so when an order came in, they were able to locate it quickly and ship it out. One would think that would


be a relatively simple process but with an inventory at this point of over 100,000 ornaments, it’s no simple task!

Over time, Stan decided that he wanted his Christmas Tree Farm to become world famous, so he decided to seek a world record for a Christmas tree stand collection. Stan had started collect- ing in 2005. By the time he broke the Guinness World Record in 2018, he had amassed over 1,200 different styles and types of Christmas tree stands, ranging from the late 1800s to current day stands. These stands are on display today in the Christmas shop. The official world record is listed here: https://www.guinness- of-christmas-tree-stands. Today, they continue to maintain over 100,000 ornaments in their inventory and are working on regulating hours for the Christmas shop year-round. Over the years they have had many things to help expand their business such as Easter egg hunts, Santa appearances, participating in parades around the area, and maintaining an annual display at the nearby Montour DeLong fair. However, one of their favorite projects for the farm has been making wreaths for “Wreaths for Warriors”, a program that places wreaths on veterans’ headstones. Over the years they have been featured by different news outlets, radio, TV, local newspapers, and many other organizations that helped spread the word about this remarkable farm. If you’d like to learn more about the farm, upcoming events and activities, or peruse their online store for Christmas ornaments, please visit . •

There is truly an ornament for anything you can possibly imagine at the Christmas Shoppe!









Member Spotlight The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau is proud to welcome the following businesses as recent new members to the organization!

bloomsburg singers Bloomsburg, PA 17815 • 570.336.3928

The Bloomsburg Singers is a 50-member auditioned chorus of talented adults and stu- dents in the Bloomsburg area. The singers perform spring and fall concerts locally and tour in the summer.

cellular sales 90N MacDade Boulevard, Glenolden, PA 19036 • 484.497.5500 Verizon products & services.


Member Spotlight The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau is proud to welcome the following businesses as recent new members to the organization!

gracie ’ s lavender farm 119 Independent Street, Catawissa, PA 17820 • 570.285.5565

A small farm specializing in culinary lavender. Experience a unique opportunity to visit the farm and pick your own lavender during the months of June and July.

green ’ s fruit farm 574 Sleepy Hollow Road, Elysburg, PA 17824 • 570.485.3086

Family Owned and operated, Green’s Fruit Farm strives to integrate cutting-edge science with time-honored traditions in order to build resilient agroecosystems and communities.

historic orangeville train station association 41 Railroad Street, Orangeville, PA 17859 570.317.7256

Our association is dedicated to the preservation of local history, especially the once-es- sential Bloomsburg & Sullivan Railroad Line. Our museum will showcase authentic memorabilia from the era when the B&S was king. Columbia County and Orangeville history will be honored, along with the local influential history makers.

rod ’ s fish - n - rib house 5861 Columbia Boulevard, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 272.203.4137

Step back in time to 50’s style eating, featuring our fabulous Ribs, AYCE Hand Battered Fish and hand-cut fries, and old fashion sour buckwheat cakes. We also have a great pie and ice cream menu. Coming soon - another running train!


Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36

Powered by