|While the dams and water treatment plant at Tumbling Run are not within the geographical borders of Schuylkill Haven, there is a
direct link. In the early 1940's the borough purchased the dams for $100,000. These dams with the adjacent water treatment plant,
supply our borough with water. A history and other information along with pictures of Tumbling Run will be presented here.
|Below are three articles from the Pottsville Republican surrounding a mysterious case that occurred at Tumbling Run in
January 1907. Read all three and enjoy the sensationalism and style of the news reporting of the period.
January 12, 1907
|Complete mystery surrounds the finding of
a trail of blood and a tuft of woman's hair
dam public are unable to determine
whether the suspicious circumstances are
the result of a tragedy performed there
late Thursday night or whether it is a
practical joke or perhaps some ordinary
circumstance which will later be
explained. The rumor of a woman being
murdered and her head found along the
bank of the lake came to Pottsville late
yesterday afternoon and Chief of Police
Davies with Officers Graeff and Spencer
drove to the Run where they made an
They found a pool of blood in the rear of
the Newport boat house and bloodstains
on the doorknob. From there the trail of
blood led to near the dancing pavilion
where a carriage had been standing. The
carriage wheels were tracked out the
road, across the bridge where the creek
enters the cove and then down to Sandy
Beach where the carriage stopped and
turned around. Blood stains served to
lead the officers to a point along the dam
on the far side where, between the
Conrad and Whalen boat houses there
was evidence of some heavy body having
been placed on the ground. Blood was
found on the dead leaves and pine
needles. A tuft of long hair, auburn in
color, was found lying at the same spot.
The circumstances gave rise to the belief
that a woman had been murdered, carried
to the far side of the dam and then thrown
in the water. Henry Reichert made the
discovery and William Falls who is acting
as watchman at a number of boathouses at
the Run, states that he heard a carriage
pass along the road about midnight
The murder theory is discounted by the
fact that the hair found had the
appearance of having been combed from
the head and rolled into a ball. The water
at the point where the supposed body was
thrown is not more then three feet in
depth for a distance of 30 feet from the
There is no one reported to be missing as
far as the "Republican" has been able to
ascertain and the general sentiment is
that there has been no tragedy but of
course the real facts are not known. The
case will bear full investigation.
No New Developments
There were no new developments in the
case today and late this afternoon the
case remained as complete a mystery as
ever. Local officers did not investigate
the case today and no thorough search
was made for the body. This is entirely
outside the jurisdiction of Pottsville
officers and no others have taken up the
case. This is but another example of the
premium placed on crime in this county.
There is no standing reward for the
capture of murderers and no incentive for
ferreting out suspicious cases. No man
feels like devoting a day and perhaps
many days of his time for the small amount
of glory which will be thereby reaped.
WOMAN IS DOG
January 14, 1907
|The alleged murder at Tumbling
Run may be no more than the
wails of some poor unfortunate
injured dog according to the story
of Rural Mail Carrier DeNapoli who
is convinced that the Tumbling
Run sensation is more of a
comedy then a tragedy.
According to DeNapoli on
Thursday he heard a dog yelping
on the mountain side on the far
side of the dam and then saw him
go limping along the edge of the
dam to the bridge and then down
the road stopping several times
to lick his wound and to gather
the strength which appeared to
be ebbing away from the great
amount of lost blood.
The dog traveled the same course
that the murdered woman is
supposed to have been dragged
but he went the opposite
direction from which theory
carried the woman and there was
no carriage in waiting to help him
Yesterday a large number of
people plodded through the mud
to the Run to take a look at the
scene of the supposed crime and
to endeavor to see some of the
blood. They were able to see the
scenery all right but sorry to
relate the blood had disappeared
under the influence of the rain
The explanation of DeNapoli is not
accepted by many who believe
that there was entirely too much
blood to have come from a dog,
even a large dog. On the other
hand the murder story is scoffed
at by the majority of people who,
remembering that Thursday night
was cold and particularly cold at
the Run, the ground too hard
frozen to have left the imprints of
The members of the Newport boat
house club do not relish the
notoriety they have gained by the
blood tracks leading to near their
house and the stories that have
been in circulation that the body
of the dead woman was found in
their house with her throat cut
from ear to ear. The members of
the club have always enjoyed the
utmost respect of the community
and no suspicion is in the
slightest degree attached to them
by any one who knows anything of
the case in question.
|WAS NO MURDER
January 15, 1907
|Local authorities have decided to
abandon their inquiries of the rumored
murder at Tumbling Run Thursday night
and instead bend their efforts to ascertain
of suspicious characters or circumstances
on Monday night of last week. It has been
learned that the blood trail was seen on
Tuesday just as clear as it was on the day
that the mysterious circumstance was
Rural Mail Carrier DeNapoli states that he
saw the spots of blood on Tuesday while
passing along the road to deliver mail
over his route. He denies the story that
he saw a wounded dog skirting the dam
and the dog story is now attributed to
another or perhaps was simply one of the
many false stories in circulation since the
town became excited over the
Rumors are flying around thick and fast
and rumor has discovered the dead body
of a woman at a half dozen places at the
Run. It has been fished up out of the
water so badly swollen that it could not be
recognized; it has been found in different
boat houses with throat cut from ear to
ear and with skull crushed to a pulp and it
has also been found along the mountain
side, if one is to believe the many stories
which are constantly afloat.
Chief of Police Davies was desirous of
making an exhaustive investigation but on
account of illness he has been prevented
by his physician from working in the mud,
rain and water to glean any further facts
which might be learned.
|Always a scenic spot, Tumbling Run's twin dams were built as a water supply for the Schuylkill Canal. The lower dam broke during the
flood of 1850, carrying away homes in Mount Carbon and destroying roads and railroad tracks south to Schuylkill Haven. The park
itself was generally in operation between 1890 and 1914. Tumbling Run's amusement park centered in the area of the upper dam and
consisted of a hotel, theater, dance pavilion, amusement hall, roller coaster and a skating rink. President Ulysses S. Grant was often
a guest of the hotel. On the hill behind the hotel, a baseball park hosted teams from the Atlantic League. About sixty boat houses
lined the eastern and northern shore of the upper dam. A steam boat provided nickel rides around the lake.
Trolley cars were kept busy in the late 1890's and early 1900's transporting residents to Tumbling Run with an in season schedule of
every ten minutes. Construction of the trolley line in 1891 marked the beginning of Tumbling Run's golden era. By 1908, more then
750,000 people visited the park during the three month summer season.
In 1912 the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, which used the dams to supply collieries during droughts banned
swimming. In 1913 it ordered the boat houses closed and by 1914 the resort was near abandonment. The decaying hotel and the
skeleton of the roller coaster remained for years afterward but were eventually erased during a reforestation program. In 1919 the
carousel was taken to Willow Lake in Schuylkill Haven and by then all other buildings had been razed.
While rather short lived, Tumbling Run as a resort had experienced a successful time. Remnants of building foundations are all that
remain of the once impressive park. The dams now serve as a domestic water supply for our town.
|Images on left and right show trolley transportation as it went to Tumbling Run. In the center is a picture of the trolley landing where
visitors arrived and departed.
|These four postcards are representative of the buildings at the Tumbling Run resort and lake.
|Perhaps the night resembled this
setting when a woman was
murdered, a dog spent it's waning
hours or absolutely nothing
occurred at Tumbling Run in
|As stated above, as many as sixty boat houses lined the shoreline of the upper dam at Tumbling
Run. Following are articles on various topics effecting that facet at Tumbling Run.
|The Nellie Bly Club's Day
May 15, 1890
|Between 1 and 2 o'clock this afternoon the
Nellie Bly Boat Club and a large number of
guests, headed by the Third Brigade Band,
loosed their moorings at their headquarters,
"Stixey" Michael's restaurant, and marched to
Tumbling Run, where they spent the afternoon
in aquatic sports and dedicating their
handsome new boat house. The members of
the club wore light caps of many colors, linen
dusters - the latter to keep off the mud - and
each blue badges inscribed with the name of
the club, while each guest was supplied with a
white souvenir badge.
|Tumbling Run Navy
May 16, 1890
|The Third Brigade Band dispensed sweet music yesterday afternoon at the
Nellie Bly boat house, while the Tumbling Run navy disported itself over the
smooth surface of the dam. It being the dedication day of the handsome new
boat house of the club, all the neighboring clubs threw open their houses and
placed their craft at the disposal of the "Nellie Bly" and their guests. The new
house was gaily decorated with flags and bunting and the hospitality of its
larder was unstinted during all the afternoon and evening. Steward Schneider
furnished the locker with an abundance of knockwurst and cured meats of
various kinds, in addition to which was everything usually found on a well
regulated collation table, and Bench Miller did the graceful as waiter. All the
officers and members of the club did their best to amuse their guests and
succeeded while enjoying themselves at the same time. The "Nellie Bly" is now
in full commission for the season.
|There were a multitude of activities available at Tumbling Run Park. Above are two scenes from the campground and below are
pictures of the bath house with sliding board for swimmers and a place called the Pleasure Pavilion.
|Above left is the Midway at the park and on the right is the carousel. Both images are much clearer if clicked on and zoomed. Below
is the dancing pavilion which was very popular in its day.
|Pottsville Republican of March 16, 1907
A NEW THEATRE AT TUMBLING RUN
Work has now been started on the new theatre at Tumbling Run, as a force of men are tearing out the interior and remodeling it
extensively. The position of the stage will be changed to it's location when the theatre was first built. This will give a much larger
seating capacity. Additional chairs will be placed in the pavilion and the stage enlarged. The entire interior will be changed and
greatly improved in appearance. It is also intended to in the course of the next few weeks build an addition of sixty feet in length of
the pavilion for dancing and roller skating. This will make it an ideal place, especially for the skating, which has grown in such favor
that the present size is not adequate to accommodate the crowds.
Manager De Cato, of the Tumbling Run Park, has a number of improvements in store for the patrons and these will be on an
extensive scale. Amusements of all kinds found at the leading resorts and parks will be installed at the Run, while high class
vaudeville will be secured. Mr. De Cato is manager of the Woodland park in New Jersey, the Tumbling Run and Manila Grove parks,
so that with this circuit of three we will have a great advantage in securing the very best for all three.
The Traction Company intends to next month erect a large rustic pavilion on the hill near the site of the one used as a grandstand.
This will be for the accommodation of picnic parties who are without boat houses. Special efforts will be made to have excursions run
to this place from various sections of the state and a most thriving season is expected for the park.
|Further up the valley in the watershed of Tumbling Run, the creek that fills the dams is crossed by a small bridge. These views show
the bridge one hundred years ago.
|Steam powered boats such as those seen here plied the waters of the upper dam filled with tourists. These views are better seen by
zooming in on the pictures.
|Those so inclined could travel the dam in canoes as seen here. These pictures are better seen by zooming as above.
|While most activity occurred at the upper dam, views of the lower dam exist. Note the hillside farm on the left image.
|Pottsville Republican of April 27, 1907
TUMBLING RUN WAVELETS
The Sunday schools of town are taking up the question of whether it would not be more satisfactory to hold their picnics at this place
during the summer owing to the fact that no intoxicants are sold at the hotel and also that the Pottsville Union Traction Company are
offering inducements to parties of this kind by placing many new conveniences for the use of patrons. It is pleasing to town that
anxious parents will be glad to allow their children to go as the former grounds at Adamsdale was considered too long a ride after a
strenuous day in the woods.
Boat house owners are considering employing a permanent patrol to protect their properties. During the winter previously inclined
persons have shot hundreds of holes into valuable property and also smashed fine glassware and dishes inside the houses. Many
other vandalous acts have been perpetrated and a permanent patrol all the year round is expected to be the outcome.
|The Pottsville Republican of May 15, 1907
LIFE GUARDS TO BE RECRUITED
H. C. Reichart, who for the past two years has been making efforts to have a U. S. life saving station located at Tumbling Run, has
received word from the U. S. Volunteer Life saving Corps, with headquarters at New York, enclosing blank enrollment forms for him
to fill in the names of those swimmers who desire to become a branch of the volunteer corps at this resort. G. A. Thorman, the
general organizer, writes that no funds can be provided at the present, but this need be no detriment to the establishment of a
branch of the work at once. Should enough good swimmers be secured to form a division, the local corps would become actual
members and become entitled to all the privileges of active members-literature, membership buttons, and commissions of
Mr. Reichart has given a great deal of his time to establish a life saving station at the Run, and now that he has it well under way and
has succeeded in getting official recognition, it is up to the people to help the move along as much as they can possibly do. Almost
every year one or more persons are drowned at this popular resort who might be saved if an organization of this kind is established.
Mr. Reichart, who is one of the most expert swimmers in this section, says that he will give exhibitions of swimming, diving and life
saving and military drills at the Run during the summer if the local station is established. A comparatively small amount is needed.
|The following newspaper articles represent the constant
danger at Tumbling Run as related to numerous drownings.
|The Pottsville Republican of June 26, 1909
TUMBLING RUN SIGHT OF DOUBLE DROWNING
Tumbling Run was the scene of the first drowning accident of the season on Saturday afternoon, when Clarence Schuster gave his
life in vain to save Clarence Penn, a colored boy, from drowning, both boys going down. The two boys in company with Robert
Keller, Herman Schoenfelder, George Lord and George Delong, all members of a baseball team left town shortly after 2 o'clock to go
to the Run for a swim, arriving there shortly before 3 o'clock. Young Penn who could not swim was one of the first to go in. While he
was wading around close to shore the other boys, all good swimmers, got undressed and went in. They had only been in the water
several minutes, when Penn called for help. Schuster, being the nearest went to his assistance and was caught around the ankles by
Penn and pulled down. According to the statement of one of the boys, Penn did not come to the surface the second time, but
Schuster's head did, and when it did an attempt was made to grab hold of his hair, but the weight of the colored boy evidently pulled
him down again. Delong remained on the scene for a short time while Keller and Schoenfelder ran towards the boat houses and
sounded an alarm, Lord coming to Pottsville and giving the alarm here. Two boats were soon taken to the scene of the accident, one
boat containing John Joyce, Richard Scott and John Graney, the other boat containing George Garrett, Thomas Phillips and John
Grappling hooks were brought into service, and at 4:32 the boat manned by Joyce brought up the body of Schuster, the hooks
catching him under the knee. Exactly at five o'clock the same crew pulled up the body of Penn, the hooks catching him around the
foot. Both bodies were laid along the bank near the scene of the accident, where they were viewed by Deputy Coroner O. J. Carlin,
who directed their removal. The bodies were taken in charge by J. C. Heiken and Son, rowed across the dam and brought to
Pottsville, arriving here at six o'clock. The scene of the accident was on the opposite side of the lower Tumbling Run Dam, from the
trolley tracks, and midway between the two breasts. At this point the bank takes a sudden pitch and it is thought that Penn missed
his footing and went down. Both bodies were recovered about 20 feet from shore and in exactly the same location, showing that
they both went down together and rolled some distance after being down.
The Victims of the Accident
Clarence Schuster was the son of Peter and Alice Schuster and was born in St. Clair sixteen years ago moving to Pottsville fifteen
years ago. The young hero was a bright lad, being a scholar at St. Patrick's Parochial School. The mother is on the verge of nervous
prostration and is under the doctor's care.
Clarence Penn, son of John and Bertha Penn, was born in Washington D. C. 17 years ago moving to Pottsville fifteen years ago. He
was industrious and well liked taught in the school at Bunker Hill.
|The advertisement at left appeared in the Pottsville
Republican on May 28, 1907 to announce the
beginning of the summer season. The article below
also appeared in that day's paper touting the event.
OF TUMBLING RUN
Tumbling Run was formally opened yesterday for the
season of 1907 when several hundred invited guests
of the management assembled there as the guests of
the Association where they heard the concert of the
Philharmonic Band of Reading, enjoyed a fine supper
by Landlord Schappell and applauded the splendid
entertainment which will be given every evening this
week in the amusement pavilion.
The weather was decidedly against a popular
outpouring of pleasure seekers and that so many
braved the pneumonia breeding weather must have
been a source of much encouragement to the
Association, which is going to so much expense to
make this resort far more popular then it has ever
After an inspection of the grounds the visitors were
shown into the hotel where many additional
improvements were found to have been made since
last summer. This pretty place is now most inviting to
all and promises to become popular as a place for
holding banquets and special gatherings of various
kinds during the summer.
In the evening the entertainment was further
continued by the guests being ushered into the
amusement pavilion where a high class vaudeville
performance was given.
|These two views show the road along the Tumbling Run dams. The dress of the visitors reveals the fact that these images are one
hundred years old.
|Pottsville Republican of May 14, 1917
Frank Meister Tumbling Run Dam Murder Suspected
The lifeless body of Frank Meister, 26 years old, of town was found floating on the water at the upper dam at Tumbling Run, near the
Defender boathouse on Monday morning shortly before eight o'clock by Anthony Blum and James Buckley, the latter watchman at the
park. They pulled the body to shore and notified the state police and coroner's office. Sergeant Smith, Coroner Moore and Deputy
Coroner Heller made an investigation and decided that an autopsy be held, the death being a suspicious one, according to the views
of all three.
Blum was walking along the road above the boathouses and saw the body of a man floating on the water. Sergeant Smith arrived in a
half hour and upon searching the man found books showing that he was a member of the American Hose Company, the O. of I. A. and
the Odd Fellows. His name was written in the books. He joined the Odd Fellows on March 12 and there was a watch found on his
person together with a receipt of April 12. Meister has been missing from home since April 14th. He was employed at the Eastern
Steel Mill and on that date got his pay and when he left home said he was going to work. That was the last seen of him alive. Later he
was thought to have gone to Reading and the folks were daily awaiting a letter from him.
When found, Meister who was five feet five inches in height, wore a dark suit with a striped shirt, the way he was dressed when he
left home. His money that he drew as pay is gone and this fact together with the fact that he has a deep hole in the back of his head,
his face was badly marked and there are several marks about his body lead the authorities to believe that he may have met with foul
play. At any rate the case is a mystery and the police are trying to strengthen their belief that he was dealt a blow then thrown in the
water to hide the crime.
When taken from the water the usual test as given a man supposed to have drowned was given him but very little water turned up
and this led to a closer investigation, the marks being then discovered on his head and face. Meister is a son of Frank Meister of
town and is well known here. He was a man of mild temperament and his habits were as such as to assure the police that he was not
|Pottsville Republican of September 4, 1913
ALL BOAT HOUSES ORDERED CLOSED
Consternation seized boathouse owners, Thursday morning, when they received notices from the Land department of the P and R C
and I Company directing them to close their boathouses immediately and what is more to the point, it was said that a police patrol is
seeing to it that orders are carried out to the letter.
Of course, there will be little inconvenience suffered, as the Traction Company will not run any cars to or from the Run regularly
every half hour after next Sunday and with no cars running the beautiful nook in the valley will lose its charm.
It is rumored too that fishing is to be stopped - in fact, our informant went so far as to state that the police have orders to prevent
fishing and the rumor went further then that, too, that the order to shut up the boathouses merely is the fist in a series of orders that
will "bottle up" the run against all boathouses, without exception, but that idea is opposed stoutly in some official circles.
Tumbling Run Lake water was condemned for drinking purposes by the State Department of Health a year ago and if it is to be
restored to its purity, something must be done. In reference to the closing of the boathouses, there is one consolation for the
harassed owners, and that is, "everybody's doing it", as a witty person remarked when the order was under discussion.
|Pottsville Republican of May 14, 1917
TUMBLING RUN SHOULD BE RESTORED
Those movements so suspiciously begun to have Tumbling Run restored to Pottsville and vicinity as a public park have all strangely
and unexplainable been forgotten. Men who emphatically endorsed the movements and were placed in the needs of various
committees to take steps to bring about the return of this summer resort have rather easily given up the task set before them, with
little more explanation than that the place was owned by the Reading Company and the Reading Company officials were unwilling to
have it restored to the status of a summer resort.
All these things were known long before any movements were suggested so that as far as the public is informed no new reasons
have ever been presented by any of these committees as to why this fine body of water should be kept useless at Tumbling Run,
resulting in the effectual confiscation of the property of individuals there and robbing the people of this section of one of the finest
summer resorts to be found in inland Pennsylvania.
At the present time it is doubly desirable that Pottsville should have Tumbling Run restored and we trust that some of our
organizations will speedily take up the matter, investigate thoroughly, engage the services of an able attorney, who cannot be
overawed by corporation power and set to work to have Tumbling Run restored to the people of Pottsville as a place for boating, a
place for bathing, a place for fishing and a place for general recreation.
It is a crime upon the people to be deprived of this wonderful place when it serves no good purpose whatever to drive them off. It is
a wastefulness which is criminal and evinces the old time corporation demonstration of autocratic power which years ago was
periodically manifested to keep the public in subjection. Times have changed. The modern corporations have come to realize that
they are merely the children of the people, not the czar or kaiser of them and as a result there has been a vast improvement in
relations between them and the public.
The spirit of the times is for the corporations to desist in the policy of hogging it, particularly when such policy does not return
dividends. In olden times corporations held communities in subjection because they comprised the greatest employing agencies of
such communities and used the influence they were able to create. Theses conditions are disappearing almost everywhere. The
policy of the modern corporation is to work in harmony with the community and for the benefit of such and we hop that the Reading
Company will see that it is detrimental to its own well being as well as detrimental to the interests of the people to continue to play
the dog in the manger act with reference to Tumbling Run. Let us have a demonstration of patriotism on the part of the company
which will result in restoring the old conditions at Tumbling Run this summer.
|All rights reserved.
|Pottsville Republican of November 29, 1909
TUMBLING RUN WATER TO KEEP COLLIERIES AT WORK
A few more weeks of the present dry spell will turn Schuylkill County upside down as the time is now approaching when we will
appreciate the value of water as we have never before done and the entire hope of this section of the county rests on the Tumbling
Run dams, which are the only reservoirs which today are filled to the brim. Not only will the collieries soon be obliged to depend
almost entirely upon these dams but the Pottsville consumers may also fall back upon them as their sole water source.
Almost every day a colliery here or there is obliged to close down on account of no water and as the days pass on those which are
still at work see the time for such work gradually growing shorter. But as stated Tumbling Run gives a ray of hope in this section as
arrangements are now being made to connect these two big dams with the P & R Collieries of the Pottsville District. For weeks work
has been in progress on the construction of an eight mile water main from Wadesville, out through the Heckschersville Valley and to
the collieries at Newtown, Branchdale and Phoenix Park. The task is a big one and a few years ago would have been considered
nonsensical, but with the experiences of last summer and this summer and fall it is conceded to be the very wisest move which is
possible under existing conditions.
With the completion of the line it will be possible to draw upon Tumbling Run to supply the collieries at Wade, the Heckschersville
Valley and the West End and two or three weeks will find a necessity for drawing upon the water at this famous summer resort.
About two years ago, a pipeline was laid from Silver Creek to Wadesville, that the colliery at the latter point, which had very poor
water facilities, might be able to work without interruption when water was scarce. The Palo Alto reservoir which supplies the
engines at that point with water is also maintained through pipe line connections with Silver Creek and by this means, Wadesville and
Palo Alto are connected. Work is now in progress to connect Palo Alto with Tumbling Run. A twelve inch main is now being laid for
this purpose and will shortly be completed. This will allow the supply to the Palo Alto dam from Silver Creek being cut off and Palo
Alto being supplied entirely for the time being with Tumbling Run water. This will necessitate the installation of a small pumping
station. But the water system is to be extended much further than this. West from Pottsville and also from the Wadesville end gangs
of workmen are working seven days a week to complete the eight miles of pipe which is being laid and which when completed will
connect the West End and Heckschersville Valley collieries with Silver Creek.
At present the Silver Creek dam is in good shape, considering the small water shed and the great demands which have been made
upon it, but when the pipeline is completed and the demand upon it many times greater it will not be able to hold up long under the
pressure. The Rohrsville dam at the head of the Heckschersville Valley which has been supplying the collieries in the
Heckschersville Valley, has not been exhausted, and in order to give the people of that valley a supply for domestic purposes the
company has shut off the use of the water of this reservoir for colliery purposes and instead water is being hauled.
But this haulage system is both expensive and unsatisfactory and it has been found impossible to keep some of the collieries
working full time. Even the mine water is giving out and where it is usually one of the expenses of mining to keep the inside workings
pumped free of water, no pumping is now being done and the breakers are without this supply of mine water which was used for
washing purposes. Never before has the situation been so troublesome to the colliery officials.
The new pipe line in course of construction, it is estimated, will cost close onto $100,000 before it is finally finished. It seems like a
prohibitive figure but when it is taken into consideration that thousands of dollars are being spent each week in this section for
hauling water to the collieries, the expense is justified and when it is completed will soon pay for itself.
With it completed there will be three sources of supply – Rohrsville with its big shed but small reservoir, Silver Creek with its big
reservoir but small shed and Tumbling Run with its big shed and big reservoirs. By combining the supply of the three it is believed
that al future danger of water famine will be averted.
Tumbling Run will not be drawn upon however, except in case of distress, as it is lower then Wadesville and will require a good size
pumping station to force the water up to the Wadesville level.
But there is danger that the Water Company will find itself obliged to shut off its supply to the various industries of town, the electric
roads, the factories, etc and in such an emergency it will be necessary for them to either provide for hauling their own or else make
arrangements to get a supply from Tumbling Run. In the event of more serious trouble it may be necessary for the town to become
dependent upon Tumbling Run and with this great drain, even these overflowing dams may be unable to stand the strain, especially
in view of the fact that the Tumbling Run stream has dried up to a mere small stream.
If conditions should arise demanding it, it is possible to have all industries closed in order that the water may be given for domestic
use, but as plenty of water without any work will be a worse condition than work and little water, it is not likely that such a
contingency will arise.
|Pottsville Republican of February 9, 1945
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN MAY BUY TUMBLING RUN
Negotiations are said to be in the final stages for the purchase of Tumbling Run water rights by the borough of Schuylkill Haven. The
borough reservoir is inadequate and large purchases of water are necessary from the Pottsville Water Company. Schuylkill Haven
now owns its own electric light plant.
|Pottsville Republican of February 17, 1902
TUMBLING RUN CHANGES HANDS
The Tumbling Run property, land and all the buildings located on it has passed from the hands of L. W. Weissinger and is now the
property of R. E. Lee, junior member of the firm of Lee brothers, the Market Street grocers. It is not known what figure was paid, but
as the owner recently refused an offer of $40,000, it must have been close onto the half hundred mark. With the change of the
ownership of the property will also come a change in the manner of conducting it. Extensive improvements will be made in the hotel
and surrounding buildings and grounds. It will be made an entirely different place and the change will be a welcome one as it will be
in the way of a decided improvement. The property purchased consists of about twelve acres of land embracing the buildings now
used for amusements.
The new owner has had this purchase in view for some time and has already mapped out extensive improvements to make Tumbling
Run the pleasure resort that it should be. The hotel will be remodeled. Another story will be added, large verandas will encircle
each story and a first class summer hotel conducted. The bar will be removed entirely from the building and the first floor remodeled
as to make a large up to date and handsomely furnished dining room and parlor. A caterer will be secured from the city to take
charge of this department and Mr. Lee promises to serve dinners second to none at large hotels at summer resorts and in the large
cities. When these improvements are made there should be no more popular summer resort in the state. The dancing pavilion will
also be remodeled and the bar probably located where the pool rooms and bowling allies now are.
Another feature of Tumbling Run which for long has been neglected is the picnic grounds. The groves have been left uncared for
and no effort was made to accommodate picnic parties, but now, however, special attention will be paid to this.
Special attractions will be found at the Run nightly in the shape of bands, orchestras and other concerts. In winter when there is ice
on the dam there will be skating, skating carnivals and music and no end of amusement.
It is understood that the Traction Company have under consideration the advisability of building a baseball ground at the Run.
These improvements are not mythical but are they simply conjectures of what may be done in the future but will be found to be
established facts before the summer season is opened at the popular resort. Mr. Lee will organize a Tumbling Run Improvement
Association and the place will soon gain a reputation as one of the leading summer resorts in the state.
|Pottsville Republican of September 13, 1907
P & R PURCHASE AT TUMBLING RUN
In order to own all the land surrounding the Tumbling Run dam, the P & R Company has purchased the large field, formerly owned by
C. H. Woltjen, and which was sold to the Eastern Railways Company in the early part of this year. This includes all of the 100 acre
purchase with the exception of the ground on which is located the Tumbling Run Hotel and the baseball park, which will continue in
the ownership of the trolley company on account of the interests in these two important features of the Tumbling Run Park. This is
what comes to the "Republican" from a seemingly responsible source, but it is not corroborated by the trolley officials here.
The purchase price of this big tract of land was $12,000 and was made originally for the purpose of building a baseball park. The
remaining portion of the field could not be used to any advantage which would justify holding it, so that the rumor is quite within
reason in this respect. The P & R now owns the land on which is built the boat houses at the upper dam, while all the other
surrounding is in its possession. With these interest it is but natural that they should desire to secure control of the entire
watershed and exercise a supervision which would prevent the use of the ground for any purpose which they might deem
detrimental to their property or interests. It may be possible that at some future time the water may be used for drinking purposes
and in this event the company would again need control of the adjoining watersheds.
|This aerial view displays the Water
Treatment Plant at Tumbling Run which
today provides our water supply. My late
father, Richard L. Nagle, was
superintendent of the treatment plant for
many years prior to his retirement in 1996.
The first fatality which has occurred in the lake at Tumbling Run in several years occurred Saturday afternoon when Harry Moyer, a
young man from Shenandoah, was drowned as a result of rocking a boat while rowing about in the middle of the dam. Two
companions, James Needs of Tamaqua and John Wirt of Shenandoah, were in the boat with him at the time, but they succeeded in
catching hold of the sides of the upturned boat and clung on until they were rescued by a party from the Myrtle boat house. The
unfortunate young man was but nineteen years of age and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Moyer. He was employed by D. and J.
Siegel, furniture dealers of Shenandoah. His parents were visiting friends in Mount Carmel yesterday, but his brother and sister
were notified at Shenandoah and the former came to Pottsville and took the remains home on the 7:05 Pennsy train.
The three young men came to Pottsville Saturday morning to spend the day and soon after arriving here they went to the Run. After
dinner it was proposed that they take a boat ride and they hired a boat at the pier, laughingly making the remark to some friends on
shore that they were going to be drowned. They had not been rowing long when Moyer it is said, commenced to rock the boat. This
occurred about half way down toward the breast and near the far shore. The water is about forty feet deep at this point, but like many
other visitors they imagined that the water was shallow. With numerous boats in sight and the shore not far away, the rocking was
continued until finally the boat was upset and the three were precipitated in the water.
Several different parties saw them from the boat house porches, but all thought it was a party of bathers in the water who were
having some fun with the boat. But it was not long before the seriousness of the affair dawned upon all and several boats were put
out to their rescue.
Wirt was the only member of the party who could swim although Moyer had told his companions that he was an experienced
swimmer. When the boat upset, they all made a scramble to catch the sides but it slipped from their grasp. Wirt with a few strokes
again reached the side of the boat and then turning around saw Needs near him going down for the second time. He reached out
and caught him by the collar and drew him towards the boat until both had a secure hold. He then looked around for Moyer, but that
unfortunate young man was nowhere in sight as he had gone down for the last time.
In the meantime boats had been put out from several of the boat houses, but the Myrtle Club was first to the rescue. William Bray,
David Thomas and William Frizzle were in the boat and they lifted the two almost exhausted young men from the water into their boat.
They were then taken to the Myrtle boat house where they were attired in dry clothing. Grappling hooks were secured and for four
hours they grappled for the body before Robert Schoener and Jacob Scheafer finally succeeded in getting the grappling iron
fastened in the unfortunate young man's coat sleeve and pulled him to the surface.
Coroner Gillars empanelled the following jury: F. C. Reese, frank Fessler, Frank Sterling, Robert Schoener, Frank Frizzle and Jacob
Scheafer. They returned a verdict of accidental drowning.
The remains were taken in charge by J. C. Heiken, who shipped the body to Shenandoah. Besides his parents he is survived by his
sister, Mrs. Thomas Evans, Mount Carmel, and brother George and sisters Maud and Nattie at home.
|Pottsville Republican on January 7, 1918.
HEX CAT MAN IS FROZEN TO DEATH
W. S. Thomas of the Tumbling Run valley, widely known throughout the state as the originator of the famous "Hex Cat" episode of
several years ago and since that time a self imposed hermit in a little shack in that valley, was found dead from exposure in the
building on Saturday evening, by a farmer. He had evidently been dead for some time. Deputy Coroner Dirschel investigated the
cases and decided an inquest would not be necessary. Thomas was of a peculiar disposition and he obtained state wide fame
following his making of a silver bullet to kill the black "Hex Cat" which he claimed was responsible for his troubles. His place of
residence was quickly populated with dogs and cats and his peculiar manner of living brought him before the authorities on several
|Pottsville Republican of April 24, 1899
BOAT HOUSES IN DANGER - Those on the Far Side of the Dam Narrowly Escaped
The forest fires that have been raging at Tumbling Run during the past week almost proved more destructive this morning than might
have been expected. On the far side of the second dam the flames spread toward the boat houses at the "Cove" and for a time it
appeared as if the houses would be consumed. Having burned to the water's edge the flames spread up the mountainside, and this
afternoon were confined to the top of the mountain, a safe distance from the boat houses. The mountains are on fire on all sides and
the houses are still threatened by flying sparks and there is still cause for apprehension. If one house takes fire there are slim
chances for the rest as all are built of frame and form a contiguous line half around this side of the dam.
|Pottsville Republican of August 5, 1899
DROWNED AT TUMBLING RUN
Yesterday afternoon about 4:30 o'clock, in the deep still waters of Tumbling Run, without warning and within a stone's throw of merry
bathers, sporting in the water at Sandy Beach, Walter Galbraith, a young man twenty years old, was drowned. He disappeared
beneath the surface of the water without a cry of alarm and the bathers but a short distance away, were not aware that he had gone
down until too late to be of assistance.
Walter Galbraith, in company with Frank Schnerring, went to Tumbling Run to enjoy the half holiday, Mr. Galbraith having been a clerk
in one of our stores. During the afternoon both men donned bathing suits at Gorman's launch and after swimming a while in the
vicinity of the launch, they agreed to join the bathers at Sandy Beach. They raced to a point opposite the beach, on the west side of
the dam, near the new bath house of the Y> M. C. A., which is a distance of fully 300 yards. The run was a severe tax on their hearts,
and when they reached the spot, Galbraith was much exhausted. Both jumped in without much ceremony and attempted to swim
across to Sandy Beach. When about thirty five feet out Galbraith said to his companion, "I can't make it. I'm played out now." He
turned to go back to shore and as he did, he suddenly threw up his hands and disappeared. Schnerring, who was a short distance
away, attempted to rescue him and grabbed his bathing shirt but the weight was too much and Galbraith sunk to the bottom. When
the alarm was given that a man had gone down, the bathers at Sandy Beach and other parts of the dam hastened to the spot to try
and aid in the rescue. A. W. Swartz, who was bathing at the new Y. M. C. A. bath house, secured a boat and tried to locate the body
with a long pole. Dr. W. G. Hoeffer, Lamar Pritchard, J. G. Smith and Fred Hause dove after Galbraith but couldn't find him. The Nellie
Bly boat, with grappling irons, was quickly brought into service and in a short time the grappling hooks caught the body and it was
hauled to the surface, about fifteen minutes after the accident. In attempting to recover the dead man the boat was upset but the
body was gotten into shore and carried to the Y. M. C. A. boat house where Drs. Cristman, Boone, Kramer, Albright and Hoeffer
worked hard to bring back life but their efforts were in vain. One of the physicians stated that he thought Galbraith became
exhausted due to the run along shore and when he plunged into the water the strain was too much and he collapsed.
The Pottsville Hospital ambulance was there shortly after the accident with Dr. Fegley and two attendants. The body was taken to the
home of Galbraith's grandfather, George Pfeifer of 809 Minersville Street about seven o'clock. Where Galbraith went down, the water
is about twenty feet deep.
Galbraith's parents reside at Plymouth but were formerly residents of Pottsville. The family were notified last night. It is thought that
young Galbraith's father is en route to Mexico. On the fifth of last August Frank Gordon sunk near Gorman's launch. Both Gordon
and Galbraith could swim, but their drowning was attributed to exhaustion. An inquest will be held tomorrow afternoon by Deputy
Coroner Veith. Young Galbraith was of a quiet disposition and well liked among his friends and acquaintances.
|Pottsville Republican of December 30, 1910
TURTLE BOAT HOUSE BURNED
The Turtle and Mount Carbon boat houses on the upper Tumbling Run dam were destroyed by fire shortly after eleven o'clock last
night, burning completely to the ground. A number of the boat houses in the vicinity were saved from destruction by the timely rain
of last night which started about nine o'clock. No one was near the place when the fire broke out and the boat houses had been
closed for the winter. It is supposed that boat house thieves made a visit and in order to cover up their tracks, set fire to the
buildings. They were among the finest appearing houses situated along the dam and were owned by a number of Pottsville people.
|Pottsville Republican of June 24, 1888
DROWNED AT TUMBLING RUN
Matthew Ryan was drowned in the lower Tumbling Run dam yesterday afternoon about three o'clock. He and William Schrader of Palo
Alto had been engaged in a swimming contest and Ryan becoming fatigued was taken into a boat. After a short rest, he again took to
the water, and a few minutes later was observed by some young men on shore to turn his face skyward, make an effort to cry out and
then sink to rise no more. The place where the drowning occurred was about fifty feet from the breast of the dam and thirty feet from
the northern shore and the Pottsville road. Grappling irons were secured and with the aid of the Greenleaf Club boat, every effort
was made to recover the body but without effect. The water is very deep at the point where Ryan disappeared and as the wickets
were open it is probable the body found its way to the lowest point. Ryan was a widower and resided with his mother on the lower
road to Port Carbon opposite the shops. A young son is in charge of the P and R telegraph station at Spring Mill station just below
Conshohocken. Ryan was a former well known Schuylkill Canal boat owner and boatman and was an expert swimmer. Of late he was
employed at the Atkin's furnace. He was about forty five years of age. Deputy Coroner Clemens was on hand early and directed
operations for the recovery of the body. Large crowds visited the scene last evening and today.
At nine o'clock this morning, John Kane and Jesse Garrett of Mount Carbon and James Kirk of the orchard, resumed the search and
succeeded in grappling the body between ten and eleven o'clock, near the spot where he went down. The hook caught him by the
neck. Deputy Coroner Clemens' jury consisted of B. U. Kirk, C. D. Elliott, Edward Fisher, F. W. Fey, Thomas Waldron and John Kane
rendering a verdict of accidental death by drowning.
|Pottsville Republican of July 3, 1895
BOY DROWNED AT TUMBLING RUN - Walter Gross Sinks the Last Time Before His Companions
A very sad drowning case took place yesterday afternoon at Tumbling Run. Walter Gross, aged eight years and son of William Gross,
residing up near Bare Field was drowned at the first dam at a place commonly called "Red Rock" on the opposite shore and above
the tool house of the Knickerbocker Ice Company. Young Gross was accompanied by three companions, but he was the only one
who went in to bathe. The place is very treacherous as the incline runs almost perpendicular for twelve feet and the boy in his
struggles was unable to return to shore, his companions being powerless to help him.
Deputy Coroner J. J. Clemens was notified at about 4:45 p.m. through a telephone message from the P.S.V. roundhouse. The father of
the boy in the meantime was notified of the drowning of his son and had preceded the coroner on the grounds. A. E. Saul, an
employee of the P. S. V. and R. W. Skelly procured a boat and grappling iron and succeeded in bringing the boy to the surface about
3:30 pm. It took over half an hour to find the body. Mr. Saul dressed the young lad in his clothes and procured a sheet from the
residents nearby and tenderly placed him upon the bank.
Eddie Kane, Willie Bachman and John McAtee attempted to recover the body by diving in the water but were unsuccessful. The
companions of Gross were afraid to report the circumstance to his father which accounts for the late hour in which the news reached
Pottsville. William Gross, the father of the boy, was almost heartbroken when the sheet was removed from the face of the dead boy
and his sobs could be heard at quite a distance. Two friends carried the body to a shady place near Bowen's ice house while the
father came to Pottsville for an undertaker. I. L. Meyers of Wilkes Barre, visiting at Mount Carbon, kindly assisted in getting the boy
out of the water. The coroner's jury convened this morning at 9:30 and rendered a verdict in accordance with the facts.
|Pottsville Republican of July 23, 1895
ONE MORE DROWNING! WENDEL GRAF FINDS A WATERY GRAVE
IN THE UPPER TUMBLING RUN DAM
Wendel Graf, the North Centre Street baker, hired a boat from J. H. Gorman to row on the dam about 5:15 p. m. yesterday, and at none
o'clock he was drowned. Graf was accompanied by another baker named John Schott. Both men had been drinking at the hotel and
were told frequently to go home. In coming down to play ten pins, Schott jumped over the high wall in front of the hotel, but Graf
refused. After this they came down to hire the boats, each taking one. They were seen on the upper dam rowing around, when
Schott moved to the opposite shore, undressed and went in bathing. His comrade drew up close to him with his boat and followed
suit. This was about six o'clock. They had been fooling in the water for some time neither of the men being swimmers of any
account. One of their practices was to catch hold of the boat from the stern and go under the water.
As soon as Graf was drowned a messenger was sent in to notify Deputy Coroner J. J. Clemens who made his appearance after eight
o'clock and summoned the following jury: John Boland, William Stevenson, William J. Kennedy, Robert Howell, Moses Rothstone and
Charles Clouser. Mr. Gorman tendered the use of several boats to bring the remains of Graf over from the opposite shore where it
had been taken out of the water. Three of the jury went with the coroner and brought the dead body of Graf to the landing at the
level near the Gorman boat houses, where the inquest was commenced.
J. H. Gorman testified to the time the boats were hired:5:15, when he returned from supper the men were not back yet, he took one of
his boats to go in search of them at seven o'clock, he saw Schott when he returned. Arthur Strong saw the men about seven o'clock
from the opposite shore jumping in and out of the water. He was under the impression they were under the influence of liquor, the
men were not able to swim, the water is about four feet deep at that point. William Stevenson thought they were under the influence
of liquor when they were going down to the dam.
Al Nimmocks, an attaché of the hotel, was next sworn when he stated he went into a boat, went over to the opposite shore, procured
a grappling iron and pulled Graf to the shore. He notified the Coroner at seven o'clock. Anthony Lloyd brought the body up. George
Mager was the next witness sworn. He was told by Schott that his buddy was drowned. This witness corroborated the others. J. D.
Lowrey tried to pump the water from Graf but it was too late as the man was dead, but he got some water from the man's stomach
after rolling him on a keg for a short time. The inquest then adjourned until 12:30 o'clock today to take the testimony of John Schott,
the man who was with Graf when he drowned. The remains were given over to Heiken Brothers to prepare for burial.
John Schott, who had been with Graf all afternoon of yesterday, was sworn today at 12:30 o'clock and from the testimony given by the
witness he had very little remembrance of what took place until his friend was drowned. The jury after hearing all the testimony
rendered the following verdict: That Wendel Graf came to his death by being accidentally drowned while bathing in the upper
Tumbling Run dam between six and seven o'clock, July 22, 1895.
An administrator was appointed by the coroner this morning in the person of Charles Striegel and the proper bond filed. The coroner
found $18.32 in cash on Graf's person last night and $72.00 at his late home and also a gold watch. The funeral will take place
tomorrow afternoon at three o'clock with interment at German Catholic Cemetery.
|Pottsville Republican of August 30, 1895
ANOTHER DROWNING! Angelo Varallo, of the Italian Orchestra the Victim
FRANTIC GRIEF OF HIS RELATIVES
Angelo Varallo, aged twenty three years, first violinist of the Italian Orchestra, was drowned in the upper Tumbling Run dam near the
Orwigsburg road bridge this morning at 10:30 o'clock, while his brother in law, Tony Viti, unable to swim, stood nearby powerless to
lend a helping hand to his kindred. Frederick J. Greiner, a waiter at the Tumbling Run Hotel, nobly went to the drowning man's
assistance twice and tried to push him into shallow water, but Varallo turning, clutched him in the death grip and then trampled him
under foot in his frantic efforts, Greiner with the utmost difficulty escaping.
Edward Koch, of the hotel, and James Graeff with several others went to the scene and after a half hour's diving and grappling, Mr.
Koch discovered the body in eight feet of water and holding onto a boat clasped his feet about the corpse, thus raising it to the
surface. The body was allowed to lie on the bank until the arrival of the Deputy Coroner.
Michael Varallo, father of Angelo, and his brother Frank were in Pottsville at the time and hurried to the hotel where they sought their
room. They were inconsolable. The father bit his fingers and tore at his hair and face, while his son and son-in-law and the Swedish
cornetist tried in vain to calm him. It was indeed a sad scene to witness.
Frederick J. Greiner said that Varallo, Tony Viti, James Coyle, a boy and James McCormick, another boy and himself went along the
near shore of the upper dam to a point below the Orwigsburg road bridge where the water is shallow at both banks but deep in the
center, the running stream having cut a channel when the dam was drawn off.
They had been swimming some time and the boys swam across the dam several times. Greiner was resting on the far side. The
Italian musicians, both of whom could not swim, then waded out with the two boys, Coyle and McCormick, the latter slightly in front of
Angelo. Greiner shouted to look out for the hole or channel but was not heeded or understood and Angelo went too far and was at
once struggling for life. Greiner at once plunged to Angelo's assistance, Coyle and McCormick being too young to be of any help. He
got behind the drowning man and endeavored to push him towards shallow water. As he is but seventeen years old and slightly
built, he was at a disadvantage with Varallo, who weighed at least one hundred and eighty pounds. The latter grabbed his would be
rescuer to stand upon him. Greiner broke away and made a second attempt to shove the excited man from the deep water but was
again seized and trampled under foot. This time he almost lost consciousness and with difficulty made his way to shore, where he lay
for some time panting for breath.
James Coyle, a boy almost twelve years old, told practically the same story. He said Varallo's struggles were terrible to see, that he
beat the water frantically and seemed maddened with fear. Had it not been for this fact it is probable Greiner would have effected his
rescue. Coyle speaks of some stranger who followed and sat on the bank watching them swim. This man made no effort to help.
Heiken Brothers took charge of the body and prepared it for shipment to Philadelphia on the 4:35 train, Reading Railroad, the
brother-in-law, Tony Viti accompanying it. The father and brother and cornetist took the 2:50 Pennsy train. It was not possible to get
the corpse ready for this train, consequently Mr. Viti was obliged to wait. The funeral will be held from the family residence,
Washington Avenue, that city, where his mother and married sister, Mrs. Viti await him. Deceased was a fine looking man. His hair
was brown and wavy and he wore a small light mustache with side whiskers. He was very neat in his attire generally sat next to his
father, the harpist. Only four months ago he came to the United States from Naples Italy after serving two years in the Italian Army.
He was unmarried. Deputy Coroner Clemens being out of town, his deputy, John J. Murphy, empaneled a jury who were adjourned to
meet at the call of Mr. Clemens. The performance will be held this evening the same as usual weather permitting.
|Frequent drownings at Tumbling Run may have prompted the following story...
|New articles just added including:
issues with patrolling the dams in 1960, consideration of an additional filter plant on the upper dam in 1964 and the tragedy
that might have been if Tumbling Run dams had burst during Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
|Pottsville Republican of March 17, 1927
BOYS HAD RIDE ON CAKE ICE
Three lads from Mount Carbon, ranging in age from twelve to fifteen, had quite an experience on Wednesday afternoon from two to
four o'clock when they had their first swim of the season without being prepared for it. The boys had gone out to Tumbling Run and
when they came to the first dam decided to test the thickness of the ice. The three of them were walking along the edge of the ice,
which had been unusually thick this winter, when, without warning the part on which they were standing broke away from the rest of
the piece and floated toward the middle of the dam before they could jump ashore. Their predicament was discovered by the
residents along the road and lines were thrown out to them but they were too far away to catch them. All this took time and the piece
of ice on which they were afloat was honeycombed from the sun these last few warm days and it broke under the strain of the boys
perched on it, plunging them into the dam's icy waters. Fortunately they were all good swimmers and made good time to the shore.
The boys, Joseph Shaw, Thomas Moore and young Folino are none the worse for their experience.
|Pottsville Republican of September 4, 1917
BOAT HOUSES ARE TORN DOWN
Tumbling Run is surely a thing off the past now and this once popular summer resort will never again be the scene of picnics and
outings if the plans of the P and R C and I are carried out. The boat houses are all torn down and the lumber is being bought up by
various contractors for small sums. Some individuals have purchased some of there lumber to erect garages and there is still some
lumber lying around unused. On Saturday the last of the boat houses was "tilted" and the general appearance of the lakes has so
changed that one would never know the place. The tracks of the trolley company are covered with dirt and will be torn up as it is
practically assured that Tumbling Run as a summer resort has passed into the "has beens". There will be no permits
granted for the use of the ground and notices are to be put up around the lakes and all the company ground, to the effect that
anyone even found walking thereon will be arrested for trespassing. Thus passeth one of the finest summer resorts in the state.
|Pottsville Republican of August 13, 1920
CITY TO TAKE TUMBLING RUN AS PUBLIC PARK
The condemnation of Tumbling Run for the benefit of the people of Pottsville is provided in a resolution that has been prepared by
City Councilman Dengler and signed by Councilman Bearster and has been placed in the hands of the city solicitor. Steps of this kind
were under consideration for some time but have now been brought to a head through the announcement by the "Republican" that
the Reading Company has commenced work on cutting the timber away from the beautiful drive through the Tumbling Run Valley and
also because of the activity of the company in cutting other timber in that valley and protecting slopes.
Because the Silver Creek Water Company enjoyed certain rights at Tumbling Run this section has been held up but now it is figured
that it can be shown that a reservoir further up the valley can be built at comparatively small cost which will render the water free of
all danger of contamination and at the same time make it possible to lawfully use it for domestic purposes while the public will be able
to enjoy the advantages of the resort made famous in past years.
It is feared that unless prompt action is taken in this matter, the entire Tumbling Run valley will be desolated and made as a desert
thus also destroying the value of the water shed, which it has been claimed it is now desired to protect. The closing of the road up
the Tumbling Run valley has also created a serious condition as it was this road that was depended upon as the detour with the
closing of the Tamaqua road and now long and almost impossible detours are being made necessary by this sudden, unexpected and
peculiar decision of the company.
|Pottsville Republican of July 11, 1895
AT TUMBLING RUN - The Largest
Number of People Ever Assembled at
The largest crowd that ever assembled at
Tumbling Run was present last evening to
witness the attractions provided for the
amusement of the patrons of the Schuylkill
Electric Railway. People of Pottsville and
vicinity commenced to rush to the groves
surrounding the upper dams and the boat
houses lining the shore and all that could find
seating room around the hotel fixed themselves
to take in the sight of the many people passing
to and fro. It was a good natured crowd and
every person seemed pleased with what they
saw. In the afternoon the regular performance
took place which was greatly admired and gave
general satisfaction to all who witnessed it.
|Pottsville Republican of August 5, 1895
DEATH AT THE RUN - Tobias Potsdamer Found Floating on the Lower Dam, Lifeless
At 7:30 o'clock Sunday morning two ladies walking along the shore of the lower Tumbling Run Dam saw the body of a man floating in
the water fifty feet from the dam breast, and screamed out an alarm. James Graeff and William Reinhart secured a boat and brought
the body to shore, when it proved to be that of Tobias Potsdamer, in his fifty ninth year, a resident of 421 Minersville Street.
Deputy Coroner James J. Clemens was notified and empanelled Benjamin Cake, John S. Murphy, Theodore F. Heilner, William Burns,
William Reinhart and James Graeff jurors, who elicited the following story from witnesses and after viewing the body gave it into the
care of Schoener Brothers, then adjourning until today at two o'clock.
Potsdamer, who had been in ill health and unable to work at his occupation of spectacle selling for the past year, left home about five
o'clock in the morning to bathe at the Run in accordance with the advice of his physician. He was seen passing the P and R station,
Mount Carbon, at 4:50 o'clock by Thomas Keene. About one hundred feet from the breast of the dam his clothing was found and the
marks of his stockinged feet were plainly visible on the muddy beach. When found he had on a full set of underclothing and
stockings. His body was black and floated and his lungs contained little or no water.
The supposition is that Potsdamer, who recently suffered a stroke of paralysis received another stroke shortly after entering the
water. His body was in such a condition that the funeral was held this afternoon at three o'clock. He was a member of Beth Israel
congregation and interment was made in the Hebrew cemetery, Reverend A. D. Chadowski officiating. He leaves besides his widow,
one daughter. On Saturday morning he took his usual daily bath but Sunday morning his wife did not hear him arise. His power of
speech was very much affected by the first attack of paralysis and he could eat only soft victuals. The family of deceased will receive
one thousand and seventy five dollars from the Hebrew benevolent fund, provided for such cases. The verdict of the jury was that
the deceased came to his death by drowning.
|Pottsville Republican of August 14, 1920
READING COMPANY CUTTING TIMBER OF TWP. AT RUN, ORDERED TO STOP
The officials of the Reading Company and the Silver Creek Water Company and their subordinate employees are likely to have
criminal prosecution instituted against them for cutting timber and appropriating property. This grows out of the heartless
destroying of the beauties of the Tumbling Run valley by the Reading Company ordering the trees cut down along the road.
If it is true that trees have been cut down on property not belonging to the corporations and the timber appropriated for the
corporation use, then there is probability for proceedings for theft, trespass and other criminal counts, besides the special state
timber laws that make it a heinous offense to cut down trees on other persons property under the timber regulation acts. The
proceedings are to be amicable at the beginning but if the corporation will not enter into an agreement to stop destroying the
beauties of the Tumbling Run road, the harshest possible proceedings will be instituted.
Gordon F. Nagle, the well known contractor of Pottsville, whose home is in the suburbs of North Manheim Township between
Pottsville and Cressona and who is supervisor of North Manheim Township has officially notified the Reading officials that they must
stop cutting the timber along the Tumbling Run road. The timber contractors engaged in the work this Saturday morning accepted
the notice and stopped proceedings at once. This action is based on the fact that the Tumbling Run road was laid out as a thirty
three foot road over half a century ago but in most places it was never opened to more then sixteen feet and so many of the big
trees lining the road are still in public township property so that the cutting down of the same by the corporations is a criminal
offense that if the proceedings are pushed may land the leading corporation officials behind the bars.
Unfortunately this would leave just a mere fringe of trees along the road on both sides, but as the public highway trees have been
cut down without legal rights and as the perpetrators have made themselves amendable to the law by doing this, it is hoped to bring
about a compromise whereby the corporations will mainly agree to leave the trees stand for a partial distance beyond the road that
are on the corporation property in addition to those that are on the public highway ground.
Township Supervisor Nagle has the advice and cooperation of some of the leading citizens and most eminent legal authority of the
county. It is hoped that an adjustment can be brought about that will continue the Tumbling Run road with its beautiful tree
|This late nineteenth century
stereoview shows the Tumbling Run
dams looking east toward Pottsville
with a farm in the foreground
|Pottsville Republican of December 10, 1896
BOAT HOUSE ROBBED
The Nellie Bly boat house at Tumbling Run was broken into a few nights ago and everything portable was carried off including a set of
dishes won at the regatta, pictures, looking glasses, china, barware, chairs, tables and in fact everything except the boats. Some of
the knives and spoons were found on the road coming from the run, so that the parties that carried away the goods must have had a
horse and wagon. The boat club members are after the thieves. The door lock was broken with a chisel and hammer.
|Pottsville Republican of July 20, 1896
LEWIS MILLER DROWNED - His Boat Capsized and He Sank Never to Arise Alive
Lewis Miller, aged twenty one years, employed as a baker by John J. Kohler on Fourth and Schuylkill Avenue, was accidentally
drowned at Tumbling Run on Saturday evening about seven o'clock. Miller and a party of associates had been having an afternoon
out at the dam and among the pleasure participated in by them was boating. His friends, Charles Hartman and Charles Brandt had
taken a boat belonging to George Peifer at the Edgewater boat house. The two had taken a trip and returned, when Miller got
aboard, taking the place of Brandt, and he and Hartman paddled out together. They had reached the Neversink boat house. When
about thirty feet out the boat overturned and threw both men out. Hartman struck out for the shore and landed in safety. Miller
however, who could not swim, was left to struggle. He grappled with the light boat and cried aloud for help, but in a few moments he
hold slipped and he sank into the water below, a depth of about thirty feet and never arose again alive. The bottom at this point is
covered with rock and stumps and it is believed Miller's clothes became entangled among one of those objects which prevented his
rising to the surface.
His cries brought Thomas Wardle, who was engaged eating his supper in his boat house nearby, to respond. Wardle boarded his
boat and with several well directed strokes of the bar was within a few feet of Miller's side when the unfortunate young man gave a
cry and his body sank out of sight. Others in their pleasure boats hastened to the rescue but they too were too late. Several
persons ashore witnessed the drowning, some of whom expressed surprise that Miller was not rescued by one or more of those who
were near at hand. Some of the onlookers seemed to be dazed with fright.
Deputy Coroner Clemens empanelled Messrs.. Joseph Defrehn, J. W. Eisenhuth, J. M. Madison, Joseph Myers, P. C. Thomas and
Albert Roehrig, foreman, to inquire into the cause of Miller's drowning. The Deputy Coroner had been notified shortly after the sad
occurrence and he hastened to the spot with his jury. Upon reaching the dam the body had not yet been recovered , but several
gangs of men in boats were faithfully at work with grappling hooks, making efforts to bring the body to the surface of the water. This
work of rescue was continued until after midnight, the Deputy Coroner himself assisting. After midnight the work was abandoned
until morning when it was again resumed. At about eight o'clock Harry Dewald, one of the rescuers, was rewarded by locating the
body, which was brought to the surface after a brief struggle.
Heiken Brothers took charge of the remains and conveyed them to their undertaking establishment, after which they were removed
to John Kohler's residence, the home of his employer, where they will remain until the arrival of his sister, who has been notified and
is expected to arrive here today. The final disposition of the body will then be determined upon. Young Miller's parents live in
Germany, and it is reported that he comes from a well to do family. He had but recently been left an inheritance, which was expected
daily. He was a thrifty, industrious and sober young man. He had but recently taken out an insurance policy in one of the many
American Life Insurance Companies. His employer had the most implicit confidence in him and classed him as a superior workman.
He was popular among his friends, of whom he gathered a large number during his residence here. It was after enjoying a pleasant
afternoon and in the midst of the sports provided that his sad and sudden end came. A number of shop hands had invited him to
enjoy the afternoon with them, and Miller and his friend Charles Hartman, who is also a baker, and who is employed by John McKenna
of Port Carbon, joined the festive party. Neither of the men had imbibed to excess and their conduct was rational all afternoon. He
and Hartman during the afternoon had their pictures taken in a group together, a number of which they had distributed among their
friends at the dam, who had taken them in possession after the accident.
The boat, or more properly, the canoe, is a treacherous vessel, and the two men were cautioned not to go out upon the water in it.
Both men answered that they could swim and their friends had no further concern of their welfare, believing that they were able to
take care of themselves, but Miller's confidence in his swimming skill was no doubt overrated by himself, and when the boat
overturned he lost his presence of mind, and he alone is to blame for his untimely and sad death.
|Pottsville Republican of April 7, 1908
FOUND COUNTERFEIT DOLLARS - Shovers of Strange Dropped Bad Money in Tumbling Run Dam
Children while playing about the breast of the Tumbling Run Dam yesterday found a number of counterfeit dollars supposed to have
been thrown into the dam by some party who feared arrest for passing bad money. The water has been lowered about six feet and
the money was found just at the water's edge. It is known that last summer counterfeit dollars were being circulated in various parts
of the county, several being passed among Pottsville merchants. Secret Service men tried without success to locate the shovers of
the strange, but that they were making their presence felt, is borne out by the supposition that the guilty ones in finding themselves
hard pressed got rid of the convicting evidence by dropping it into the dam in what they believed to be the deepest part.
|The Pottsville Republican of August 31, 1912
LOADED RUN CAR JUMPS THE TRACK
About sixty passengers on one of the big open trolley cars on the Tumbling Run division had a narrow escape about ten o'clock
Friday night when the car left the rails at the point where the dam road crosses the trolley tracks near the white rock at the curve just
as the car was entering Palo Alto from the Run. The passengers were thrown about in the car and a number shaken up but
fortunately none was seriously injured. The car was in charge of Motorman McGovern and Conductor Reber. When the car left the
rails it was saved from running over the road to the high bank by the high style of rails which have just been installed. As the car
jumped the trolley came off the wire throwing the car in darkness. A Miss Hughes was the only one to be injured in any way, the rest
of the passengers keeping their seats and escaped with a severe jarring. The car was of the large summer type and an examination
showed that the heavy car had ground a stone into powder. Evidence of a stone on the track was also found along the rail. An
examination has convinced the officials that the car left the rails as a result of an obstruction on the track either placed there or
knocked on the rail by a team.
|The Pottsville Republican of October 3, 1912
THIRD DAM TUMBLING RUN, SURVEYS START UP VALLEY
As announced heretofore in the Republican at different times, calling attention to preliminary surveys, we are now in a position to say
that the authoritative, definite, official survey is being made by the Reading Company for a third dam to be constructed up the
Tumbling Run valley, which is intended to carry out the suggestions of the State Water Department when permission was refused the
Reading Company for the use of Tumbling Run water from the two present dams for domestic use in adjacent towns. The Reading
Company has been using Tumbling Run water without the consent of the State Water Department and the State Board of Health as an
adjunct to its Silver Creek and Crystal Run reservoir supplies, the former being located at New Philadelphia and covering all of the
territory between Pottsville and Silver Creek, while the Crystal Run Company has its reservoir located beyond Minersville, at West
West Falls, and was intended to supply the territory between Branchdale, Minersville Heckschersville, etc.
Several years ago the Reading Company laid a water line from Tumbling Run to Port Carbon, where connection was made with the
Silver Creek main and this same water line was continued to Port Carbon and Saint Clair and then the new line was extended over
the intervening hills to Mine Hill Gap for the Pine Knot Colliery in the Heckschersville valley and the other line passing through
Duncott and Jonestown, up to a connection with the Lytle and Branchdale supply coming from the Crystal Run’s big West West Falls
reservoir. The official surveying for a third dam up Tumbling Run Valley, which is now officially under way, is intended to cover the
territory extending from a point opposite the old baseball park at Tumbling Run, five miles up the valley to Heiser’s farm where the
ravine narrows. This will give the company opportunity of building two reservoirs with, of course, some side breasts to block up
intervening small valleys. At points these two new dams would cover a width of a half mile at its widest point, while the breasts of the
dams can be raised to a height equaling the present Tumbling Run dams, or even making them still higher. In all probability they will
be higher and this will mean that while the present dam is ninety feet deep, the new dams may be from 125 to 150 feet deep and the
principal dam is calculated to hold over 700,000,000 gallons of water.
getting, or rather somebody, presumably representing the Reading Company, has been getting options on these farms for several
years past, leaving a few unpurchased and these with the assistance of the State Water Board had a price set upon them by
arbitration. The Reading Company is ,making this improvement in order to be in a position to supply Schuylkill Haven, Cressona,
Orwigsburg and intervening territory on the south and also take care of the shortage that will occur in times of drought of the Silver
Creek and Crystal Run to which, as stated above, the Tumbling Run water line is connected, but to get the water into the pipes as at
present connected, pumping must be done and in order to get the height for the south of the mountain towns above mentioned, the
third and the fourth reservoirs of the Reading Company at Tumbling Run have long ago been known to be a positive necessity and
tentative plans for them have been in existence for quite a while. Several years ago and since, at different times the “Republican”
has called attention to not only the contemplated Tumbling Run additional reservoirs but also to the fact that the Reading Company
had to sooner or later secure an additional water supply to take care of its mining property lying east of Silver Creek between New
Philadelphia and Tamaqua. The official starting of the work for the construction of the new Tumbling Run reservoir higher up the
valley will relieve the people from their fear that the Tumbling Run pleasure resort of the Traction Company, the boat houses, etc will
be interfered with. This means that the Tumbling Run pleasure resort will be permanently located there, subject however to legal
contentions emanating from State Board of Health regulations and the unsettled claims of other people to Tumbling Run dam
The intricacies and red tape of the water question are not generally known by the public but the Reading Company is compelled to
file a monthly report, together with a chemical analysis of all of the water passing through the pipes, including a statement of the
probable known pollution of the water shed and if there is any one department of the state government that is not influenced by
politics, fear, favor, relationships, or graft, it is the Water and Health Board and Dr. Dixon, the director of these departments, is one of
the few men who can decline to listen to political or official orders, for he is a power in himself and only agreed to accept these
positions with the distinct understanding that he never was to be interfered with. It also may not be generally known that Dr. Dixon’s
family are heavily interested in Schuylkill County lands, consequently he is acquainted with the situation here in this section a little
more then the entire stranger would be. The Republican congratulates the Reading Company and the public on this move for
additional Tumbling Run reservoirs, for it is going to relieve a very harassing situation that affected not only the Reading Company
with their industrial working, but also interfered with the growth of towns, the development of industries and the health of the people
by the insufficiency and claimed unhealthiness of the supply of water furnished through the Reading Company’s Silver Creek and
Crystal Run systems which covers the suburban territory of Pottsville to the east, to the north and to the west for many miles.
|The Call of October 21, 1910
TUMBLING RUN WATER FOR TOWN
At a special meeting of Town Council held Monday night, Solicitor Noecker reported the result of negotiations with the Philadelphia
and Reading Coal and Iron Company relative to securing a permanent supply of water for Schuylkill Haven from the Tumbling Run
dams. The idea was originally suggested by the Reverend John P. Muldowney of town and the committee has been greatly aided by
that gentleman in the prosecution of its work. Briefly stated the proposition is that the P. & R., C. & I. Company has agreed to furnish
the borough with a permanent supply of water from Tumbling Run, provided the borough or a local water company will build its own
pipe line from the Run to the borough and lay its own distributing mains. For the present the supply of water will be taken from a
temporary reservoir to be built above the second dam and later from the big dams when the boat houses and all other sources of
contamination have been removed.
Upon the committee’s request, on motion of Mr. Weiss, the committee was authorized to employ a competent engineer to determine
the cost of pipeline and distributing mains and to ascertain if the water will run by gravity to supply the highest points in town. The
engineer will also enable the committee to come to some agreement with the P. & R., C. & I. Company regarding the price to be paid
for the water. IF the engineer’s estimates show that the borough is able to finance the proposition a special vote of the people will
be taken on the matter of increasing the borough debt. If the borough can not finance it, it is the opinion of our moneyed men that a
corporation of local capitalists can be quickly formed, provided at least eighty percent of the present consumers will agree to take
the water. The members present at the meeting were Messrs. Berger, Brown, Beck, Moore, Rooney, Saul, Weiss, Wagner and
President Keller. Secretary Minnig, Burgess Hartman, Solicitor Noecker and Special Solicitor Berger were also present. p
|The Pottsville Republican of June 28, 1933
HOW ABOUT IT? DO WE WANT TUMBLING RUN?
To take up some of the task of supplying men with work, the
“Republican Morning Paper” proposes restoring Tumbling
Run for the use of the public. It has long been a mooted
question as to whether the Reading Company had a more
secure title to the former feeders to the Schuylkill Canal than
the state proper. As more liberal construction is being
placed upon state and government properties, these
publications are ready to back the movement in the following
manner. The closing down of the use of Tumbling Run for the
use of the public was said to be the necessity for taking the
dams for domestic purposes. That’s a good claim but it can
USE LOWER DAM Give up all thought of using the second
dam for public use and have one dollar a year men take up
the problem of building a third dam up the valley beyond the
second dam, using the lower dam for bathing purposes. How
to meet the expense? Providing the State of Pennsylvania
will take title and demand sufficient space surrounding the
lower dam for traffic, for the building of houses, for the
building of roads that will provide one way traffic and allow
sufficient space around each bath house to park cars and to
so build the lower dam that its great depth be filled in
sufficient to make a beach of perfect safety for all ages.
BUILD STATE ROAD Starting at the Pennsy Railroad, run the
new road up the southern side of the lower dam, surround
the entire dam, using small bridges for crossing where the
bathing dams are now located near Mount Carbon and
another at the breast of the upper dam on a level with the
lower dam, coming out onto the old road and thus making a
complete circle of the lower dam.
HOW TO MEET THE COST Taking it for granted the public, if
given a chance to do so will participate in a financial scheme
that will finance the building of the third dam in the following
manner: Sites for two hundred houses can be provided at
$500 each, payable in a ten year installment plan, houses to
be built of a material selected by the one dollar a year men
and to consist of only two rooms on one floor, this to be paid
out of the monies paid for the sites. The State of
Pennsylvania to consider this as a state public park, but the
building of the third dam to be done out of the funds
provided through the purchase and finance of these two
hundred sites, the new dam to be so erected that perfect
safety to all inhabitants living along the line of this outlet be
provided, and the water from the dam to be kept pure and
clean as it is at present, and water to be furnished for the use
of the occupants of the boat houses along the present lower
dam. The day of public entertainment, amusement and places
in which to secure unpolluted air, has so far advanced that a
public sentiment wins over the action of heretofore seeming
impossibilities. We believe the Reading Company will be glad
to cooperate and secure the good will of the public by
entering into this movement that will be of no expense to
them and will close up a former sore topic of ownership and
at the same time provide them with revenue from the use of
hydrants in the boat houses.
WORK FOR MANY MEN This turning of Tumbling Run lower
dam over to the public at this time would come as one of the
greatest boons to Schuylkill Countians and answer the
request of the governor for projects wherewith to make
proper use of funds soon obtainable for unemployed
purposes. Sewage could be provided at little expense, for
the Schuylkill River is close at hand and thus far dumping of
sewage into it has not been prohibited, but if such should be
the case, there are more modern methods perhaps no more
expensive at hand for the purpose, and the matter of
electricity can be taken up with little thought. As stated
above, the “Republican” is prepared to go into details if the
public agree with them that Tumbling Run should be used for
the local county people and no better time could be found
then now to do the work. A rough sketch of the proposition
is submitted herewith.
|This map accompanied the
article in the Republican.
|The Pottsville Republican of August 4, 1933
BODY FOUND AT TUMBLING RUN
The body of Michael Trabosh, aged twenty eight of 326 Laurel Street, son of Nicholas Trabosh, was found floating in he first dam at
Tumbling Run Friday afternoon. The body was fully clothed. The body was found Wade Smith, who lives near there waded into the
dam and got out the body. Three years ago she recovered the body of another drowned man. He had been missing from his home
for the past three days. No one had seen him nor had any word been received since Tuesday when he left his home in the
afternoon. He was last seen by his sister, Miss Louise Trabosh, whom he told he was going for a swim in the big dam at Tumbling
When talking with his sister, he told her the heat was bothering him and that he was going to take a plunge. He asked her to tell his
mother and dad, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Trabosh, when they returned home in the evening after visiting friends. Thinking that he had
returned in the evening, and had gone to bed, the family did not discover his absence until Wednesday morning, when his mother
went into his bedroom. A search of the house was made and his bathing suit, which he was wrapping up while talking to his sister,
was found tucked away in the corner of the kitchen, where he always kept it.
His brothers went to Tumbling Run. They searched everywhere near and around the dams but found no trace of him. He was in
perfect health. He complained of nothing except his inability to obtain work. He was accustomed to work, steadily having been
employed for nine years at the round house until several months ago. Sergeant Blankenhorn, Councilman Stevenson and Sergeant
Deegan went to Tumbling Run and identified the body. Trabosh is survived y his parents, two brothers, Joseph and Nicholas at
home, and two sisters, Louise and Eleanor at home.
|The Pottsville Republican of August 13, 1908
TOT SWAM ACROSS LAKE - Had Never Been in Swimming Before and Her Feat is Remarkable
A most remarkable feat was accomplished at Tumbling Run the other day by a twelve year old girl who swam across the dam and back
again despite the fact that she had never before tried to swim. She is little twelve year old Miriam Howard of Birmingham Georgia,
who with her mother, was visiting Mrs. Howard's sister, Mrs. M. F. Sheafer of Washington and South Centre Streets. A boat house
party was water, Miss Howard suddenly decided she could swim across the dam and jumping in struck put for the opposite shore.
She easily kept afloat and made progress like an experienced swimmer. People in boats watched the little one make her way across
the deep water and followed close to her to give assistance if necessary, while those at the boat house were almost in a frenzy with
fear. The members of the family and the little girl herself insist that she never swam before. It was one of the most remarkable feats
ever accomplished at the Run and it is not probable that it ever will be duplicated. She had not the slightest assistance through any
|The Pottsville Republican of November 12, 1908
ICE HOUSE DESTROYED - Tramps Believed to Have Started Blaze at Tumbling Run
Shortly after eight o'clock last night, a bright light in the sky could be seen in Pottsville and surrounding towns when the big ice
house of the American Ice Company, just below the breast of the upper Tumbling Run dam was being burned to the ground, the
probable result of tramps building a fire in or near the big structure. The Schuylkill Haven and Pottsville departments were ready to
respond in case a call was made for assistance, but their services were not asked, because the building was doomed and there was
little if any danger of it spreading further. The loss will reach several thousand dollars. The house was practically empty except for a
small amount of ice which had been stored there since three years ago. It has a capacity of several hundred thousand tons and was
built some years ago by William Hamilton. Lambert Hess of Mount Carbon is the local superintendent of the company. A number of
Pottsville people hurried to the Run as it was reported that the hotel was afire and that there was danger that the boat houses being
wiped out. The fire set the dried leaves ablaze an it was feared that a serious mountain fire would follow but this was extinguished
before it gained much headway.
|The Pottsville Republican of January 23, 1909
BOAT HOUSES ROBBED AT TUMBLING RUN
Robbers sometime during the week broke into several of the boat houses at the Run. In the Weissinger boat house at the end of the
dam, entrance was gained by breaking in the door with a hatchet. A suit of clothes belonging to Mr. Weissinger was taken together
with several other articles and dishes were broken and scattered all over the floor. In the Turtle boat house entrance was gained in
the same way. Several other boat houses were entered and robbed in like manner.
|The Pottsville Republican of January 25, 1909
MORE DEPREDATION AT THE RUN
An inspection made by a number of owners of boat houses at Tumbling Run show that the depredations dishes were removed,
curtains on the windows were torn down and even the carpets were ripped from the floor. In the YMCA boat house, every locker was
broken open in the expectation of finding something valuable. Entrance was gained to the Ferret. Attempts were made to get into
the Magnolia and the Whippoorwill but the robbers were scared away or gave it up. Several more of the boat houses were entered
and the loss to the owners will amount to hundreds of dollars.
|The Call of December 19, 1902
THE HERMIT OF TUMBLING RUN
the upper dam. He has a hut on the side of the mountain built of logs. It has one room wherein he spends his time, eats and sleeps.
He was wounded in the back during the war and draws a small pension from the government. On this he manages to live
comfortably, notwithstanding the fact that he has no friends or neighbors close by, he is as happy as a lark and could not be
persuaded to give up his present quarters for one of the finest of city mansions.
|The Pottsville Republican of August 27, 1909
COUPLE RESCUED FROM DROWNING AT THE RUN
Just as the theatre was leaving out last evening at Tumbling Run, the hundreds of visitors to this popular resort were called to the
water's edge by the cries of help coming from the dam. People who were seated on the porches of their boat houses immediately put
out their boats and those who were rowing in the vicinity went to the rescue. There they found a man and woman struggling in the
water and the boat overturned. Messrs. Harry Marx and John Keeler were the heroes of the evening. Pulling the woman out boat
and took them to the Fairmount boat house. Here the couple were given all the attention possible. They were given dry clothing and
then taken to a house on Prospect Hill in a cab. The couple refused to give their names but the young lady was identified as a Miss
Hummel residing in the vicinity of Laurel Street. The rumor was circulated that another boat ran into them overturning the boat in
which they were in and that the parties had rowed off calling for help without rendering any assistance. During the excitement
following the accident the report gained circulation that three young men were drowned and that efforts were being then made to
recover their bodies. This rumor proved untrue as the only other accident reported during the day was the precipitating of several
young men into the water by the breaking of a rail early in the afternoon. The young men were given a thorough ducking but
|The Pottsville Republican of August 25, 1909
BIG FIRE AT TUMBLING RUN
Several sheds and barns adjacent to the Reichert House, a short distance below the Mountain View Hotel at Tumbling Run caught fire
at three o'clock presumably from spontaneous combustion and were totally destroyed. It was feared the Reichert House and the
Mountain View Hotel conducted by Harry Keeny would be destroyed as there was no water at hand to fight the fire and the wind was
blowing the flames toward the hotel. Word was telephoned to Pottsville and the Humane Company with chemical and hose truck was
directed to respond. Eighteen of the State Police mounted their horses and galloped to the scene of the blaze to render any
assistance possible. At four o'clock the flames were well under control and the hotel was safe although it was damaged considerably
by the flames. The fire company rendered excellent service. A small house and stable were destroyed.
|The Pottsville Republican of November 10, 1909
TUMBLING RUN MAY HIDE CRIME
Yesterday afternoon while a party of hunters were scouring the woods in quest of game around the Tumbling Run dams, they came
across a lady's black coat. Not paying much attention to it at the time they came to Pottsville and notified the State Police. Two of the
troopers were sent to the place but after searching for several hours returned home without discovering it. This morning Troopers
Blasser and Dart again went to the scene and after several hours hunt were rewarded by finding a hat, coat, pocketbook and two
silver mounted side combs to which were attached several blonde hairs. The articles were brought to the barracks and carefully
examined but the only thing to show on them was where the hat was purchased. The pocketbook was open and the contents
removed. The hat was one of black straw and trimmed with black ribbon, while the coat was medium size and of black.
One theory advanced is that the clothing may be that of a woman or probably a young girl who was led to this lonely and secluded
spot and murdered. From the place where the clothing was found to the water's edge is only about one hundred feet. From the
appearance of the ground there was a struggle. The ground was torn up and branches for some distance are broken off, showing
plainly that the person was either pulled or dragged through them. No blood stains were found in the vicinity but a careful search is
being made by the State Police to try and find out if there was a murder and how it was committed. No reports have been made to
either the State Police or to the borough police of anyone from this section missing. It may be one of those cases that will go down
into the annals of crimes unsolved.
|Front page stories on consecutive days relate a supposed murder scene which turns out to be nothing of the sort
|The Pottsville Republican of November 11, 1909
TUMBLING RUN MYSTERY SOLVED
The owner of the articles consisting of a hat, coat, side comb and pocketbook found at Tumbling Run yesterday morning by the State
Police, has been found and the fear of a tragedy removed. After reading the article in last evening's "Republican" relatives of a
young woman, residing on Front Street in Jalappa, came to the barracks of the State Police and there gave a minute description of
the found articles. The lady in question is feeble minded and is at present in some institution. On several occasions she has
wandered to remote spots staying often times for several days or even a week. The State Police on several occasions have been
appealed to by her relatives to locate her and each time have been successful. Her relatives were aware of the fact that she had lost
the wearing apparel but where they did not know and were startles to know they were found along the banks of the Tumbling Run dam
|The Pottsville Republican of November 13, 1909
WILD MAN SEEN ON MOUNTAINS
Several days ago a party of hunters from Schuylkill Haven encountered a wild man on the mountains several hundred feet back of the
Weissinger Hotel. One of the party came across the fellow who jumped to his feet and implored the hunters not to shoot him. The
fellow possessed all the characteristics in Daniel Defoe's story of Robinson Crusoe, with the exception he was on a mountain instead
of an island. His clothing was torn to shreds, he wore no shoes and his hair and whiskers were of several months growth. Not many
feet from where he was found sleeping was his cave. It was of rock in the side of the mountain and was partially filled with dry leaves
and hay. On the outside and near the entrance was a place where he did his cooking, an old tin can answering for the purpose.
When asked about himself he acted like a madman and started to tear his clothing from his body. The fellow spoke in broken English
and it was hard to determine whether he was of German or Polish descent. He was given something to eat by the hunters and
swallowed it down like a famished beast. The hunters told him he could go and he bounded away like a deer jumping over big rocks
and stumps of trees. Yesterday a searching party went after the fellow but failed to locate him. All they found was the place he lived
in. He had been seen on several other occasions by other parties but each time in another locality and this was the first time that
anyone was able to get close to him. The fellow is supposed by many to be demented and is hiding in the woods to avoid capture by
the officials from the institution from which he escaped.
|The Call of September 20, 1929
BODY FOUND AT TUMBLING RUN
Frederick Yoder of Black Horse, son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Yoder of reading and a former resident of Schuylkill Haven, was found
drowned in the upper Tumbling Run Dam, Saturday morning shortly after the noon hour by several men who were walking along the
banks. Yoder had been missing from his home since Saturday evening, September 7th, when he left his home presumably to do
some shopping. On his person at the time of finding was one dollar in change but four dollars in bills. His wallet and watch and hat
Identification of the body was made by relatives, although this at first was difficult owing to the condition of the body which is
believed was in the water from Saturday night, September 7th. The deceased was forty four years of age. For a number of years he
has been operating a farm in the lower Black Horse Valley and has been apparently successful. The news of the finding of his body
was a shock to his family and neighbors, although his absence for an entire week has led to misgivings as to his welfare. He was
born in Schuylkill Haven and resided here with his parents, who operated the Yoder Hotel, corner of Main and Saint John Streets , for
a number of years.
To survive he leaves his wife and five children, two brothers, George of Pottsville and Harry of Reading and one sister. The funeral
took place Tuesday morning from his late residence. The services were strictly private. Reverend Zufall, pastor of the Evangelical
Church of Friedensburg, conducted the services. Interment was made in the Union Cemetery in Friedensburg. The bearers were
James Nagle, Milton Kutz, Paul Swartz, Elias Phillips, Russel Reed. D. M. Bittle was the funeral director.
|The Call of September 20, 1929
BELIEVE YODER MET WITH FOUL PLAY
In the death of Fred Yoder of Black Horse, it is believed evidence points to Mr. Yoder having met with foul play. It has been
established for a definite fact that no reason of any kind was present for him to have taken his life by drowning. He was not a man to
become intoxicated and to lose his way and accidentally fall into Tumbling Run dam. He had no relatives or friends in the Tumbling
Run section whom he could have gone to visit on the night of Saturday, September 7th and there was no occasion for him to transact
business with anyone in the valley. Yoder was missing from his home since Saturday, September 7th. He left home early in the
evening and walked from Black Horse to Friedensburg where he took a bus to Schuylkill Haven. He visited and made purchases of
clothing, etc. in several stores in Schuylkill Haven. He left home in good spirits. A wallet which he carried was pretty well filled with
bills as has been testified to by several merchants of Schuylkill Haven with whom he transacted business.
When the body was discovered last Saturday, the wallet was gone from his pocket as was also an expensive gold watch. On the side
of his head was a deep gash as though inflicted with some blunt instrument. The eye on this same side was badly bloodshot. It is
hardly likely that with the body lying in the water or being dragged to the side of the dam would cause injuries such as these. Piecing
all the evidence together and considering the habits and the character of the man, it is confidentially believed he met foul play in
being attacked on his way home, knocked unconscious with a blow over the head and the body taken to the dam and thrown therein.
It was learned Thursday morning that an investigation is to be started at once by Schuylkill Haven authorities as this town was the last
place in which the man was seen alive.
|These two articles printed on the same day report the mysterious
death of Fred Yoder at Tumbling Run and the suspected foul play.
|Pottsville Republican of March 23, 1910
MILKMAN HELD UP
Three masked men yesterday afternoon held up William Brokhoff along the Tumbling Run Road and relieved him of all the money
after which they took to the mountains. The state police are now working on the case and have hopes of being able to land the
culprits. The holdup occurred about 1:30 in the afternoon at a lonely section of the road about two miles up the valley when three
masked men jumped from the bushes, each with a leveled revolver and ordered him to hand over all his money. They threatened to
take his life if he made any resistance. After securing the money they lost no time in making their escape into the bushes.
|Below is a token from the
Tumbling Run Hotel.
|Pottsville Republican of December 30, 1886
THE ICE BUSINESS
The Knickerbocker people who it was supposed would not visit us this year, came up today on a tour of inspection to see how the
Schuylkill County ice crop was likely to pan out. On the lower Tumbling Run Dam they found about ten inches of good solid ice. It is
from this source that they have for years reaped their best harvest. The aristocracy of Philadelphia always demands Tumbling Run
ice and are willing to pay an advance price for it. The Knickerbocker Company have in former years taken as high as 18,000 tons of
ice from here. What they will take this year is not yet been decided, but it is believed they will make a large harvest. The lower dam
is capable of furnishing, at a ten inch thickness, 23,000 tons of the congealed. The local dealers, the Messrs. Bowen, house about
twenty five hundred tons, which is circulated throughout the town. They will probably commence cutting next week. There is no
danger in Pottsville being short of ice this summer.
|Pottsville Republican of June 28, 1888
The attention of the civic authorities and especially the Coal and Iron Police is called to the practice of swimming indulged in at the
lower Tumbling Run Dam by hundreds of men and boys on Sunday. Both banks are lined with nude swimmers, many who conduct
themselves in a respectable manner yet, to their shame, it must be said that some of the young men show an utter absence of
respect for both themselves and others. Let the heavy hand of the law be placed upon them on a manner that they shall not soon
|Pottsville Republican of July 23, 1888
CAMPING IN TUMBLING RUN VALLEY
Tumbling Run Valley is becoming quite noted as a camping ground, as was seen by a representative of this paper in a trip through
that region recently. There are already five different parties encamped in different parts of the valley, while this week bids fair to
double that number. A day spent at Camp Foster (named in honor of Foster, the plumber) convinced us that nothing could be more
enjoyable or beneficial than a few weeks spent in our own vicinity, and is by far more preferable to double that time at the seashore.
Camp Foster is located about four miles up the valley near the Schraeder farm. Surrounded by a fine grove of oaks, with a spring of
ice cold water, and the famous run in close proximity, it is one of the most beautiful spots in the valley. The boys enjoy themselves in
various ways. Up with the first break of day, a breakfast of fried bacon and potatoes are indulged in, after which they disperse, some
hunting woodcock, others roaming the mountains over, catching crabs, bathing, pitching quoits and after a dinner of bean soup and
pork, all engaging in a game of ball. Then a rest is ought under the trees until the heat of the afternoon is over when preparations
for the evening sports begin. Coon hunting is then indulged in. Harry Foster, by the way, took the prize last week in coon hunting,
bringing down a fine specimen from a high oak. The J. E. Rice and John O. Beck families are very pleasantly located at the Woltjen
farm at the upper dam. Walt Whiting and Dan Kaercher and a number of friends today pitched their tents close to Camp Foster and
will spend a few weeks there.
|Pottsville Republican of April 6, 1910
IMPROVEMENTS AT TUMBLING RUN
Workmen are engaged in razing the buildings at Tumbling Run which for years have been used as a penny arcade and a refreshment
stand on the little flat adjoining the theatre and the hotel and on the site a fine summer garden will be constructed. The sides will be
of lattice work with a rough and rustic roof. Inside, vines, flowers and plants will be planted and trained up along the sides of the
garden and up the pillars. A fountain may also be put in the garden and it is expected to make a big hit. The hotel this year will be
conducted by W. H. Kline who gave such excellent service last summer. The Park association is arranging to make a number of
improvements at this resort early in the spring. Nothing very elaborate will be attempted this year and it is expected that it will
consist chiefly in improving the walks and beautifying the scenery about the park proper. It is expected that this will be the banner
season for the resort even though the torn up condition of Centre Street will have the effect of cutting down the traffic.
The opening this year will be on May 30th as usual. Nothing is being done at the ball park but the park management reiterate that
they stand willing to take one third of the stock of a stock company in case one is organized and that they will give the club other
backing, providing that it is a stock company and has a large number of shareholders. While there has been considerable criticism of
the P. & R. in refusing to permit parties to remain at the Run overnight, it is generally believed that it will result in decidedly more
desirable conditions. A few of the houses it is claimed abused this privilege and now all the others must suffer. The same is the
case with beer at the boat houses. Because of the abuse of a few, others who enjoyed this refreshment in moderation will be
obliged to confine themselves to spring water and lemonade.
|Pottsville Republican of June 30, 1887
BATHING IN TUMBLING RUN - A Squad of Boys Arrested for Indecent Exposure
For a long time past, complaints have come from people residing along the northerly side of Tumbling Run dams relative to the
reckless manner in which boys and men perform their ablutions from the breast of the first dam and along the border of the public
highway in broad daylight. These residents allege that after supper time when they, like other people, desire to sit out in front of
their houses and enjoy the fresh evening breeze, they are deterred from doing so from the fact that their optics at once fall upon a
gang of nude boys and men who frequent the neighborhood daily for the purpose of bathing and are not in the least particular either
in the manner of exposing their persons or in the rudeness of their language.
Not only do the residents of the vicinity complain of this outrageous nuisance, but people from this and other neighboring towns who
take delight in driving up through this delightful valley at evening are subjected to the same indignities. Gentlemen with their wives
and families and with their lady friends who drive that way enjoy no immunity from the rude exhibitions and foul language of the
promiscuous crowd attention of the Coal and Iron Police to the abuse. Last evening Captain Christian with a detail of officers
repaired to the breast of the first dam and made an arrest of several parties who were bathing before dark in plain sight of hoses and
the road. They were brought to town and taken before Squire Reed to answer. Captain Christian informed the Justice of the facts in
the case and said that he had no desire to prosecute the cases but that he wished to make an example of these parties as a warning
to others and suggested that they be released on payment of costs, which were merely nominal. This was done and the accused set
To a "Republican" representative the Captain stated that there was no objection to anyone bathing in the dam, but the company who
owns the dams do not propose to maintain a common nuisance. People are at liberty to bathe there but they must seek the opposite
side or more secluded spots for the purpose. "we are determined," said he, "to break up this indiscriminate system of bathing at this
and all other points where men and boys make indecent exposures of their person to the residents of that locality and people who
pass along the public highway. We will arrest all such as fast as we can catch them and no more will get off as easy as this first
crowd. Every one of them hereafter will be returned to court for trial."
|Pottsville Republican of June 14, 1889
MIDNIGHT BLAZE - The Extensive Knickerbocker Ice House in Ruins
About the last man out had found the privacy of his home and his downy pillow last night when the alarm of fire was sounded from
half a dozen sources. Heads appeared at every window and firemen dressed themselves as they hurried along the streets towards
their respective engine houses. The scene of the destroying element was readily discerned by the brilliant light which illuminated
the sky in the direction of Tumbling Run Valley. In that direction hundreds of people and the fire companies hastened their steps to
find the mammoth ice house recently rebuilt by the Knickerbocker Ice Company of Philadelphia, wrapped in a sheet of flames and in
an advanced state of destruction. The fire was first discovered by the dispatcher of the P. S. V. Company at Mount Carbon and he in
turn sent the alarm to Pottsville and the same was sounded by the court house and alarm bell and also by the shop whistle. Although
slow in receiving the alarm in town the firemen responded promptly and worked with their usual hearty good will bringing the fire
under control in about half an hour. They continued to play upon the ruins until two o'clock when the last vestige of the fire was out
and the mammoth ice barn was in ruins.
The building contained about eight thousand tons of ice originally about half of which was shipped to Philadelphia during the spring,
leaving a remainder of about four thousand tons to pass the fiery ordeal of last night. Patrick Malone, who was in charge of the
company's property here, says that when the shipping was discontinued recently the remaining ice was well covered with hay and the
place securely locked. The origin of the fire is a mystery, but it is generally believed to have been the work of incendiaries. Those
first arriving on the scene state that the door which is alleged to have been securely locked stood wide open and the flames were
streaming out that way. This would indicate that the above theory is the proper one. The salvage of ice will be comparatively small
and the loss to the company will probably reach $15,000. The house will doubtless be rebuilt at once.
|Over the years the boat houses were beset by robberies and fires as evidenced by the articles below. Eventually they
would be destroyed at the behest of the Reading Company and the resort was no more.
|Pottsville Republican of August 18, 1910
TUMBLING RUN DOOMED - ALL MUST VACATE BY 1911
"Within the next twelve months or not later than the end of next year, 1911, Tumbling Run is to be entirely closed up and vacated as a
pleasure resort; meanwhile, if desired by the Reading Company, the resort must be closed on immediate notice." This is now said to
be the understanding between the Reading Company officials and the Eastern Pennsylvania Railways Company, which latter
corporation operates the trolley roads in Pottsville and the southern section of the Schuylkill coal fields extending from Mauch
Chunk to Minersville on the east and west and to Orwigsburg on the south. In consequence of this understanding the trolley
company officials are busily engaged hunting a new location which they can turn into an uptodate pleasure resort and they
acknowledge that they have a hard proposition before them.
This order means that after next year all persons found walking off the public highway in the Tumbling Run Valley from the
Pennsylvania tracks at Mount Carbon eastward for a distance of four miles will be liable to arrest under the provisions of the state
Trespass act which enables corporations to post trespass notices on their lands without the necessity of fencing them in. Months
ago, the "Republican" announced that the Reading Company, in order to get the use of an increased water supply for their mines,
railroads and nearby towns, planned to close up Tumbling Run for public use in the near future but it is only recently that the definite
order was given to the trolley company to hunt for another location and now both corporations are acting officially with the
understanding that Tumbling Run dams will be closed to public use next year or even sooner if the conditions of the water supply for
Reading Company use would require summary action to be taken.
The public has been hoping against the indications to the contrary that the use of the Tumbling Run dams and the grounds
surrounding them, for public recreation and pleasure purposes would continue indefinitely, with possibly some close restrictions
and now not only to the transients who visit this beautiful spot day by day but also to the owners of the numerous boat houses, will
this definite announcement of the determined purpose of the Reading Company to close up Tumbling Run as a pleasure resort come
as a fearful blow that will be doubly hard because of the inability of the people and the trolley company to find a substitute place.
|Pottsville Republican of August 22, 1910
A SPLENDID SOLUTION OF TUMBLING RUN TROUBLE
We are hearing all kinds of talk about the contemplated abandonment of Tumbling Run as a pleasure resort because of the
determination of the Reading Company to use the water for domestic and industrial purposes. Some of the people around town say it
is merely a scheme of the Reading Company for some of their officials to get hold of cheap boat houses and that it will eventually be
for a select number. Credence is given to this idea because it is stated that a well known individual coal official living in Pottsville
has recently purchased two prominent boat houses and those who talk about it say that if this is done it will show that the real plans
of the Reading Company are that no one else would have access and that persons close to the head officials are talking
abandonment of Tumbling Run and quickly buying up some of the boat houses for their own personal use, knowing that they won't be
interfered with in the future.
Another declaration heard about the streets is that the Traction Company will continue to maintain the ball ground and the hotel and
run them without thought of the Reading Company orders but the people who talk thus forget that the Reading Company can bar out
everyone from access to the dam and they also likewise forget that the Traction Company is not in a position to fight the Reading
Company because of the liability of the Reading Company to retaliate in connection with the cars running over the Reading tracks up
the Heckschersville valley and over the Reading Company's people's Railway to Minersville, and over the Reading property to
Orwigsburg and they also forget that the Reading Company has a heavy interest in the Traction Company's securities, so that there is
no likelihood that the Traction Company and Reading Company will fight one another. They talk about town that the Traction Company
would continue running over the Richards' estate lands to Tumbling Run and maintain the ball park and hotel without thought of the
Reading Company's orders and this is supplemented by the statement that Landlord Kline is going to apply for liquor license for the
hotel. The answer to this is that the Traction Company will not allow granting a liquor license at Tumbling Run at any time.
Great stress is placed upon the fact that on the south side of the second dam there are the Brady, Thomas and Guldin tracts which
the Reading Company do not control. Especially is this the case with the first two named. The owners of the Brady and Thomas tracts
have had some trouble with the Reading Company and they claim that their property extends into the center of the dam to the old
saw mill site that is now covered up with water. The Reading Company policemen have attempted to warn people off these tracts but
they have been given warning themselves to keep off and the events at the Weissinger boat house, which is now located on this
individual tract, say that they are going to stay there irrespective of the Reading orders to move on. Over the use and control of the
Guldin tract there may not be so much contention with the Reading Company because the Guldin heirs are very closely associated
with Reading Company officials.
The Trolley Company officials are still endeavoring to find a new location that will take the place of Tumbling Run and which will lie
midway between the populous towns along their line. They can get parks and ballgrounds but they can not get water facilities.
Another consultation with prominent citizens about town was held on Saturday and the "Republican" suggests to these people that
they should arrange a compromise proposition and present it to the Reading Company whereby the second dam will be all fenced in
so that the Reading Company may utilize the water in this reservoir solely for domestic and manufacturing uses, further, that all of the
boat houses be removed and that no campers be allowed on the grounds surrounding the second dam at the source of supply and
this would give the Reading Company uninterrupted and uncontaminated use of the Tumbling Run supply during the season when
water is scarce.
In furtherance of this idea the Reading Company, after reserving the second dam, could then give the water for which can be
supplied from the waste way and the superabundance of the second dam and it will only happen occasionally during a dry season
that a sufficiency of water can not be maintained in the first dam. This is a solution of the whole trouble. It would give the Reading
Company the use of the water supply by means of the upper dam and the people would have a water pleasure resort in the first dam
and everybody would be happy again at only a small extra cost for removal to the new location.
|Pottsville Republican of August 24, 1910
APPROVE PLAN FOR NEW TUMBLING RUN RESORT
The "Republican" suggestion that the Reading Company use the second dam at Tumbling Run for a water supply reservoir and turn
the first dam into a pleasure resort for the general public is meeting with hearty endorsements on all sides. It is a fair proposition.
The people realize that the Reading Company should have the benefit of their ownership and be able to utilize the water supply when
they need it. On the other hand the people want the Reading Company to realize that they owe it to the public to give them a
pleasure resort and that the first Tumbling Run dam could be used for pleasure purposes without interfering with the second dam as
a public water supply reservoir. To utilize the first dam as a pleasure resort would simply mean that each one of the present boat
house owners would be put to an expense of from a few dollars up to a possible fifty dollars and in one or two instances up to a
hundred dollars to remove their boat houses from the location of today to the new location. There has always been some doubt as to
the permanence of the Tumbling Run second dam as a pleasure resort. And now for the purpose of having the matter settled
definitely and for all the time no one could reasonably object to the little expense that would be entailed upon them to change the
location and this would accommodate both the Reading Company and the local public if the Reading Company must now use the
Tumbling Run supply for domestic and industrial purposes.
What a magnificent pleasure resort could be made out of the first dam at Tumbling Run. The surrounding grounds could be laid out
in tiers of streets. The question of sanitary and other troubles could be readily arranged for in advance. The banks could be made
more sloping and a uniform shore water line could be established. On the north side between the dam and the wagon road there
would be room for two streets of houses or a nice park or both; on the south side the houses could be run in tiers along the side of
the mountain, one half dozen blocks. A splendid bath resort could be arranged on the shore on the south side and another one on
the north side directly opposite. The roadways could be so arranged that there would be a driveway over the breast of the first dam
to the regular wagon road on the north side. A splendid "shoot the chutes" could readily be arranged on the south side or in a
shallow pool below the breast of the first dam. A carousel and other amusements could be located on the old ice house site. The
cost of the amusements could be paid for by the Trolley Company, while people having boat houses could join in the beautifying
expense through assessments in connection with their leases. People having cottages on the upper tier of streets could be
provided with boat landings in connection with those houses that are located near the shore. There are all kinds of possibilities in
connection with the plan to use the first dam for a pleasure resort and the second dam for public water supply.
The first dam could be kept sweet and nice by the rain fall. Then if the Reading Company did use all of the Tumbling Run water supply
it could accumulate its domestic supply in the second dam without interference with the first dam. This plan would simply mean that
the Reading Company would lose all storage capacity of the first dam but they could still maintain ultimate use or control of the first
dam and have it arranged so that in time of dire necessity and drought the Reading Company could temporarily close up all boat
houses at the first dam, one week, one month, or until such time as the necessity for the use of water in the first dam will have
passed away. It is only once in every half a dozen years or even longer intervals that any such necessity would arise and the people
would have the trammeled use of the first Tumbling Run dam as a pleasure resort most of ten months of the year.
The Trolley Company should be quick to take hold of this suggestion of the "Republican" for it is as stated before, the only solution of
the troubles of the Reading Company and should not stand out an instant against any new arrangement. If they would stand out
against the new plans then it would put the Reading Company in the light of being unwilling in their share in accommodating the new
plans and then would be the time for action to be taken. The Reading Company's present control of the reservoirs at Tumbling Run is
no way sure as it can be taken into the courts for adjudication. This would mean more expense to the public and unnecessary
harassment and criticism on the Reading Company. This thought is not a threat but the people who have occupied their boat houses
at the second Tumbling Run dam for over twenty one years, some of them without lease and without any binding understanding and
thus acquired certain rights that can not be easily pushed to the side. Then too there are a number of claimants disputing as to the
ownership of the land bordering on the second dam and these claims can not be settled in merely entering a plea that the water must
be used for domestic purposes. All the trouble, annoyances and vexation can easily be brought to an end by the public, the Reading
Company and the Trolley Company getting together and arranging for a suitable exchange from the second to the first dam in the
event of their being a present positive necessity that the Reading Company must have the use of the Tumbling Run water.
There is no finer pleasure resort in the state of Pennsylvania than Tumbling Run and if properly handled the place could be given a
reputation that will draw strangers here and largely increase the Reading traffic and if a place for a new Tumbling Run hotel pleasure
resort was fixed on one of the knells, Tumbling Run would far exceed Eagle's Mere , Delaware water Gap, Harvey's Lake ( where
General Manager Richards summer home now is) or all the other Pennsylvania water pleasure resorts. The "Republican" has been in
consultation with some of the boat house owners and they say that there will be no trouble in getting all of the boat house people to
join in the furtherance of plans for changing the location as above indicated, while Manager Rockwell of the Trolley Company states
that it would take a couple of tons of burden off his shoulders if he could only see the pleasure resort dilemma settled, while lastly,
Land Agent K. C. Wilson of the Reading Company, states that it will be a happy moment for him when he and his assistants won't be
compelled to any longer stand in between the criticism of the public and the company's order.
The several local philanthropic organizations and especially the Merchant's Association,who at the time are in preparation for their
annual outing at Tumbling Run, likewise the Civic Society, might do well to officially take hold of this matter in conjunction with the
boat house owners and the Trolley Company and all of them get into consultation promptly with the Reading Company officials in
order to quickly bring about a definite understanding and a settlement of the Tumbling Run trouble.
|Three articles in August, 1910 foretold the end of Tumbling Run as a resort and the concerted effort to keep it as a local
|Pottsville Republican of September 8, 1891
A COLLISION AT TUMBLING RUN
Two Wagons Collide and the Occupants Thrown Out and Bruised
What might have been a serious accident had it not been for the presence of mind of a driver, occurred last night nearly opposite the
breast of the second dam at Tumbling Run. Charles Womer had taken out Mrs. Fred Gerhard, Misses Ella Brown, Elsie Geier and
Cora Mendelson to the Run and while returning after the concert was run into by Fred Brenneman's wagon. The four ladies above
named were thrown out and though not seriously injured were badly bruised. The wagons came together with such a shock that one
of them was thrown over the embankment. The horses made no attempt to get away or we might have to write up some serious
|Pottsville Republican of September 18, 1891
A NARROW ESCAPE
A Runaway Horse Madly Dashes Down the Road Leading From Tumbling Run
While William B. Townsend and his sisterinlaw, Miss Louise Kopitzsch, were returning from Tumbling Run in the neighborhood of
seven o'clock last evening, the horse he was driving became unmanageable at what is known as "Point of Rocks" and madly plunged
down the road. Mr. Townsend endeavored to get the maddened animal under control but was unable to do so. The buggy struck a
projecting rock alongside of the road and the carriage was upset, throwing the occupants down the embankment. In the fall Mr.
Townsend's collar bone was broken and his body badly bruised. Miss Kopitzsch, though badly scared, was not injured to any extent.
Her face was scratched and her arm bruised but no bones were broken. When the horse found he was free, he galloped down the
road dragging the buggy after him, which was soon smashed to pieces. When he reached Washington Street bridge he dashed
across it and made for the stable, going at a mad gallop and scaring pedestrians who were on the streets in the vicinity. Mr.
Townsend is a member of the firm of Kopitzsch and Company, soap manufacturers in this city. Dr. D.W. Bland is attending him.
|Pottsville Republican of February 2, 1892
ACCIDENT AT TUMBLING RUN
The Knickerbocker Ice Company of Philadelphia have a number of mules at Mount Carbon, sent here for the purpose of using them
on Tumbling Run dam when cutting ice. It was thought best that the mules should have some outdoor exercise as the cutting of ice
was a thing of the future. The stable boys approved of this pleasure and the mules were brought out. The riders did not retain their
seats very well, one was dislodged in the mud, escaping injury. John Cooney was not so fortunate, being thrown upon his head and
receiving a severe fracture of the skull over the right eye, lacerating the scalp and sustaining a very serious injury. The loose
fractured bones were removed and some restored to their positions, the scalp sewn up and the patient placed in bed.
|Pottsville Republican of September 2, 1892
An old resident down here, who remembers away back, Washington Frizzle, at present employed as watchman at Cape Horn on the P.
S. V. Railroad, spoke to your correspondent last night in this way: "Do you know that tomorrow will be the anniversary of the bursting
of Tumbling Run Dam?" We had to admit we did not know of such an occurrence, only by hearsay. We asked him to give us a few of
the facts, which no doubt will be of interest, especially as to dates.
"Well," continued Mr. Frizzle, "it was on the second day of September, 1850, on a Monday at 10:00. The first house to go was that of
Andrew McWilliams, the house being close to the dam, the family losing everything they had. By the way a number of the McWilliams
family are yet living." Says Mr. Frizzle," Daniel at Jersey City, a prosperous steamboat and barge owner and his brother Charles in
New Haven, Connecticut. The next house that went by the flood was that of Matthew Gibson, located near the old weigh locks on the
flat opposite the Mount Carbon passenger station. The water had risen at this point fourteen feet above high water mark and the
Gibson family were taken out of their house at the greatest peril by small boats, the roof had to be broken in in order to get portions
of the family to places of safety. Benjamin Kline, who lived with his family at the toll gate, his house was also swept away. The house
of John O'Donnell, on the west side, was turned completely around. All cattle from Mount Carbon to Schuylkill Haven were drowned
and swept down with the flood. The damage to the Schuylkill Navigation Company and the people along the canal amounted to
hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the canal boats were carried up into fields where they became total wrecks. All the
people in the immediate vicinity of the flood had to run for their lives and many other narrow escapes were reported at the time.
Patrick Malone, one of the oldest citizens around here, stood on the high archway of the P. & R. main line looking at the mad waters
rushing down, as were interested spectators."
Your correspondent next asked Mr. Frizzle how long it took the large body of water to pass through the dam? "Just one hour and a
half. At half past eleven you could walk across the lower dam as it was high and dry." The next question asked was where did the
principal break occur in the dam, Mr. Frizzle? "Right in the middle of the breast and everybody knew Elwood Morris at that time and
for years after, he was the chief engineer of the Schuylkill Canal." Mr. Frizzle was asked the principal cause of the catastrophe. He
assured us it was given out then as a "cloudburst" which caused so much devastation through the Schuylkill Valley. The history of
the damages would be very interesting reading at this time, especially of the many hair breadth escapes from drowning.
|Pottsville Republican of July 26, 1892
WILLIAM MONTGOMERY DROWNED - At the Upper Tumbling Run Dam While Swimming to Shore
A sad drowning accident occurred at the Upper Tumbling Run dam yesterday afternoon, whereby William Montgomery, aged twenty
three years, residing with his father at 115 North Twelfth Street, lost his life by sinking suddenly in the water without a word of
warning to any of his companions who were quite close at the time. As near as can be ascertained the drowning took place at 3:30
o'clock, when the news spread on our streets. Coroner Clemens being acquainted with the facts by a "Republican" reporter, he
immediately set out for the big dam where parties had been grappling for Montgomery, having succeeded in their efforts about 5:40
o'clock. The body was placed in the Mystic boat house pending the deposition of the coroner. Shoener Brothers removed the
remains to their undertaking rooms and the lifeless body was taken home to the sorrowing family about 9:00 o'clock.
Deputy Coroner Clemens summoned the following jury: J. M. Madison, Francis Alstatt, Felix Strouse, George Weaver, Isaac Bensinger
and John McElrath. The testimony was taken at Clemens drug store. The depositions of William Bray, George Aregood and J. W.
Eisenhuth were taken, which showed that Aregood and Montgomery put on bathing suits and had taken out their boat from the
Crescent boat house for the purpose of washing it and turned it bottom upward. The two men were about twenty feet from land and
Montgomery attempted to swim to shore when the drowning accident occurred. He never rose after he went down and the heat of
the day is supposed to be the sudden cause of his sinking. Montgomery was seen to sink by Aregood who was powerless to help
him. A grappling hook was procured and Eisenhuth succeeded in bringing the lifeless remains to the top of the water, when it was
taken to the boat house nearby to await the action of the coroner.
The jury, after hearing all the facts of the case returned the following verdict: "That the said William Montgomery came to his death by
accidental drowning in the second Tumbling Run dam." Until recently the deceased had been in business on East Norwegian Street,
the firm being Wolford and Montgomery, steam fitters and plumbers. The most heartfelt sympathy is expressed on all sides for the
sorrowing parents, who feel their loss keenly.
|Pottsville Republican of May 12, 1893
TUMBLING RUN - It Will Be a Famous Summer Resort - Improvements of This Season
"If we had Tumbling Run, we would make it one of the most famous summer resorts in the state." This was said several years ago to a
reporter by one of the prominent officials of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company. There is no doubt that the Lehigh Valley would
have done this, for that company is never slow to take advantage of a chance to increase its passenger traffic. But Tumbling Run has
been slowly forging ahead and despite the opposition that has met all attempts to make it a summer resort on the part of people
connected with the Reading Company and the summer resort boom in the city of Reading, our beautiful valley is destined to become
The season of 1893 opens on May 18 and will find Tumbling Run transformed into a regular excursion and picnic paradise. There are
at present twenty four boat houses on the upper dam and another is being built. These are all private concerns however, and it is at
the old Lauer farm the public will look for pleasure and recreation. During the past year, some very great improvements have been
made and now Pottsville can safely she has a resort worthy of the town. This spring the park has been completely transformed and it
is now a beautiful excursion ground with many attractions to please and draw crowds. The dancing platform in the old park has been
enlarged and turned into a comfortable pavilion. A large force of men are now at work repairing the paths and terraces and fixing up
the grounds around the carousel and by the latter part of the month the whole park will be in perfect condition.
The carousel or flying circus is one of the recent improvements which will become popular among young and old. The building is
located in the big field directly facing the dam. It is a beautiful building from an architectural point of view. The machinery is all of the
latest pattern and the horses and cars will whirl around to the time of sweet music which will come from a large steam organ. The
carousel also runs by steam. There is plenty of room in the interior of the building and comfortable seats are provided for those who
want to rest and look on the gay revel. On the top of the building is a large platform surrounded by a railing. This forms a splendid
observatory and one can sit here and enjoy refreshments and the most beautiful scenery in Pennsylvania at the same time.
But high above this is the Hotel Tumbling Run, with its picturesque gables and gay colors. This hotel has been fitted up with the
special object of accommodating summer guests from the cities, people who prefer the mountains to the seashore. There are thirty
rooms in the hotel, all tastefully furnished in oak. On the second floor, there are also several cozy sitting rooms and a pretty parlor.
On the ground floor are the office, bar, restaurant, and hotel dining rooms, all fitted up with an eye to the beautiful, convenience and
comfort. The dining rooms (there are three which can be thrown into one) will seat sixty guests. The kitchens are in the rear and are
all fitted up with the latest improvements.
A wide piazza surrounds the house and in the rear a pleasant summer garden has been fitted up. It is the intention also to turn one
of the lawns into a tennis court and a portion of an adjoining field will be devoted to baseball and other field sports. In the rear of the
hotel the Pottsville Gun Club has its grounds and practice regularly there every week. The Hotel Tumbling Run will be filled with
guests this season, many rooms having already been engaged. It is also stated that a number of excursions are being arranged and
the prospects are that Tumbling Run will outshine Lakeside Park this year.
For these, the latest and biggest improvements at Tumbling Run, credit is due to the enterprise of William Weissinger, who had the
grit to take the suggestions made by the "Republican" and determined to make it a place worthy of the investment. He has
succeeded admirably. The proprietor of the hotel, Mr. Kline, is also a man of enterprise and he feels that he will have many guests
this summer. We are reliably informed that boating will be good this year; that the dam will be allowed to fill up as soon as the repairs
are made to the wickets and that the owners of boat houses will enjoy the privileges for which they pay. The extension of the electric
road to a point of a wagon road just opposite the hotel is a big improvement and picnickers will now be let down within a few steps of
the park and carousel.
|Pottsville Republican of June 14, 1893
TUMBLING RUN DAM - The Cause of Trouble - Thousands of Small Fish Destroyed
Chief Engineer Smith of the Schuylkill Navigation, who was up at Tumbling Run yesterday, found on investigating that the leak at the
breast of the second dam was caused by the wicket being screwed down too tight allowing the water to run over it. The valve was
fixed and the dam will be allowed to fill up again. It was a stupid blunderer who put the wicket in this shape and it was a shame that it
could not be discovered before the water was entirely drawn off. The drawing off of the water has caused more trouble and
displeasure than was expected. The pot hunters went out there and caught large quantities of all kinds of fish. Some held their nets
at the lower side of the second breast and when they were filled with fish dumped them on the bank and picked out the largest. They
left the little ones to rot under a hot sun.
|Pottsville Republican of July 19, 1893
AT TUMBLING RUN - The Dam Turned Into a Meadow - Picnics and Band Concerts
Grass growing on the bottom of the valley that generally holds a giant sheet of water, is a sight many old men never saw before this
year at Tumbling Run. The bottom of the second dam for almost three fourths of its length is a meadow today, with a very insipid
stream winding its lazy way through the center. Yesterday only one boat was out on the dam, but notwithstanding the want of water
the place is beautiful, cool and restful and a day spent there is certainly well spent. The carousel was going, the hotel was lively and
several picnic parties were in the grove. Quite a few of the boat houses also contained picnic parties. Still Tumbling Run is not the
resort it should be. The electric railway people are about as much to blame as any one. It seems funny how they stand in their own
light. People will prefer to ride in open cars and they don't run open cars on the mountain road this year. The result is that they are
losing a good many nickels because people out for pleasure take the summer cars and ride for ten cents. If the summer cars ran to
Tumbling Run, they would go there and pay five cents more. Then too, people are not permitted to stay out beyond an early hour at
night even when there is a band concert. Last week the cars were to run until eleven o'clock. Some of the conductors gave the
people to understand that ten o'clock was the latest hour. There is no reason why there should not be a crowd there every time
there is a concert and during the afternoons, when there is so much pleasure for the children. There will be a concert this evening
by the Third Brigade band, the last before they go to camp. A good band stand is there for them and now there are plenty of seats in
the park for the people who want to listen. The grounds will be well lighted this evening.
|LAST UPDATED: APRIL 6
|Pottsville Republican of March 30, 1894
FINE SUMMER RESORT - This Is What Tumbling Run Is To Become
DREAMS OF YEARS TO BE REALIZED - A Mammoth Hotel to be Erected and a Big Park to be Laid Out on Second Mountain
- A Gravity Road - Big Scheme With Big Backing
At last there appears to be reason to believe that Pottsville is to become as famous a summer resort as it will be in years to come as
the metropolitan of the anthracite coal region. Everybody who pretends to know anything about the coal interests, believes that
Pottsville will one day become the greatest inland city in the state, east of the Alleghenies and while many have seen its advantages
as a summer and excursion resort, few had dared to hope that anything would be done in that line. The Philadelphia and Reading
Railroad Company was the only great concern that could bring such a desired condition about and everything that has been done by
that company heretofore seemed to prove conclusively that the grand and picturesque scenery in this vicinity possessed no value in
the eyes of the men who control the destiny of the big corporation. For that reason alone the tide of pleasure travel toward
Pottsville and the beautiful Tumbling Run Valley will possess great new interest for the people who have grown accustomed to
scenery and natural beauty that would be considered a paradise by the people living in the close quarters of the brick and mortar of
our big cities.
The "Republican" has been assured that Pottsville is to be made a great summer resort and that, too, by and with the aid of the
Reading Company. The project, we understand, has been fully considered and though not definitely settled, is so near it that parties
from the inner circle of the scheme are whispering it to their friends, and when today a "Republican" representative had cornered a
man, who was sure to know, in such a way as to prevent escape, that gentleman acknowledged that the scheme was in progress.
The plan, as we have learned it, is to erect a mammoth hotel on the very top of the Second Mountain, just above the second Tumbling
Run dam. The whole top of the mountain is to be arranged into a large park and the hotel is to be so situated as to give it a
magnificent view. The hotel will be reached by a gravity road that will be built to take in as much of the beautiful scenery surrounding
Pottsville as possible and everything will be done to make the place popular as a summer resort for people, who now spend months
at big expense places that have grown famous, but have not near the natural features as Tumbling Run.
It is also intended, we understand, to make such improvements all around the vicinity of Tumbling Run, as will make it an attraction
for excursionists. The place is peculiarly adapted for such an enterprise. It is within pleasant riding distance from Philadelphia and
the attractions could be made so numerous and pleasant as to make it the most celebrated resort between this city and Williamsport.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad has many excursion resorts but nothing like Tumbling Run promises and the way it has been neglected by
the Reading has always caused much comment by the officials of other companies.
We were not able to learn the names of the capitalists who are at the bottom of this arrangement but we are assured that they are
principally Philadelphia and New York men and that they have succeeded in getting the management of the Reading Company stirred
up to a point of enthusiasm that promises to bring their plans to a speedy and profitable climax.
|Pottsville Republican of August 2, 1894
ELECTRIC CARS COLLIDE - On the Tumbling Run Road Above Reichert's and Were Wrecked
Shortly after noon additional summer cars were put on the Tumbling Run division of the electric road and in rounding the curve
above Reichert's, cars 60 and 66 came in collision and were slightly wrecked. Fortunately, very few passengers were on at the time.
Henry G. Jungkurth, the saloon keeper on South Centre Street, met with a slight accident with his leg being scraped and Joseph
Longinus, the machinist, of 1320 West Norwegian Street, was injured in the stomach by jumping. Car 60 had her lower running gears
displaced, drawhead and brake gear twisted. Car 66 had her front battered in and was worse in appearance than 60. The cars were
of the Saint Louis build and of the white color. The cause of the accident is attributed to irresponsible employees taking charge at
the time and not carrying out instructions. A force of repairmen was set to work to put the cars in condition on the tracks of the
company near the power house. Conductor Glassmire and Motorman Montgomery and Conductor Warmkessel and Motorman Calvin
Sigfried were in charge of the wrecked cars at the time of the collision.
|Pottsville Republican of December 22, 1910
THE THIRD DAM AT TUMBLING RUN
The "Republican" announcement last evening that there was to be a third Tumbling Run dam, which would save the present Tumbling
Run pleasure resort to the people and at the same time furnish water for Schuylkill Haven and Cressona, was received with great
surprise and marked gratification by all classes of people and everyone was greatly pleased with t his kind of a Christmas present
from the Reading Company.
But the new water supply for Schuylkill Haven won't come in time for this Christmas, so that the people down there may be compelled
to do like some of the thrifty housekeepers have been doing heretofore, and this is no joke, they may have to melt snow in order to
get water to do their Christmas cooking and to baste the turkey while it is roasting. However, they can all see a good supply ahead
now, and if the borough councils of the two towns and the Reading Company and the Schuylkill Haven Water Company get together
after the first of the year and sign the contract that is now being arranged and put into legal form, then most of the troubles as far as
water supply are likely to gradually pass away, so that by this time next year the people of the southern end of the county will then
have pretty well forgotten that they were shy of water so much in the past.
There are some ugly stories afloat about heavy defalcations by the old management, whereby the Schuylkill Haven Gas and water
Company has lost many thousands of dollars and the new manager, Mr. McKnight, who also superintends the Pottsville Gas Company
is quoted as saying that by the old time practices of some of the previous officials helping themselves, that the Schuylkill Haven Gas
and water Company has lost more money than would have been required to build a couple reservoirs. It seems, from the stories told,
that there was no regular auditing done of the company's finances and that any official could collect money on water rent bills, tear
off the receipts, hand it to the customer, pocket the stub and use the cash for their own use without making any returns to the
company. Under the McKnight management, the discovery has been made that scores and scores of the consumers either produce
charges paid that were never credited.
It is quite common these days for the good people of Schuylkill Haven and Cressona to get bills for water charges that they paid a
long time ago in advance and this is what Superintendent McKnight is trying to fix up now, and he is having a picnic to say the least,
for the people not only scold him and his subordinates about the shortage of water, but also because of the presentation of bills for
water charges that were a long time ago paid. And the worst of the trouble is that while under the new arrangement with the Reading
Company, there will be a plentiful supply of water hereafter for the townspeople, yet the old Water Company will lose their heaviest
consumers by the Reading Company arranging to supply their own shops and storage plant with water at the same time they are
furnishing water to the towns. Heretofore, the Reading Company's water supply for that section was in large part furnished through
the Water Company's mains and this was a great source of revenue. Now the company intends to furnish its own water for its own
One of the reasons why the Reading Company has agreed to put up the third reservoir at Tumbling Run is for the purpose of
furnishing better fire protection to its various industrial plants in this vicinity so that hereafter they will not entirely be at the mercy of
the flames, as was the case at the recent Schuylkill Haven shop fire, when there was no pressure in the pipes and very little water at
that, not sufficient to reach half way up a light pole.
|Pottsville Republican of August 14, 1895
ARRESTED AT TUMBLING RUN
Paul Gruenke, manager of the Hotel
Tumbling Run, brought a prosecution
against Patrick Galligan of Fishbach, last
evening before Squire J. H. Fister, for
disturbing the peace and assault and
battery. Galligan and a number of his
friends were at the Run yesterday
afternoon and raised a disturbance and
were told to leave but instead of doing
so Galligan struck Manager Gruenke a
blow with his fist to his neck. The
Squire, after hearing the case, placed
Galligan under $300 bail. G. C. Schrink
became his bondsman. Henry Binckley,
the special officer at the Run, made the
|Gettysburg Peoples Press of July 3, 1835
DEATH BY DROWNING
Mr. William Hazzard of the firm of J. T. & W. Hazzard, merchants of Pottsville, Pennsylvania was drowned a day or two since under the
following circumstances. He had gone out in company of a friend on a fishing excursion to Tumbling Run Dam, a large reservoir of
water in the neighborhood of Pottsville, and while engaged in fishing, his umbrella was blown into the water some distance from the
shore, when he immediately undressed, swam out and secured it, but on returning, his companion, who was at a considerable
distance off heard him utter a cry of distress, but before he could render him any assistance, the deceased sunk to rise no more. He
was in all probability attacked by the cramp, a malady which so frequently proves fatal to swimmers. His body was recovered as soon
as possible but not until several hours had elapsed, when all hopes of resuscitation were at an end.
|Wellsboro Agitator of February 1, 1905
ROBBERY AT TUMBLING RUN
Motorman Walter Scott and Conductor Elvin Sterner were bringing a trolley car from Tumbling Run to Pottsville recently, when a man
jumped upon the front platform and threw Scott off the car. When Sterner came to his motorman's assistance, the intruder drew a
revolver and forced Sterner to jump off the car. All this time the car was running at a high rate of speed. Sterner, after leaving the
car, went to the nearest telephone and sent this message into headquarters: " A masked robber has stolen our car." At Sterner's
suggestion the power was cut off form the division and that stopped the car. The robber fled leaving his hat behind.
|Frederick News of August 31, 1911
LEAPS TO LAKE BUT IS SAVED
Girl Tries Suicide Because Wedding is Delayed
Angered because her lover, John Philliston, put off carrying out his intention to marry her, Miss Clara Boyster, aged twenty three
years, tried to commit suicide by throwing herself from the high breast of the upper Tumbling Run lake, a pleasure resort, into fifty
five feet of water. The attempt at suicide was made in sight of many picnickers. The girl was out walking with her lover and suddenly
broke away from him and ran toward the lake, declaring she would take her life. When his sweetheart made her desperate leap,
Philliston was close behind. Losing no time, he jumped in and supported her despite her pleading to let her end her troubles. Peter
Pfeiffer, a fisherman, C. Fred Cauffman and several others in boats dragged the couple ashore. A half hour later the couple walked
from the water's edge, arm in arm, a complete reconciliation having been effected. It is believed the long delayed wedding will now
|Pottsville Republican of July 17, 1911
BOYS ALMOST CAUSE RIOT - Stone Officer Weissinger at Ball Game - Man Tries to Release Prisoner
A number of small boys, the majority from Palo Alto, almost caused a riot at the ball game at Tumbling Run Park. During the afternoon
they persisted in getting on the fence and although ordered down several times, they finally dares the officers to put them away.
After a great deal of trouble they were all put off and in order to get even with the officers, who were performing their duty, they
started to throw stones. Officer Weissinger was made the target for a regular bombardment. He was hit at least twelve or fourteen
times. Placing several of his assistants to watch the boys, he had one finally pointed out to him. Going through the gate, he went
after the boys, and before he ever laid hands on him the boy exclaimed, "I didn't throw the stones." Weissinger took him in charge
and started with him for the trolley car, followed by a crowd of several hundred men and boys. It was while coming down the steps an
elderly man from Palo Alto undertook to take the boy away from the officer. This man, after attempting to pull the boy away,tried to
take the officer's club from him. Officer Weissinger called to another officer to take the man while he held on to the boy. After
considerable excitement both the man and the boy were placed aboard the car and brought in to police headquarters. Alderman
McCool was summoned and gave the two a preliminary hearing. At first both claimed that they had done nothing wrong, but later the
man acknowledged he was guilty and the boy that he had thrown stones. The case is not settled and another hearing will probably be
held tomorrow night. The boy stated his name was Nolan and that he was fourteen years of age. His father is dead and for the past
four years he has been making his home with relatives. Young Nolan was one of a gang who were determined to see the ball game
without paying admission.
|Pottsville Republican of September 18, 1911
BOAT HOUSES ROBBED AT RUN
Boat house thieves are again operating at Tumbling Run and during the night three houses were entered and ransacked of their
contents, a large quantity of crockery and dishes being either broken or carried away by the thieves and a number of valuable
articles of furniture being stolen. The houses robbed were those of Harry Drumheller, Frank Roseberry and the Miehle estate. In
each instance the locks were broken off and entrance gained to the houses in this way. The robbers evidently worked without
molestation and took their time as they went through the houses very thoroughly and pulled out drawers and cleaned closets
containing household goods which were kept at the houses for the convenience of the owners.
When the discovery was made this morning and the news communicated to the police, a diligent search was started for the thieves
who are believed to have been tramps. Other boat house owners commented upon the fact that although they are required to pay
large rentals for their Run property, they are accorded absolutely no protection by the P. & R. Company, who could very well afford to
place an officer at the Run permanently. The owners of boat houses are not permitted to spend the night in their boat houses and
when the last car leaves the Run at night, the houses are at the mercy of the thieves, local and transient, who may desire to break
into and go through them. Each winter in recent years robbers have entered a number of boat houses and it appears as though the
local gang, if last night's work was theirs, have started operations at an earlier date than usual this year. Some of the house owners
who do not intend to spend many more days at the Run before the close of the season will remove the equipment of their houses to
their town residences for protection from thieves.
|The Pottsville Republican of September 23, 1911
INSPECT BREAST OF DAMS AT RUN
The breasts of the two Tumbling Run dams are to be thoroughly inspected and for this purpose the water will be gradually drawn out,
the first dam is down three or four feet and the second dam is down a foot and a half. If necessary the entire accumulation of water
will be drawn out and that a complete examination may be made of the embankments should any flaws be discovered near the top.
This drawing out of the entire water of the two dams may or may not be just according as the inspection work will require. This
thorough inspection is the outgrowth of the rumors that seemed to spring up all of a sudden a month ago that there was a big crack
in one of the embankments and the Reading Company is not going to take any chances but will take advantage of the fall weather to
make sure of the permanency of the Tumbling Run dams so that if anything wrong is now discovered, that the matter can be
remedied before it is necessary next spring to fill up the reservoirs. The first dam will be inspected first so that it will not interfere
with the ice crop.
Another reason that is assigned for this drawing out of water from the Tumbling Run dams that is unofficially given out is in time with
the purpose of the Reading Company to show that the water is needed for the old canal purposes at Port Clinton. Still another
reason given out is that the heavy flow of water from the Tumbling Run dams is intended to flush out the summer's accumulation
along the water bed through the various towns enroute to seaboard.
The drawing of the water is disturbing the fish and in consequences the fishermen are busily engaged trying to catch what they can
out of both dams. Those fishermen have become so numerous that the State Police have been consulted and there is a likelihood
that the police may be put on patrol to stop the practice. Although officially the pleasure season is over, yet Tumbling Run matters
continue to prove of great interest to all the inhabitants of this section. The boat house people are provoked because of the scant
schedules given to the Tumbling Run division.
Some of the boat house people say that their instructions are that they are not to use their boat houses after October 1st. Others say
that the way they understand, it is that the second six months of the year commences with October and that they can go ahead and
use their boat houses the same as usual without having any of the regular lease rules prevail; that is, they can't make any complaints
for lack of trolley service or height of water but must accept everything as they find it, but particularly they are not allowed to heat
their boat houses or use fire for anything other than just temporary cooking. This is said to be as a preventative against
|The Pottsville Republican of July 3, 1912
BATHERS SHOULD BE CAREFUL
Drowning accidents are now frequent and in order to take extra precaution at Tumbling Run during the bathing season, some plan
should be adopted whereby lives might be saved. Last Sunday two persons were rescued who were in an exhausted condition. One
was a young man who was swimming around Sandy Beach when his bathing suit became detached in some manner and wrapped the
legs of the suit around about his limbs, which rendered him helpless. If it had not been for the vigilance of the Ferret boat house
boys he might have been drowned. They came to his assistance just in time.
Another man was from Saint Clair who was crossing from the beach and misjudging the distance, found when part way across, that he
required help. He called for a boat and some of the ever welcome corks from the Ferret boat house were thrown out to him which,
kept him up until they arrived. Corks and rings are always found at the Ferret. At but little cost, it is said, a raft could be placed in the
middle of the dam between the beach, which would give all those who desire distance swimming an opportunity to stop at this raft
while crossing, giving them much needed rest and at the same time it would relieve the crowds on the beach, for many of the bathers
would like nothing better than to dive from the raft and remain out at that point in preference to staying on the beach. It might be
well to take up a subscription for this purpose and the raft built in a few hours would be ready for the Fourth of July sports. The raft
could be anchored at a convenient place and wires run to it from the electric light wire, thus giving those who roam about in the dark
a place of safety as well as warning to all boats passing at night.
|The Pottsville Republican of July 10, 1912
DIRECT NO MORE SWIMMING AT RUN
No more swimming at Tumbling Run is the order issued Wednesday morning. That means the hundreds of persons daily who during
the summer season, found enjoyment in the water of both dams will be denied this much coveted privilege. A number of rumors are
afloat as to the cause of the order issued by the P. & R. C. & I. Company. One source has it that the reservoirs of the company are
running low and that the water from both dams will be used to supply the collieries and it is the intention of the company to keep the
water as near pure as possible. Another source has it that the order was issued to prevent any more fatalities such as occurred
during the present week. Still a third source was to the effect that the state inspector of streams was after the company for allowing
the water to become contaminated in case it would be necessary to use it for drinking purposes. This however, is hardly probable,
as the water was condemned some time ago when the residents of Schuylkill Haven and Cressona wanted their supply from this
source and the reasons for its condemnation have not altered in the meantime.
|The Pottsville Republican of July 24, 1912
LITTLE HOPE FOR SWIMMERS
The Committee of the Pottsville Merchants Association appointed to confer with the officials of the Reading Company with reference
to the recent order prohibiting swimming at Tumbling Run, held a conference Tuesday evening with General Manager Richards. The
committee declined to give out any information with reference to the meeting until they have made their official report to the
merchants at their meeting Monday night. It is given that the committee were given to understand that the action was not due to any
desire of the Reading Company to deprive Pottsville people of any of their rights or pleasures but on the other hand was in order to
conform with the State Department of Health laws with reference to the public water supply. While the Tumbling Run water is not
used directly for domestic purposes, it is indirectly used for such purposes in time of low water. Several weeks ago it became
necessary to pump from the Tumbling Run reservoirs in order to replenish some of the small storage reservoirs that supply the
collieries of the company with water. These storage reservoirs are also used to supply the people of the mining patches with their
water supply so that the state department will not tolerate swimming in the Tumbling Run dams.
Although the water shed at Tumbling Run has been officially condemned on account of the numerous farms up the valley, it is
understood that the state has no objection to the water being used in the event of a drought if it is examined and found to be pure
enough for that purpose. It is understood that the committee was given little hope if any of swimming taking place in the future.
|The Call of October 4, 1935
TUMBLING RUN DAMS NOW DRY
The large bodies of water that for many years were banked behind the two breasts of the Tumbling Run Dam in the Tumbling Run
Valley were released recently and the dams are now entirely empty. This action was taken in order to purify the water in the dams so
that it can be used for drinking water purposes. The removal of the water was made necessary in order that the fish could be taken
from the dam. This work was done last week by employees of the State Fish Commission. Fish Culturist Stone and his assistants
removed eighty truckloads of fish from the dams. These fish have been distributed among the numerous streams and dams in the
county. The fish were removed by draining all the water from the two large dams. Nets were stretched over the runways through
which the water was drained off. The work of removing the fish was started on Tuesday and completed on Sunday afternoon. The
majority of fish removed were as follows: perch from two to ten inches, suckers from six to fourteen inches, catfish from two to
fourteen inches, some small bass and a few trout. It was reported that few large fish were removed.
|The Call of October 26, 1945
PURCHASE OF DAMS APPROVED BY PUC
The proposed purchase of Tumbling Run dams Schuylkill Haven borough water and gas department for $100,000 was approved by the
Public Utility Commission following a hearing held this week at Harrisburg. The purchase includes the two dams, the lands along the
dams and along the creek above the dams that were owned by the Silver Creek water Company. It also includes a pumping station
and a pipeline. As soon as the final settlement is made to the Silver Creek Water Company, arrangements will be made to connect
the dams with the borough line which runs to Mount Carbon.
Under the terms of a covenant running with the Tumbling Run dams, the Blythe Township Authority has the right to use the dams as a
supplemental source of supply. The Blythe Authority has the right to 250,000,000 gallons of water per year by the payment of $2500
per year for any quantity up to 200,000,000 gallons and five cents per thousand gallons for any quantity in excess of that amount up to
a maximum of 250,000,000 gallons per year. Under the water situation existing before the purchase, Schuylkill Haven reservoir
didn't have enough water for its year round needs and had to sign a long term contract with the Pottsville Water Company to supply
water during drought periods. This contract runs until 1957. After that time, with the Tumbling Run dams and the Panther Valley
reservoir, Schuylkill Haven will have enough water and will not have to look for other sources during dry periods.
|Pottsville Republican of November 16, 1945
BOROUGH GIVES CHECK FOR $100,000 FOR TUMBLING RUN DAMS
Yesterday at 11:00 in the morning, the two Tumbling Run dams and surrounding land became the property of the Schuylkill Haven
borough. At the time, according to the plan of the borough solicitor as given at the regular monthly meeting of the borough council
on Monday night at town hall, a certified check for $100,000 was to be given to the Silver Creek Water Company as payment in full for
the dams and the watershed.
|The Call of March 23, 1945
BOROUGH BUYS TUMBLING RUN RESERVOIR, LAND AND EQUIPMENT FOR $100,000
Purchase Will Assure Adequate Supply Of Good Water
The two Tumbling Run dams and the watershed in that vicinity was authorized to be purchased from the Silver Creek Water Company
by the borough for $100,000 by action taken by the borough council at an adjourned meeting on Monday evening. The purchase was
approved in order that the town might have an adequate water supply and not be dependent upon other water companies in dry
All members of council were present and approved the ordinance authorizing the purchase of the dams and watershed, including all
improvements, facilities and equipment from the Silver Creek water Company. This includes 228 acres of land in Tumbling Run Valley
in North Manheim and Blythe Townships, 1300 acres of land in the Tumbling Run Valley in the vicinity of the reservoirs, the pumping
station, all equipment and pipelines including about 15,000 feet of twelve inch cast iron pipe, extending from the pumping station to
the valve at the lower end of the Saint Clair Yards of the Reading Company and all franchises and rights held by the Silver Creek
Water Company. The ordinance must now go the Public Service Commission for approval. Schuylkill Haven has been using Tumbling
Run water to supply the ordinance plant at Cressona, so there will be no added expense in connecting the newly purchased dams to
the borough's twelve inch main which runs to Mount Carbon. With the acquisition of the Tumbling Run dams, Schuylkill Haven will
have a bountiful supply of good water. The other source of supply, the Panther Valley reservoir, was not adequate to supply the
needs of the borough and considerable amounts of water had to be purchased from outside utilities, especially during the dry
Among the contracts assumed by the borough with the purchase is one to supply the Blythe Township Authority with a maximum of
250,000,000 gallons per year. John Edling, Superintendent of the Gas and water Department of the borough stated that it will
probably be about July before the final arrangements will be completed and the borough begins the operation of its acquired
property. The Finance Committee of the borough is planning the financing of the purchase. If the Light Department setup permits,
the funds in its sinking funds will be turned over to council and not much money will have to be borrowed. With the increased
demand for water in the borough and vicinity, the purchase of this additional source of water was a timely move on the part of
|The Call of September 15, 1950
BODY FOUND IN TUMBLING RUN
The body of Charles S. Gehrig, 23, of 525 Mahantongo Street in Pottsville, a Schuylkill Haven native, was recovered on Sunday at
10:15 in the evening from the first Tumbling Run dam by a crew of searchers after the youth had been missing since 10:30 p. m.
Saturday. Grappling hooks were used for seven hours by nearby residents, Schuylkill Haven borough employees and Pennsylvania
State Police, to bring the body to the surface. The youth's body was found about five feet from the pier at the west end of the dam in
about forty five feet of water. A suicide note was found on the embankment at 3:15 p. m. by Frank Matthews of Port Carbon, and a
check at his home proved that Gehrig had not been home on Saturday evening. The note was addressed to Mother, Russell and
John and stated, " Everything will end the same sooner or later. It might as well be now. The insurance is for mother. I owe Phil $60.
So long Phil, you are a wonderful guy." Charles Gehrig. Russell and John Gehrig are brothers of the deceased.
Jerry Phillips and Francis Phillips of Pottsville; David Nicastro of Mount Carbon and William Nevils of 249 Haven Street and Ike Gehrig
of 323 South Garfield Avenue, the latter an uncle of the youth, recovered the body. When recovered, Gehrig's trousers were filled
with rocks and the ankles tied together with a necktie. Investigation as to the boy's motive for suicide revealed that he had been
"studying too hard."
The deceased was born in Schuylkill Haven, a son of Mrs. Hattie Knapp Gehrig and the late John Gehrig. His father died in 1928. He
was a graduate of Girard College in Philadelphia in 1944 and later attended Brown Preparatory School in Philadelphia. He attended
the Schuylkill Undergraduate Center from 1948 to 1949 where he was an honor student and editor of the school paper. During the
past summer, he was waterfront director at the YMCA camp. During World War Two he served with the U. S. Navy as radio operator
for two years. He had been employed in the editorial department of the Pottsville Republican for a short time. Funeral services were
held on Wednesday afternoon from the Ruch Funeral Chapel in Pottsville at the convenience of the family and burial was made in the
Union Cemetery in Schuylkill Haven. The Reverend Cyril Stone officiated.
|Pottsville Republican of May 1, 1952
SKULL FOUND; NOW SEEKING SKELETON
Schuylkill Haven State Police scoured the mountain south of Middleport, Thursday, in an unsuccessful effort to locate any parts of a
skeleton that might be connected to the skull found Wednesday afternoon. Troopers William Hines and Joseph Reed, under the
command of Sergeant William Keuch, checked stripping pits, abandoned bootleg holes and surrounding wooded area but could not
find no trace of a skeleton. The skull, presumed to be that of an adult, will be turned over to a local pathologist this afternoon
for study in an attempt to determine sex and age. At first the skull was thought to be that of Jerome Coonan of Tamaqua, who
disappeared fifteen years ago Tuesday and was never located. The Coonan theory was discounted when it was revealed the boy was
two years old when he disappeared.
|Pottsville Republican of July 22, 1911
NEW SEA WAVE RIDE AT TUMBLING RUN
A new feature will be added at Tumbling Run, that well known and popular device known as a Sea Wave. During the recent Coney
Island fire, the owners of this machine decided not to run the risk of having their wave destroyed, it having cost them $5,000, and
knowing that Pennsylvania had no large Sea wave in any of its interior towns, decided to locate the same in some large park in this
state. That Tumbling Run was to be selected for the location of this up to date device was not thought of. However, the management
was informed that Tumbling Run was the fortunate park. The machine occupies a space of forty by ten feet. It has a dip of ten feet
while in motion, which is enjoyed by young as well as older people. The building opposite the dancing pavilion has been purchased
in order to obtain sufficient room. That building will be removed at once in order to make way for the erection of the machine. It was
the intention of the owners to furnish music while the machine would be in operation with their large military organ but on account of
its close proximity to the dancing pavilion and in order not to spoil the orchestra music while dances are in progress, the local
management decided not to install the organ.
|Pottsville Republican of August 29, 1911
GIRL JUMPED INTO DAM - Following Lovers' Quarrel Tried To End Her Life
"Let me end my miserable life." With these words a well known young woman of the Fifth Ward, last evening shortly before seven
o'clock, jumped from the breast of the upper Tumbling Run Dam into about ten or twelve feet of water and in an instant was lost to
view. Her body no sooner sank then a well known resident of the Tumbling Run Valley plunger in after her, and with the assistance of
another man, who was fishing on the bank nearby, succeeded in getting her out. It was the intention of the woman to commit suicide
and the fact that she did not succeed is due to the efforts of her lover, the young man who rescued her.
The woman, who is about 22 or 23 years of age, threatened to take her life but no attention was paid to the threat. Last evening,
following a lovers quarrel, the woman left the house and unobserved by the lover, who followed, found her way to the breast of the
dam. She was attired in a white shirt waist with a brown skirt but wore no hat. At the time she was about to throw herself into the
waters, a row boat containing two young ladies and a young man was less than thirty feet away, and these occupants were called
upon to witness the attempt at self destruction. Immediately after the young man plunged in and caught hold of the body of the
woman, he started to call for assistance. The steam launch was also nearby and it went to the assistance of the pair but before it
reached the spot, both the two men and the woman were on shore. Thanking the man who helped to get the woman out, both the
lover and the woman started in the direction of Mount Carbon. According to the reports, the mother of the woman, hearing of the
incident, went to the house where her daughter was being sheltered, but was denied admission. She made an attempt to summon
some of the county officials, but did not succeed, as there was no crime committed. According to the latest reports, the woman had
relented of her doings and was sorry for her attempted rash act.
|Pottsville Republican of December 21, 1912
READING COMPANY GETS BROKHOFF FARM
Within the past several weeks, the Mountain View Hotel on the road to Tumbling Run, has twice changed hands and back of this real
estate deal lies an interesting story. Victor Freed purchased the property from the owner who had the place last season, Charles
Keeny, and later sold the place to William Brokhoff, who intends to remove his dairy from the Tumbling Run Valley, where he has
been located for many years, to this place, which he will run in conjunction with the milk business. It is rumored that the reason for
the change in address by Mr. Brokhoff is because the farm, which has been in the possession of the Brokhoff family for a number of
generations, has been sold to a land and improvement company controlled by the Reading Railway Company and it is the intention of
the latter to use the farm site in conjunction with other purchases which the company has made in that section of the valley for the
construction of the third dam in that territory. These plans were announced by the "Republican" some months ago. At present the
greater part of the watershed in that section is in the hands of the company and desiring to be as close to Pottsville as possible
under the circumstances. Mr. Brokhoff closed the deal with the owners of the hotel property immediately.
|Pottsville Republican of June 28, 1913
NO TRI-STATE BALL AT THE RUN
Baseball for the time being is at an end on Sunday at Tumbling Run as far as the Tri-State League is concerned as the "Republican"
has been informed by Jacob J. Weitzel, business manager of the Atlantic City team, that the game for this Sunday is off and that no
more Sunday games will be played here on account of poor attendance. While the poor attendance is probably the greatest
consideration, still there are other factors which entered into the decision and the opening of the summer season at Atlantic City is
perhaps the greatest one. Another factor which led to the decision is undoubtedly the action which was taken by the ministers of the
county who threatened to bring criminal prosecution against the owners of the clubs unless the Sunday games were called off.
As the game has not been a particularly well paying venture in Pottsville due to the poor quality of ball which was furnished in all but
one game there was really no inducement for the club to continue to make weekly visits to Pottsville. The Atlantic City club up to the
present time has been playing all its games on the road and the money received as their share of these games was not sufficient to
pay the running expenses of the club and up until this time the salaries of the players have come out to a large extent out of the
club's reserve fund. In the hope of making a little money to tide them over this part of the season until the vacation rush season
started at the seashore, games were brought to Pottsville.
The receipts of the games at Pottsville were very helpful to the club but now a weekly jump from Atlantic City would eat largely into
what receipts might be taken at the gate at the Run. The proposition was abandoned in a purely business manner. It is the general
opinion that the club never expected to play here after July 1. The antagonism that was inaugurated by the ministers of the county
against playing of these games offered another excuse for the baseball men to call off the balance of the schedule. It is also stated
that the official schedule of games did not call for games in Pottsville after June 21. The ministers were highly pleased with the
announcement that there were to be no more Sunday games as it is understood that they intended to push the matter in an endeavor
to have them stopped by law. A letter to this effect had been sent to the management of the Atlantic City club. The ministers were
not entirely disheartened as a result of their failure two weeks ago to have the court take action against the playing of Sunday ball.
They were more disheartened it is said by the lack of interest in the work which was exhibited by the laymen of Pottsville and vicinity
who declined to back them in the work although they were given offers of financial support if they needed it.
Now the effort is made to furnish a semiprofessional club or a strong amateur club from this section of the county to play Sunday
games at Tumbling Run. The entire Schuylkill Haven team may be secured or else the pick of the different first class clubs made.
|Pottsville Republican of July 2, 1913
MERCHANTS' DAY AT TUMBLING RUN
Ring the bells, sound the alarm, toot the horn, shout with glee, honk, honk, honk, the Pottsville Merchants' Association committee,
comprising Elmer F. Schlaseman, chairman, David G. Smith and Homer R. Knapp were received with a warm welcome by the Tumbling
Run management Tuesday in regard to the concessions for the grand day out now planning and the indications are that a glorious
program eclipsing all other former attempts at a general celebration will be held at the popular resort this summer on a date agreed
upon. The committee reports the prospects excellent for one of the best days out ever held. Despite the hot weather members are
at work constantly perfecting the details and when all is ready the date will be announced.
A magnificent display of fireworks will be the main feature of the evening's entertainment and during the day a series of first class
ball games, a grand regatta on the lake and concerts by Professor Gerhard's famous Pottsville Band, will be some of the features.
Suggestions are being received from various members of the association and some of the ideas advanced are novel and fetching.
The merchants too are preparing for the grand turnout at Saint Clair on the Fourth of July and expect to go there at least one
hundred strong headed by the Pottsville Band, which will give a short, sweet concert. The good feeling engendered by the display of
the town merchants during Orwigsburg's Old Home Week is pleasing to the members of the association.
|Pottsville Republican of July 19, 1897
ALONG THE LAKE SHORE - The Boat House Colony at Tumbling Run Still Growing - THE VERY LATEST SOCIETY FAD
Seashore Simply Not in It With Tumbling Run This Year - How Pottsville People are Enjoying a Healthful Outing at Home
This Summer - Boat House Parties the Proper Thing - Number of New Houses Along the Shore and Many New Faces Seen
at Some of the Old Ones
|If the people, long since departed, who knew Tumbling Run when only a little frame building, once a road house with a water trough
and a decayed picnic park on the hillside, were the only signs of civilization at the head of the second Tumbling Run dam, could come
back, either in spirit or flesh, and take a bird's eye view of the scene any bright, sunny afternoon, they would be amazed at the
change. They would find the beautiful artificial lake thronged with small craft, the shriek of the launch whistle joining with the happy
laughter of children and grown folks and the strains of popular music from the carousel organ and amusement pavilion orchestra, all
combining to make a grand babel indicative of the full enjoyment of a summer outing. At first these spirits of a generation back might
sigh for the romantic quiet of the long ago, when the placid waters of the dams were only disturbed by the swimmer taking his buff
bath and the echoes were awakened by the calls of the birds and the guttural love notes of the bull frog as he perched on a stump
near the water's edge. But one afternoon and evening spent amid the various pleasures of the spot today would wean them from the
old idea and make them acknowledge that the present day way of doing things is a great improvement.
The abandoned little frame road house gave way to a neat, cozy hotel with modern improvements, the old Lauer park is now a
pleasant place for private picnic parties. Then there are the big theatrical pavilion, the dancing pavilion, bowling alleys and carousel,
with all of which all people in this region are familiar and of which it would be superfluous to treat at length in this article.
THE BOAT HOUSE COLONY The people of Pottsville did not wait for the trolley company, nor the hotel company to give them
amusement. For years the Rosengartens' solitary boat house had been a resort for the family and friends and their boat was the only
craft on the dam. One by one new and more attractive boat houses began to dot the north shore of the dam and with each
succeeding year new ones have been erected. This year there were more houses erected than in any other one year and the
Tumbling Run navy is now a respectable fleet of all kinds of little craft. There are in all thirty seven boat houses on the dam and this
does not include the launch pavilion with its dozen row boats and steam launch, Kline's picturesque and very popular lakeside
restaurant and Butler's photography gallery.
There has been a marked change in the personnel of the ownership of many of the boat houses within the past year and it is
noticeable that the people, who formerly thought they could not possibly enjoy the summer at home, and therefore passed their time
in stuffy little hotel rooms at enormous per diem rates, are now having a royal time at Tumbling Run. Many have purchased boat
houses, from clubs that disbanded or were broken up for various reasons or from owners who have since built new ones. Others
have erected houses, and thus the colony has grown and now includes in its directory people from every walk of life. The first boat
houses and many of recent date are of only one story. There are, however, many of two stories, of various patterns and some of a
very picturesque style of architecture. Last year the colony had an addition in the shape of a two story brick boat house, the first of
such a substantial character to be erected.
OVER AT THE COVE One of the last houses to be erected, but by far the most elaborate, most picturesque and costliest of the whole
colony is the one built by J. C. Bright just above the cove on the north shore. It was not the intention to have more than an
unpretentious little building but when nearly completed it did not suit the builder and he made alterations. It is of a Swiss style of
architecture, very substantial with hard wood finish. In the main room there is a large open fireplace, and when a big fire is blazing
there, the house party can enjoy all the fascination of an old country house. The chimney is of stone and of massive size and it in no
small degree adds to the beauty of the building. Attached to the house there are a number of comfortable boats and one very pretty
canoe, a gem of beauty and speed. Right in the cove there is a house that was erected last year. This is owned by Messrs. James
Graeff, George Bowers, Frank Falls, Ed Heiser and others. The other thirty five houses are all located on the opposite shore and
starting from the upper end are as follows:
Viking, owned by A. R. Womrath, Arthur Strong, Christ Niece and others; Medlar's house; The Bast-Foster-Reichert house; the Atlas,
owned by Dr. Carpenter and Jonathan Harris; Palo Alto house; Rose Glen Brick Club, a brick house; Hiawatha, Dr. J. H. Swaving; Steam
launch pavilion and boat yard; Butler's Photography gallery and Kline's Restaurant; the Star, owned by R. H. Koch, H. Rabenau, Daniel
Kaercher and David F. O'Brien; John F. Finney's boat house; Columbia, owned by Messrs. McAdams, Reber, Seibert, Faust, Deibert
and others; Echo, owned by Messrs. Zimmerman, Seidel, Swalm and others; Elwyn, owned by Messrs. Buehler, Burkhardt, McGuiness
and others; Pioneer, owned by Miss Emma Pott, Mrs. Frank Carter, Mrs. J. K. Whitner and others; Defender, owned by Messrs. Stein,
Whitney and Jones, of the Miners Bank; S. Briscoe and William Fox own the next house; Wellington, owned by W. B. Fegley is next;
The Big Rock, owned by Messrs. Shoener, Miller, George Ulmer and others; Edgewater, owned by Messrs. Candy, Gullong, Pfleffer,
Lloyd, Bernet and others; Oneida, owned by Zweibel, Cany Barr, Rupert and Lloyd; Minerva, owned by Mrs. D. W. Bland and the
Misses Bannan; Ramona, owned by A. W. Schalk and Joel McDonald; Fairmount owned by Frank Blum and others.
* Note: the remainder of the list is on the second page of the paper and illegible at this time.
|Miners Journal of July 2, 1875
DROWNED IN TUMBLING RUN DAM - CRAMP THE CAUSE OF DROWNING
Between three and four o'clock Friday afternoon, intelligence was brought to town that a young man named John Lehnen, the son of
a widow on Third Street, had just been drowned in Tumbling Run dam while bathing. A number of persons went up to the scene of
the reported drowning and found the news true. The case which will be explained further on, presents the singular fact that though
Lehnen was with a number of companions, not one saw him drown or suspected his danger until too late to help him. The spot where
he went down was not exactly known, though when last seen, he was about thirty feet from the northern shore near the upper end of
the lower dam. Repeated attempts were made by divers to discover the body but they were of no avail. Grappling irons were finally
brought into use and patient work with them was rewarded shortly before nine o'clock by the discovery of the body, some yards from
the place where he was last seen. The body was brought home by Mr. Solomon Hoover and Coroner Chrisman called. He summoned
the following jury: Philip Lindsley, John F. Gressang, Jacob Chrisman, Anthony Herbert, Solomon Hoover and Daniel Kershner. An
examination of the body revealed the fact that the left arm was drawn up and stiffened and that the left leg was stiffened, showing
cramps. The story of the drowning is told in the following testimony:
Mrs. Abelonia Lehnen, sworn - My son, John Lehnen, here lying dead, was twenty two years old some months ago. He hasn't been
sickly but has been sickly to a rush of blood to the head. Sometimes he had these spells as often as three times a night and
sometimes he didn't have them for several weeks. He had one Wednesday night. He sometimes drank pretty freely. He had nothing
to drink today. He had dinner about one o'clock and he was hot and in a hurry. He told his sister he was going to have a good swim
and she told him he had better not.
William Davis, sworn - I live in Fishbach. I was with John Lehnen when he was drowned. The party were Fred, Leib, Andy Stout,
Harvey Herb, Sterling, Howell, Lehnen and myself. We left Pottsville about one o'clock and walked up to the dam. We were
overheated. Lehnen was in the water nearly an hour before I went in. He was sweating when he went in. We waited and we told him
not to go out far. He said he never got spells in the water and wouldn't drown. He and Leib swam across the dam and came back to a
raft. There were five of us on the raft, Leib and I on one end and Herb, sterling and Lehnen on the other. Leib and I were diving off.
When we came up once, Stout asked, "Where is Jack?" He wasn't to be seen. When on the raft he was lively, he danced and he was
sober. He took one drink of whiskey there. He was in the water nearly two hours.
Fred Leib, sworn - The party left town about one o'clock. Herb went in first, Sterling second and Lehnen next. He swam about a bit,
came out and sat on the bank. The sweat rolled off him when he went in. Lehnen and I swam across the dam and he asked me if I
was going to swim back and I said yes. He said he couldn't, he was played out and would have to get his wind. He rested and swam
to the raft. Davis and I were on one end and Herb, Sterling and Lehnen on the other. Davis and I were diving. Stout asked once,
"Where's Jack?" and he said he swam towards shore. Howell saw him swimming on his face and that when after looking down the
dam, when he looked back, Lehnen was gone. We thought he was in the woods and looked for him. He complained of nothing and
he took a drink of whiskey there.
Harvey Herb gave testimony of a character similar to the foregoing. He was watching Leib dive and didn't see Lehnen drown. Thomas
Howell corroborated the others: He was on shore with Sterling while the other five were on the raft. Lehnen dived off and began to
swim to shore. He was swimming alright, when all at once he began to swim with his head under water and only his back to be seen.
I said to Sterling, "Look how funny Jack Lehnen is swimming." We thought he was diving. I looked down the dam awhile and when I
looked again, I couldn't see Jack.
The jury returned a verdict of death by drowning, owing to cramp in the left side of the body.
|Miners Journal of July 14, 1876
ATTEMPT AT SUICIDE
Tuesday evening about dark, a young woman of this borough jumped into the lower Tumbling Run dam, with the desire and intention
of drowning herself. It had somehow become known to some gentlemen of town that the attempt would be made and they were on
the watch. She had no sooner jumped in and they pulled her out and took her to the road. She begged to be allowed to end her life
but of course the request was refused. She was made to come to town to her uncle's. She was divorced some time ago and went out
to service, whence she was dismissed for her immorality. Failure to obtain employment and a constant progress down hill doubtless
made her weary of life. It is stated that she is not of sound mind.
|Miners Journal of May 25, 1877
FOUND DROWNED - A Dead Man Recovered After Lying in the Water For Two Months
Yesterday shortly after dinner while Peter J. Barlett was walking along the bank of the first Tumbling Run dam, a sickening sight met
his view. Just where the water empties from the upper dam into the lower, partially in the water and part out, lay the more than half
decomposed body of a man. The terrible, nauseating odor arising from it soon drove Mr. Barlett away from the spot. He came to
Pottsville and informed Deputy Coroner Chrisman of his discovery. Impanelling a jury and taking them with him, with Mr. Barlett as
guide, the doctor proceeded to the spot. Mr. John F. Gressang, one of the jurors, had taken a rough coffin with him and after an
examination of the clothing, the body was placed in it. In the clothing were found a knife, a toothbrush and a fragment of paper which
was a piece of a telegraph dispatch. It had lain in the water so long that it was impossible to decipher anything but, "George R___."
The man had on a decent suit of black diagonal cloth, new gaiters, heavy gray undershirt and white top shirt. On the latter in a circle
were the words "warranted all linen bosom (1876) No. 4146." No money or other valuables were found.
The man was five feet six inches in height and of fine muscular development. He was between 45 and 50 years of age. He had been
in the water probably two months and his features were so far destroyed as to make it impossible to form any idea of his looks. He
was brought to Pottsville and interred in the Potters Field. The jury composed of Messrs. John F. Gressang, William Gressang, C. H.
Hazzard, James Russel, Thomas Carlin and P. J. Barlett, then adjourned until four o'clock tomorrow afternoon where they will meet at
the office of their foreman. In the meantime, Dr. Chrisman will examine the records of the telegraph companies, hoping to obtain a
clue to the identity of the man from the paper found in his pocket.
Of course there are various conjecture as to the manner of death. The telegram may give a clue to this. The fact that he had no
valuables with him, although well dressed, has led some to the idea that there had been foul play. But to rebut this is the fact that he
exhibited no marks of violence. A more rational view can be found in either of the other three alternatives: suicide, accident or
sudden illness. The inquest will no doubt determine which.
|Miners Journal of June 1, 1877
NARROW ESCAPE - A Boy Rescued From Drowning at Tumbling Run Dam
On Saturday afternoon, a party of boys, after enjoying themselves for several hours in boating on the upper Tumbling Run dam, rowed
down to the breast preparatory to returning home. One of the boys, Harry Little, son of Christopher Little, Esquire, had agreed to
take the boat back to the house at the head of the dam. He had started off when he remembered that he did not have the key. He
called to his companions for it and his brother George, about fifteen years of age, went out on the pier to give it to him. Some of the
boards on the pier had been torn up but he crossed the hole safely. Having thrown the key down to the boat, he walked backward,
watching his brother and forgetting the hole, when he fell through into the deep water. Very fortunately some gentlemen were in the
neighborhood, saw the accident and plunged in after the boy. One of them, Mr. Walter Brooke, reached him and caught him as he
was coming up the second time. Harry had turned the boat about and was rapidly pulling to the spot, when he too, in the excitement,
fell overboard. Being able to swim though, he had no difficulty in getting back. The usual lecture to boys on the subject, "Be more
careful", is omitted this time upon their promise to do so without it.
*This story has a personal interest as Harry Little was my late wife's great grandfather.
|Miners Journal of August 23, 1878
ATTEMPT TO COMMIT SUICIDE
A report gained circulation Monday to the effect that a young woman named Melinda Fox, a daughter of one John Fox, had attempted
to drown herself in Tumbling Run dam and had been rescued by William Callen. To a Journal reporter, Callen told the following story:
"I was working with a party near the first dam Monday when a girl passed us. She said something about drowning but we did not pay
much attention to her. While we were at dinner a small boy passed us and said that a girl who was sitting further up the road had said
she was going to drown herself when we went to dinner. After we had got through, I walked down to the bank of the dam and saw the
girl sitting on a rock. While I was looking at her, she walked into the water until it was above her knees, when I yelled at her and told
her to come out. She did so and then began to cry. I asked her why she wanted to drown herself and she said she was treated so
badly by her father, that she was sick of life. She said she didn't get enough to eat, that they wouldn't take her at the almshouse, and
that she couldn't go into service as she took fits sometimes. I said she mustn't drown herself at any rate, when she said, "If I can't
drown myself, I will take poison." I sent a boy to tell her father where his daughter was and the boy came back and said that her
father said, "Let her go to hell and drown herself." From inquiries made, it appears that the unfortunate girl is possessed of a rather
weak mind, which is not strengthened by the cruelty of her father, who lives in the northern portion of the town. If some precautions
are not taken by the proper authorities, this unfortunate girl will probably take her own life one of these days.
|Miners Journal of June 1, 1861
FIRE AT TUMBLING RUN
We regret to learn that the dwelling house and stable, occupied by Mr. Hess, at the first dam on Tumbling Run were entirely
consumed by fire on Tuesday afternoon last, together with the furniture and all the clothing belonging to the family, except what they
had on their backs. The fire is supposed to have communicated from a stove, and when first discovered by the family, who were
working out in the garden, it spread so rapidly that nothing could be saved and also communicated to the stable, which was also
burnt up entirely. The house we learn, was owned in Philadelphia and was insured for $600 but poor Mr. Hess, who is an invalid with
a wife and several small children, lost everything.
|Miners Journal of July 24, 1869
BREAKING OF THE EMBANKMENT OF LOWER TUMBLING RUN DAM
During last week symptoms of a break in the embankment of the breast of lower Tumbling Run Dam, were visible, and preparations to
guard against a disastrous break were made by letting off a portion of the water. It did not prevent a break however, for on Monday
morning last, about three o'clock, the center caved in and the water rushed through quite rapidly but not in sufficient body to do any
damage to the valley below. It is thought that the water will be all out by today. It is estimated that from two to three months will be
required to repair the damage. The drawing off of the large body of water put fishermen on the alert, the dam evidently being
stocked with a large number of fish. We learn that a party from Schuylkill Haven fished it with a seine on Wednesday night and got
hundreds of suckers, pike, eels, catfish, etc., but no trout.
|Miners Journal of July 18, 1879
A SNAKE STORY - What Mr. Parker Saw in Tumbling Run Dam - Hunting the Reptile
The rising sun was just peeping over Sharp Mountain, Friday, when the Journal office was invaded by an excited individual, who as
he mopped his perspiring face, asked the assembled serfs if they hadn't heard about the serpent. Thinking the stranger was an
escaped missionary, and referred to the reptile of scriptural notoriety, the fellow that grinds out the obituary notices and is better
posted on snakes than anyone in the establishment made answer in the affirmative. After glaring at everyone in the room for a
minute or two the visitor said, "My name's William Parker an' I've been a readin' in the Miners Journal agoin on seven years. I've
waited a week to see somethin' about this here snake an if it ain't published in a day or two I'll give up the blamed paper." Appalled
by Mr. Parker's terrible threat, his auditors hastened to conciliate him, and without much persuasion he related this startling story:
About ten days ago as a laborer named Patrick Guilfoil was crossing Sharp Mountain by way of a footpath, his attention was attracted
by a noise in a thicket just above the first dam at Tumbling Run. Being of an inquisitive turn of mind Patrick looked into the thicket,
and to his horror saw a monster snake devouring a chicken. Patrick retreated hastily and did not stop running until he reached Palo
Alto, when he told his story. Several men went to the place where Guilfoil saw the snake, but it could not be found and the story was
misbelieved until corroborated by other people. He stuck to his original statement, however, and said the reptile was from fifteen to
twenty feet long and as thick as a man's leg. On last Wednesday morning Patrick's story was substantiated by Mr. Parker, who
according to his own statement, saw a monster snake swim across the lower dam, crawl out on the opposite shore and disappear in
the underbrush. Parker thinks the snake was at least twenty feet long. He gives a minute description of its head, which according to
his statement, was carried a foot above water and was of dark brown color. The body of the snake is represented as black, mottled
with light brown. Parker says it swam across the dam very rapidly and during the passage would frequently lash the water with its
tail. Procuring a gun and accompanied by two men named Lynch and Donnelly, Parker started in pursuit of the snake, but in the time
it took the hunters to go around the dam the snake disappeared and the only trace of it that could be found was a trail seven inches
wide in the dust of the mountain path. A monster snake was seen by a couple of farmers near Orwigsburg a few years ago and this is
supposed to be the same one. Some people who have heard the story discredit it entirely, but as Parker is a temperate man and
denies that he ever had the jams in his life, there is every reason to believe that such a snake really exists.
|Miners Journal of October 3, 1879
HOW THE DAMS WERE FISHED - The Water is Let Off at Midnight
Myriads of Bass and Trout Fry Destroyed - Will the Fishers be Prosecuted?
About six years ago, Nicholas Fox of this place, received a present of eight black bass from a friend in Harrisburg. When the fish
reached Pottsville, they were found to be alive and at the suggestion of a friend, six of the largest specimens were placed in one of
the Tumbling Run dams. During the following year the dam was stocked with about one hundred young bass from the State Fish
Commissioners. A year later the Commissioners sent another lot of young bass here but many of them died before they were placed
in the dams. Over three hundred of them, however, were alive and healthy and from these and the others put in the dam before, the
waters soon became populated with fish. With a commendable desire to support the efforts of the Fish Commissioners, and assist in
protecting the fish, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company had signs posted at various points in the neighborhood of the
dams prohibiting all fishing. The dams were protected in this way for two years and the bass increased in size and numbers with
During the past summer a large number of bass have been caught from the dams by anglers and several of the fish were of large size.
The rapid growth of the fish and their abundance created great satisfaction among the sportsmen of Schuylkill County, who looked
forward to the day when anglers would be rewarded at Tumbling Run with full baskets and fine sport. Such hopes, however, have all
been destroyed, as on Sunday night the water of the lower dam was drawn off by a party of men and the fish all taken out or left to die
among the stones and mud. Between ten and eleven o'clock Sunday night, a man named Jones, who is a canal official at Schuylkill
haven; Daniel Sullivan, a wicket keeper at the dams, Mr. Rickert and several others visited the lower dam, which contained from eight
to ten feet of water. A wire screen was placed over the outlets, the gates were raised and in an hour or so the water had all run off,
leaving a wagon load of fine black bass, speckled trout, catfish, suckers and sunfish at the mercy of the fishers.
The majority of the fish were bass and trout and four pound specimens of the first named variety were quite plentiful. The fishers
sorted out all the finest bass and trout and gave the other fish to people living in the neighborhood, who peddled them around the
streets of Pottsville yesterday afternoon at twenty five cents a dozen. Persons who visited the dams yesterday afternoon say that the
bed of the dam and the stream below its head was literally covered with dead bass and trout from an inch to three inches long.
Thousands upon thousands of these young fish were destroyed and when the dams are filled with water they will not contain a single
bass, unless the Fish Commissioners are hoodwinked and send over another lot to stock the place. When it became known that the
young fish had been killed in the way, stated a great deal of indignation was felt in Pottsville and a number of prominent citizens
intend appealing to the Fish Commissioners in order to bring a prosecution against the guilty parties. The penalty in this state for
fishing on Sunday is twenty five dollars. Fishing by drawing off dams is especially prohibited and the 26th section of the act of June
1878 says the catching of trout or any kind of bass by settling or drawing off water or by setting or dragging nets or other devices
when the water shall be wholly or in part drawn off except by the order of the State Fishery Commissioners, is a misdemeanor and the
penalty is a fine of fifty dollars for each offense.
|Miners Journal of May 22, 1885
A MONSTER IN TUMBLING RUN DAM
On Tuesday night, young Hess, who lives at Tumbling Run, fixed his fishing rod for a bite and went away for a short time expecting
when he came back to find a big bass on his hook. When he returned he found that the line, rod and all had disappeared. He
couldn't believe a fish had swallowed it and he was sure no one had stolen it, for nobody was about. Wednesday a party of young
men fishing at the dam, observed a pole moving very curiously upon the surface of the water; first upstream then down and
occasionally disappearing from sight altogether. They came to the conclusion that the pole was either bewitched or else that a
monster of the deep was at the end of it. James Graeff made bold enough to swim out into the stream to investigate. He expected to
bring to land a twenty pound bass or a fifty pound turtle. When he got hold of the rod and felt the monster pull, he was convinced
that there would be a glut in the fish market the next day. He called to the party on the bank to be ready to help him land the leviathan.
Slowly but surely James pulled towards the bank. When he touched shore, an excited crowd gathered around and prepared to
detach and dispatch the whale. With a long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether the prize was landed, when to their horror they
discovered it to be - a small catfish.
|Pottsville Republican of July 17, 1897
TUMBLING RUN ABLAZE WITH FIREWORKS THAT WERE WITNESSED BY THOUSANDS
The Fireworks Pronounced the Best for the Year-Everybody Went for Enjoyment and Amusement Afforded Pleased Patrons
The people of Pottsville and surrounding boroughs had been going to Tumbling Run yesterday afternoon and evening until at least
five thousand were spread on the space along the upper dam, the hills and space in front of the Hotel Tumbling Run. The Electric
Railway Company were taxed to their utmost. People hung onto the cars in every conceivable shape in going and returning until the
motors whizzed and threw out sparks of fire in the effort to move the heavily laden cars. Once on the grounds, the great throng
distributed themselves in the most advantageous way in order to get a glimpse of the fireworks. Promptly at eight o'clock the signal
for the display commenced by sending up a rocket skyward. A. R. Womrath of Pottsville furnished the several pieces and were in
charge of a gentleman named Paine of Philadelphia, who has earned a reputation for making displays of fireworks in the larger cities.
The rockets and fancy pieces that shot successfully over the lake were greatly admired by the big crowd drawn to witness the
display. The people were amused for nearly an hour in witnessing a very creditable display of fireworks, affording enjoyment to the
The trees, the hills and the long line of boathouses never looked prettier or more picturesque when each rocket burst in the air and
shed a halo around one of the most remarkable and noted places in the whole country for beauty of scenery and nature's handiwork
that can not be excelled anywhere. The remarks from the fair sex invariably followed. "Oh, isn't it lovely; isn't it beautiful." Therefore
it must be so. After the fireworks ended a grand rush was made for the amusement pavilion, where a first class concert was given by
a number of star performers, who have been drawing immense crowds since their return. Paul Gruenke had his hands full in waiting
upon the throng that took possession of his hotel. The big crowd was orderly throughout.
It was long after midnight before the people were all taken to their homes. Visitors were present from Schuylkill Haven, Cressona,
Port Carbon, Yorkville, Mount Carbon and up the Schuylkill Valley. Some light fingered gentry were plying their black art last night as
Squire J. H. Kemmerer had his pocketbook extracted before leaving the grounds. He noticed a stranger and a person from Pottsville
hovering near him before he missed his cash. A prominent citizen of Pottsville had his pocketbook taken also, which contained
valuable papers If the papers are returned to this office, no questions will be asked.
|Miners Journal of July 16, 1880
FOUND DROWNED - HOW WILLIAM NEFF LOST HIS LIFE
Between three and four o'clock Wednesday afternoon, William Neff left Pottsville to take a bath in the dam at Tumbling Run, and an
hour or so later, Charles Graeff, James W. Buck and Doc Filbert found him dead in the upper Tumbling Run dam. Strange to say, the
body was found floating in the water face upwards and the clothes of the deceased were found lying on the bank nearby. The body
was brought ashore and Deputy Coroner Smith was notified and visited the dam an hour or so later and empaneled the following jury
of inquest: J. C. Kline, Robert Hamilton, Francis McGowan, John Christian, Michael Murphy and George Lurwick. The young men who
found the body testified that it was floating in the water about twenty feet from the head of the second dam. The jury rendered a
verdict of accidental drowning and last evening an undertaker was dispatched to Tumbling Run after Neff's body. The deceased was
about thirty years of age and was married to a daughter of Mrs. Brick. He lived on Market Street and had been subject to attacks of
mental trouble for some time. About a year ago he pulled down a number of tree boxes on Market Street and behaved in a generally
mischievous manner. After that he was sent to the insane department of the almshouse, where he remained until about a month ago,
when he was released. He was a butcher by occupation.
|Miners Journal of August 6, 1880
DROWNED IN THE DAM - DEATH WITHIN TEN YARDS OF SHORE
Shortly after four o'clock on Monday afternoon, Harry Treibley, the only son of Samuel Treibley of East Market Street, was drowned in
Tumbling Run Dam. But an hour previously he had left home in company with some young companions, with the intention of bathing
in the dam. Arrived there, they selected a spot close to an old road which runs within a short distance of the water and terminates
midway on the Pottsville side of the first dam. After enjoying themselves for a short time, the boys left the water and dressed
themselves, a few minutes later taking the road home. Before they reached the head of the dam another party of boys were met and
induced by these, Treibley returned accompanied by a son of Nathan Houser and one of Joseph Geary's boys. A couple of logs which
lay near the water's edge served the boys as a support in swimming and Treibley took possession of one of these and with it swam
up and down the dam for short distances, always keeping close to shore. He had been in the water but a short time when he lost his
hold on the log and while trying to regain his grasp upon it, pushed it beyond his reach, at the same time floating beyond his depth.
His companions were within a few yards of him and noticed him struggling in the water but imagined that he was "in fun," as they term
it. In a few moments he sank then rose again to sink for the second and last time. The boys who watched him disappear were almost
paralyzed with fright, and made no attempt at rescue but this would probably have been fatal, as none of them were as old and all of
them were smaller than the drowned boy.
About five o'clock as the boys were proceeding homeward with the sad news, they met a team and told the driver that a boy had just
been drowned. The driver asked what the boy's name was and he was told Harry Treibley. The drowned boy was the driver's son.
Samuel Treibley, who is in the employ of Fox and Brothers, was on his way back to bring a boating party which had left Pottsville
during the afternoon and arrived at the dam to find that his son had been drowned almost half an hour and that his body was still in
the water. The sad news soon became circulated, causing a number of sympathizing friends to collect and make every effort to
recover the body.
A boy named Louis Lewis, fourteen years of age, from Palo Alto, stripped and dived in order, if possible, to locate the body. He was
unsuccessful at this at his first attempt. Grappling irons were then brought into play but without avail, when young Lewis dived
again, reappearing with the body which he brought to shore. Life was, of course, extinct as the body had lain in the water for an hour
and a half. The remains were taken to Mr. Treibley's residence on East Market Street. Reports regarding young Treibley's capacity as
a swimmer differ. His people were under the impression that he was unable to swim until within a couple of weeks ago when he
informed one of them that he could swim "across the dam and back." One of the boys in swimming with him yesterday stated that he
could swim a short distance, about fifteen feet. The fact that he used a log is seeming evidence in favor of the theory that he could
swim for but a short distance and it is probable that when the log slipped from his grasp and he found himself in deep water, he lost
his presence of mind and with it all chances of reaching the shore that lay so short a distance from him.
The unfortunate boy was in his eighteenth year and was for some time in the employ of Fox and Brothers. Mr. William Fox of that firm,
giving him the character of "a very smart, active boy who applied himself to his duties in a manner entirely satisfactory to his
employers." He had been offered a position in the Telephone Exchange and was to have entered upon his duties upon the opening
of the exchange. As he was an only son, the grief of his father and mother can be better imagined than described. They have the
sympathy of the town in their affliction. Samuel Treibley, the father, is in the employ of the Fox Brothers.
An inquest was held on Tuesday morning. Deputy Coroner Smith empaneled a jury consisting of: Jeremiah Seitzinger, foreman, E. J.
Gaynor, D. L. Esterly, George F. Helms, John Kalbach and Jacob Eberle. The evidence in the case was as detailed as yesterday's
issue of the Journal and upon this the jury returned a verdict of "accidentally drowned while bathing in Tumbling Run Dam." The
funeral of the drowned boy will take place tomorrow at two o'clock.
|The Call of September 2, 1899
DROWNED AT TUMBLING RUN
The sad drowning at Tumbling Run of William R. Lautenbacher last Friday was a shock to his many friends and relatives here. Mrs.
Lautenbacher is a native of this place, being a daughter of William Kerkeslager. William had gone in bathing and being very much
exhausted from his ride on a wheel from Tamaqua, it is supposed he could not survive the great strain on his nervous system and
although within almost arms length reach of his friends, he sank never to rise again. His funeral was largely attended by people from
here and Pottsville. Among those from town were Jere Lautenbacher and daughter Irene, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Felix, Mrs. David
Runkle, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sterner and daughter and Mr. Darius Coldren.
|Pottsville Republican of July 1, 1901
ALMOST A DROWNING
What almost proved to be the first drowning accident of the century at Tumbling Run and a double tragedy occurred yesterday
afternoon, when two young ladies stepped into a treacherous hole and sank below the surface of the water with one sharp cry for
help. Fortunately other bathers were near at hand and after diving several times brought the unconscious forms to the surface,
clasped together in a death like grip. On the shore a party of bathers soon congregated and all methods for resuscitating the
drowning were practiced, which finally, after much effort, resulted in the two girls opening their eyes, brought back as it were , from
Tumbling Run is a safe place for bathing for the amateur when the popular place, the popular Sandy Beach, is made the site of the
aquatic maneuvering but when places not so thoroughly known are selected, there is more or less danger. The heat yesterday had
the effect of driving to the Run for relief the suffering humanity of Pottsville and nearby towns. The number of bathers was far in
excess of the Sunday crowd and all day the merry water nymphs splashed about laughing at the sweltering crowds along the beach.
A number of ladies were out and took a dip and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It was a trifle late in the afternoon when
the two ladies in question donned their bathing suits. Instead of going to Sandy Beach, where it is perfectly safe, they crossed the
dam and went in near Bright's boat house, as they did not care to be the only females then at the beach.
They sported about in the water, ducking underneath repeatedly and their hearty laugh echoed across the water. One of the bathers
could swim and she repeatedly swam short distances from the shore and then returned. When about ready to go out of the water
they, hand in hand, walked slowly away from the beach to see how far they could go. Unfortunately the one unable to swim was a
short distance ahead and suddenly she threw up her hands, grasped her companion by the hair and, with a scream, they both sank
into a deep hole. They had time to give but one cry as they sank beneath the surface, and lost consciousness, but this one cry was
sufficient to attract the attention of bathers not far distant. Along the shore they ran until they reached the place where they had
seen the fair ones splashing about in the water, and without hesitation, several dived into the water in an endeavor to locate the
missing ones. Several attempts were made before the efforts were greeted with success and the two unconscious bodies brought
to the surface and the shore. It was only after considerable trouble that they were restored to consciousness. They knew nothing
from the time they first sank until restored to consciousness.
|Pottsville Republican of September 22, 1911
DEATH BY "HEX", MANY OTHER CALAMITIES
Asserting that her father, Howell Thomas, aged 61 years, residing in the Tumbling Run Valley, died as a result of a "hex" placed upon
the family by a family residing in Orwigsburg, Miss Mary Isabella Thomas of the Tumbling Run Valley, recited a long list of peculiar
circumstances, which she endeavored to show proved that a spell had been cast upon the family. They are responsible for many
misfortunes around the farm, she asserted; they had the power to silence pistols which were brought for protection and cows have
pined away and died as a result of the spell, which commenced when a big, black cat was brought to the Thomas farm. The family
assert that they saw it grow to four feet in height and then resume its natural size. They are afraid of it and are afraid to kill it.
Howell Thomas was a native of Pottsville, born at 301 North Third Street, sixty one years ago and it is the wish of the family, as a result
of his dying request, to have the funeral take place from that house. He was employed in the mines when a resident of Pottsville and
later became engaged in the contracting business, then purchased the farm in the Tumbling Run Valley. He was a member of the
Welsh Congregational Church and is survived by a brother, William, who made his home with him, and one daughter, Mary Isabella.
The funeral will take place Tuesday.
Conditions at the Thomas homestead are in a deplorable condition as the result of the "hex" belief. Some time ago the family was
informed that the Orwigsburg family were contriving to take what money was possessed by them and, for that reason, had placed the
spell upon the Thomas family. The fortune teller who imparted this information told the members of the Thomas family to be prepared
for the reception of the old county seat family at any time they should arrive. According to the statements of one of the members of
the Thomas family, the Orwigsburg folks started by sending a black cat to the Thomas homestead. This had been told would happen
by the fortune teller. When the cat arrived, the Thomas's were prepared for it and the woman of the house attempted to shoot it with
a revolver. She carefully awaited her opportunity until she had a good shot. The bullet, however, did not hit its mark but, stated the
woman, with her right hand upraised and swearing by all that was holy, the cat immediately grew to four or five feet in length. The
Thomas's were more than ever convinced then, that the "hex" was upon them.
They visited about every fortune teller in this section of the state in an effort to have the "hex" removed but without avail. Finally
their attention was attracted to the advertisement of a man living in California and today the Thomas family are paying him a stipulated
sum monthly yo drive the "hex" away. According to the statements of the family, this California man is succeeding but only in a small
way. During the past year, the Thomas family have lost seven or eight horses and cows by death and each one they claim was the
result of the "hex" placed upon the animals by the Orwigsburg family.
At all times of the day and night, both the daughter and the uncle, who is staying at the homestead, carry revolvers. A visit was made
to the farm and the conditions may be described as pitiful. The man, who breathed his last during the night, was apparently suffering
from a stroke, instead of a spell. The house was badly in need of repairs while the animals or the cattle were half starved looking.
Situated near the homestead is as fine an orchard of apples that is to be found anywhere in this section of the country. Bushels of
them were going to decay on the ground, and when asked why the apples were not gathered and disposed of and the money used in
the purchase of coal and the necessities of life, the family stated that the Orwigsburg "hex" had so decreed that the apples were not
to be taken from either the trees or the ground and hence they were being allowed to decay, believing that in so doing the "hex"
would not be pleased and in the course of time remove the spell that had cast gloom and despair among the members of the Thomas
family, and was instrumental in the killing off of their animals.
Both the surviving members of the Thomas family, as stated before, carry .38 calibre revolvers. When the family was interviewed,
two revolvers were immediately brought to view. The first was displayed by the woman, who took the weapon from the folds of her
dress. She made five efforts to fire the same and, when it refused to work, she blamed it on the "hex." She then asked for the
revolver carried by the uncle and, pointing it towards the town of Orwigsburg, she fired. This time the weapon was discharged.
Miss Thomas is more intelligent than the average class of superstitious women. About middle aged, she has read the Bible from
beginning to end and can quote scripture with the rapidity of a minister. What will now become of the remainder of the family and the
homestead is only a question that time alone can tell. Whether the "hex" will succeed in its object in acquiring the property and in
driving the daughter and uncle from the home, and probably worse, is a question that is in the minds of the people residing in the
Tumbling Run Valley.
|Pottsville Republican of September 26, 1911
"HEX" VICTIM IS BURIED, SPIRITS AFTER DAUGHTER
The funeral services over the remains of the late Howell Thomas of Tumbling Run Valley, were held this afternoon at three o'clock
from the house in which he was born, 301 North Third Street, and which house is still in possession of the members of the Thomas
family. Early this morning the remains were taken from the parlors of T. D. Bergen, where they had been for the past two days, to the
old home on North Third Street. The lower room was made ready for the reception of the body. Carpet had been laid on the floor and
a number of pictures hung on the wall. About two dozen chairs were placed in a circle about the small room, while in one corner
stood the coffin. The lid stood with the name plate upwards directly in the back of the head of the corpse. No flowers were in
evidence and everything was simplicity throughout.
The brother of the deceased occupied a seat during the morning, directly near the body, and during the late morning hours and the
early afternoon hours the body was viewed by a large number of people. Why the body was brought to the undertaking establishment
several days ago and there prepared for burial, none of the family would say. The body was attired in a black suit of clothing with a
light shirt and black string tie. The inside of the casket was lined with white satin. The features of the man showed that he had
endured very little suffering during the few weeks that he was bedfast, although in poor health for at least five months.
According to the information given by the deceased's brother, Howell Thomas was always a man who enjoyed good health and a
veteran of the Civil war, he had never applied for a pension. When asked whether death was caused by a stroke, the brother stated
that some people claimed it was but he knew better and it was the effects of the spell placed upon him that was the direct cause of
his death He was asked about the medical attention given the members of his family and said his niece some time ago was taken
suddenly ill, and it was a question whether she would ever recover. Two prominent physicians were called in to attend her and
although they did everything in their power, the girl grew weaker and weaker. This continued for nearly eight weeks, when,
according to the statement of the uncle, the first part of the spell placed upon the girl was broken and she started to regain her
health. The uncle is under the impression that the spell is still on the family. He was asked whether he would continue to reside on
the farm and stated that he had not fully determined. "The Demon has evidently determined to get the remainder of the family and in
this he may succeed," stated the uncle. For the past two days the daughter has been in Pottsville and everywhere she has walked
she has been followed by this unseen spirit, he asserted. He stated that it would be possible for any other persons to reside on the
farm and that unless they were willing, this evil spirit could exert no evil influence over them, they not being members of the family.
He told how it was possible to shut every window and door in the house, to stop up every crack where it was likely that air would
enter, and then, all of a sudden, to be thrown to the floor as the result of sulphur fumes. He referred to an experience that he once
had. In speaking of the fumes, he stated that one could not tell from where it was coming but every few minutes it would strike under
the nose and that it was so strong as to knock the victim to the floor.A stranger could be seated in the house and alongside of the
members of the family, with the house all closed tight, and suddenly the sulphur would come, knock down the member of the family,
while the person sitting close by would never detect the odor or it could work the other way, the stranger be knocked down and the
member of the family never notice it. This has repeatedly occurred at the homestead in the Tumbling Run Valley, he said, and the
occasion for it has never been explained, other than it was the work of the demon. Some time ago this was explained to several
visitors to the farm and an old hat was brought from one of the rooms, and when shown to them, contained unmistakable signs of
sulphur. Not only the hat had traces of sulphur but the clothing of the family held the odor of sulphur
CREATED SCENE AT FUNERAL A scene was created at the funeral just about the time that services were to be commenced. Miss
Mary Isabella Thomas, daughter of the deceased, had previously accused her sister, a Mrs. Potts of Orwigsburg, with being
responsible for the death of her father, supposedly under the conviction that the alleged "hex" or spell had been cast upon the
family by Mrs. Potts. She had informed the "Republican" that she would not permit her sister at the funeral and when shortly before
three o'clock, Mrs. Potts and her husband and three children drove to the house of the dead, Miss Thomas became very much
aroused and confused to permit the sister to enter. She there accused the married sister with being responsible for the death of her
father and for a time there was great excitement. Friends finally quieted Miss Thomas and after Mrs. Potts had retired, leaving the
three children in the room, the services were proceeded with. The service which was conducted by Reverend Walker, was very
brief, lasting only a few minutes.
Miss Thomas, who was in a highly nervous state, was induced to go upstairs and while she was upstairs, Mrs. Potts entered the
house. Miss Thomas broke away from the women who attempted to restrain her and rushed downstairs and again ordered the
married sister out of the house. She then fell in a faint upon the floor. With smelling salts, Miss Thomas was finally resuscitated after
considerable trouble and she was able to go to the cemetery. Mrs. Potts also went to the cemetery. While Mrs. Potts was at the
casket she dropped over on the floor several times in tears. She exclaimed, "My God, my God, father. I did not know I was accused
of anything until I saw it in the papers. And they wouldn't let me see you while you were alive." "Yes," said the single sister, "he saw
you all the time." The pall bearers at the funeral were Adolph Prince, Albert and George Weston and E. L. Thomas.
CAT TO BE KILLED TOMORROW Miss Thomas went among her neighbors in the Tumbling Run Valley and requested them to come to
the Thomas farm Wednesday morning at 3:45 o'clock promptly to witness the killing of the "witch cat." Although she says it has been
shot at, the bullets have not taken effect because they are made of lead. She says the witch doctor told them to melt five dollar gold
pieces and make bullets, as this was the only kind of a bullet to kill the beast. "We couldn't afford bullets of this kind," explained the
uncle. But Miss Thomas has now received a gold bullet from the "witch doctor," and tomorrow morning th eexecution of the "Hex"
cat is to take place. The cat appears at the farm every morning at four o'clock and the neighbors are wanted to be present in order to
assist in the killing.
|Pottsville Republican of September 29, 1911
MANY WANT TO CAPTURE HEX CAT
A careful estimate of the number of people who have visited the Thomas farm in the Tumbling Run Valley within the past several
days, places the number at about one hundred. Practically all of these people were bound on the same mission, namely, for the
purpose of either capturing the hex cat or getting a view of this feline that has caused not only the residents of the county and state
great anxiety, but the residents of other states. All of the New York papers and several of the southern papers have devoted
columns to the story from the "Republican," and everywhere one goes, the question is asked, "Has the hex cat been killed."
Yesterday several people spent the entire day near the farm and several even ventured there as early as two o'clock yesterday
morning. They were seen going towards the farm carrying lanterns but when they neared the homestead they were exceedingly
careful to extinguish their lights.
Several of the people when interviewed refused to have a word to say, while others were very frank and stated that but for all the
money in the world could they be persuaded to venture near the place. It is known for a positive fact that a number of those who
visited this homestead carried revolvers and what would have occurred to anything that resembled a black cat can only be surmised.
Many have volunteered to go in search of the cat but when they were asked to set a time they generally had a previous engagement
that had to be attended to. These people can hardly be blamed for not wanting to go there, as the hoax editor has reasons of his own
for remaining away. It is to be hoped, however, that within the course of the near future her "Satanic Majesty" will have met her fate
and passed to that world where the catching of rats and mice and the interfering in the affairs of other people is unknown.
|Pottsville Republican of September 30, 1911
ALLEGED HEX CAT CAPTURED
Early this morning this office was notified by phone that the "hex cat," that has caused many a night's loss of sleep and untold anxiety
to hundreds of persons, has been captured. The word came from Manager Kelliher, of the Gately and Brennan firm of well known
furniture dealers on West Market Street. It sounded rather doubtful but an investigation partly convinced the representative of the
"Republican" that Manager Kelliher had more than the ordinary black cat. That is possessed some evil spirit, there was no
disputing. Mr. Kelliher claimed that he has the original "Hex Cat" and we hope that he is correct in his belief.
When the representative arrived at the store he was informed that someone late yesterday afternoon, while Charles Lawless, one of
the collectors for the firm, was driving through the Tumbling Run Valley, was startled by the moans of what appeared to be a small
child in distress. The moans apparently came from the hollow trunk of a tree. Stopping his horse he alighted and going in the
direction of the sound, he looked into the trunk and there discovered two bright shining eyes.
His first thought was of the "Hex Cat." Quickly going back to the carriage he procured a blanket and throwing it over the beast, he
pulled it from the tree and back to the carriage he went. Mr. Lawless is the authority for the statement that his horse never went
faster in all its life than it did yesterday afternoon between the Tumbling Run Valley and the store on Market Street. The cat was soon
carried into the store and while one of the employees held the blanket, others hastily constructed a box, calculated to hold an
elephant if necessary. The slats were placed about one and one half inches apart and into this box the cat was placed while the slats
were nailed down. The box was then taken to the workshop to be kept overnight.
When the hex editor arrived at the store this morning, everything was upside down. The clerks were late, the horses did not want to
eat their feed, the telephones refused to work and even an occasional rat that had been noticed running around the store for the
past several weeks had disappeared. Gently catching hold of the hex editor's arm, Manager Kelliher took him to the work house
wherein was stored the cat. A heavy blanket that completely surrounded the box was removed and the editor told to look in.
Horrors! Her Satanic Majesty had disappeared. Then there was all kinds of excitement. The editor wanted to go home but the
employees of the firm refused to allow him to go. Finally a search of the workhouse was made. After old chairs, tool chests, burlap,
excelsior, glue pots and several hundred other minor articles were pulled from shelves and corners, the cat was discovered. The
editor wanted to pick it up but was advised by the employees not to do so, as it had bitten one of the man and that the employee has
handed in his resignation, being afraid to work any longer. How the cat got out of the box is a mystery that can only be cleared up by
one gifted with the knowledge of the hexes.
The cat is as black as the ace of spades. It is about medium size and weighs two or three pounds. With large yellow eyes, the size of
a twenty five cent piece, and a tail nearly two feet long, it presents a horrific sight. Its feet are nearly twice the size of an ordinary cat
and when angry its back comes up in the air and it is then ready to make the fur fly. It seemed almost impossible that it could get
through the slats on the box as the body was about four inches in diameter and the space less than one and one half inches. With
the aid of another blanket, the cat was again captured and placed in the box. It was no sooner in and the slats renailed and it started
the second attempt to escape. To the observer it appeared as though its body became oblong or in other words grew to twice its
normal length. The size of the head diminished until it appeared to be about three feet long and one inch in thickness. The cat then
ran its tail up through the slats on the box and twisting it around the one slat started to pull itself up, the same as a monkey hanging
by its tail.
The hind quarters and a half of the body were already half way through the slats when it was decided to push it back. One of the slats
was reopened and the body pushed back and then a glass was placed over the box. This was the only way that it could not escape.
Manager Kelliher will have the cat on display this afternoon and evening at the store on West Market Street and it is understood that
provided he can get anyone to enter the store window and kill the cat this evening at nine o'clock, he will do so. Manager Kelliher
will provide the revolver and the gold bullet and all that is required of the person is the nerve and a promise that they will not hold
the Gately and Brennan firm responsible for the support of their family or for damages at the present or in the future.
The Hex Cat came near causing a serious accident on Thursday night. Shortly after seven o'clock a message was received at the
office of the Eastern Pennsylvania Railway Company to the effect that the lights were all out in the borough of Cressona. It being too
late to catch the seven o'clock Schuylkill Haven car, Charles Campbell and two of his men decided to hire a team and drive down. A
horse was procured from liveryman Reed and the journey towards Cressona started. Everything went smoothly until the road leading
to Tumbling Run from Mount Carbon was reached. At this point a black object was noticed to run across the road. The horse
stopped suddenly and then started to climb the embankment while it followed the object with its head. In less time than it takes to
tell the story the horse was halfway up the embankment, the carriage was overturned and the occupants thrown out. Fortunately
they escaped serious injury. Mr. Campbell had his trousers torn from the knee to the ankle and resembled in some respects
Robinson Crusoe. His men were sights. One wore a pair of light trousers and they were covered with oil and dirt. The other
had his derby pushed down over his face and resembled a knight of the road. After dumping the men out the horse moved several
paces from the spot and then stood still until the three men picked themselves up and righted the carriage. In the meantime the
lights in Cressona had the hex removed from them and started to burn.
BAND LOOKED UPON WITH SUSPICION When the members of the Pottsville Band arrived at Lehighton on Thursday, they were met at
the station by a large number of farmers. The farmers eyed them suspiciously for several minutes and then several of the members
were singled out. They were each taken to one side and asked the question, "Is der hex cat killed onct yet?" When the farmers were
informed that it was not, the farmers gave them the cold shoulder and during their entire time at Lehighton, the band members were
looked upon as being in league with the cat and people refused to allow their children to go near the band.
HEX CAT NOT DEAD The Philadelphia papers, this morning, published an account of the death of the hex cat that is positively without
foundation. While some people claim that the cat in the window of the Gately and Brennan firm is not the original hex cat, they do not
hesitate to say that it is evidently some relation and may be one of the offsprings. A book entitled, "The Seventh Book of Moses,"
possessed by one of the members of the Schuylkill County Historical Society, gives a brief account of the work of witchcraft. On the
third page of the second chapter if refers to the fact that once a person gives himself or herself to the work of the devil, that he or
she can be turned into the form of an animal of any description and in that state do all sorts of things. It requires a wonderful mind to
invent a method whereby the animal can be killed and it has only been known to have been accomplished once in 10,000 years. The
animal may disappear for the time being but it will return again in its familiar form or in the form of another animal or bird.
TO KILL THE CAT BAD LUCK We give the following story of the true account of the killing of a black cat in the town of Schuylkill Haven
some years ago. On the night in question there was a large parade in town. People were there from a distance and immediately
following the parade the family about to be referred to, left the center of the town for their home on the outskirts, accompanied by a
large setter dog. When they reached their home which was in the center of a four acre plot of ground, the dog which had preceded
them had treed a black cat. It was a beautiful moonlit night and the cat could be plainly seen from the ground. When the family
reached the spot they encouraged the dog to go after the cat and several minutes later the dog jumped to the first branches, about
four feet from the ground and attempted to go out after the cat. Finally it was decided to kill the cat as it was feared that it was after
the birds. Procuring a shotgun, the resident of the place took careful aim and fired. The cat dropped dead at the feet of the person
who fired the gun. About the same instant the dog dropped to the ground uninjured and like magic, disappeared. That was the last
ever heard of him. It is not known to this day whether the ground opened and swallowed him and then closed or whether he
vanished in the air.
Several months later the owner of the gun was injured at the Schuylkill Haven storage yard by being run over by a loaded car, his
right arm was crushed at the elbow and he died in the Pottsville Hospital. The records of the institution will prove this. The tree that
year refused to bear fruit and the spot where the cat dropped was barren, it being impossible to raise a blade of grass there. The
man who shot the cat, just several weeks previous to the killing had loaned a friend of his several hundred dollars. The friend died a
poor man and the money was lost. The weather boards on the house in which the family lived started to spread and in inclement
weather the rain and the snow would come into the rooms. Things went from bad to worse and the family finally moved from the
place to an adjoining town.
|These three crude drawings accompanied the article above in the Republican. At left, the cat is casting a spell, in the middle, he is
consorting with the devil and at right, haggard from being hunted.
|Pottsville Republican of October 3, 1911
ANOTHER RUNAWAY ATTRIBUTED TO "HEX"
Another runaway occurred Friday in the Tumbling Run Valley that may be caused by the presence of the hex cat. A party by the name
of Moyer, residing in Auburn, went on Friday morning to the Tumbling Run Valley for the purpose of purchasing a horse. The deal
was consummated and Moyer started home with his new purchase. Going over the mountain between Orwigsburg and the Tumbling
Run Hotel, the road usually traversed by the cat, the horse took fright and throwing the driver aside, started off on a mad dash
towards Orwigsburg. This was about four o'clock in the afternoon. Moyer was stunned by the fall and lay unconscious for several
hours. He finally reached Adamsdale, where he telephoned to Auburn for assistance. Late at night a party of friends arrived at
Adamsdale and a search was immediately made for the horse but on account of the darkness, the horse was not found. With the
arrival of daylight Saturday morning, the search was continued and several miles back in what is known as the Second Mountain, the
horse was discovered in a corn field. The horse was slightly bruised and still had some of the harness on when captured.
|This series of articles is taken from newspapers across the country and their reporting on the "hex cat" of Tumbling Run....
|Washington Post of September 25, 1911 Syracuse Herald of September 25, 1911
Both newspapers published this same article.
DEATH DUE TO "HEX" Witchery Spell in Pennsylvania Began With a Black Cat
Pottsville has a "hex" or German witch case, in many respects similar to the famous one which was tried recently in the Berks County
courts. Asserting that her father, Howell Thomas, 61 years old, who resided in the Tumbling Run Valley, died as the result of a "hex"
placed upon the family by a family residing in Orwigsburg, Miss Mary Isabella Thomas, of the Tumbling Run Valley, recited a long list of
peculiar circumstances which she endeavored to show proved that a spell had been cast upon the family.
"It is responsible for many misfortunes happening around the farm," she asserted. "It had the power to silence pistols which were
bought for protection and cows have pined away and died as a result of the spell, which commenced when a big black cat was
brought to the Thomas farm." The family assert they saw the cat grow four feet in height and then resume its natural size. They are
afraid of it and afraid to kill it.
Howell Thomas was a native of Pottsville, and it is the wish of the family, as a result of his dying request, to have the funeral take
place from his house in which he was born. The family has visited about every fortune teller in this section of the state, in an effort
to have the "hex" removed but without avail. Finally their attention was attracted to the advertisement of a man living in Californisa
and the Thomas family is paying him a stipulated sum monthly to drive the "hex" away.
|Gettysburg Times of September 28, 1911
HEX CAT DODGES BULLET OF GOLD Feline Blamed for Casting Spell Over Family
While "Hex" Tales From Tumbling Run Have Created Derision, Authorities Are Surprised at Number of Weird Complaints
In the gray of the early morning, a score of the more intrepid farmers of the Tumbling Run Valley and a few interested ones, on
invitation given by Miss Mary Isabella Thomas, who alleges that a "hex" or witch has placed a spell on the family through the
machinations of a relative living in Orwigsburg, watched in vain for the appearance at the farm house of the black cat, which the
young woman says has assumed gigantic shape, at times reaching the maximum height of four feet. They waited with a gun loaded
with a gold bullet but the feline for the first time in many weeks, failed to put in an appearance.
SPIRIT FRIGHTENED AWAY Some of her waiting guests believe the evil spirit was frightened away by reason of the fact that they
carried Bibles, crucifixes and talismans to break witches' spells. Miss Thomas says that the big cat will surely appear some morning,
and then she or her uncle will shoot it with the golden bullet. They have great faith in the previous metal messenger of death,
although lead bullets failed them on other occasions. Miss Thomas has taken up her residence with a neighbor and the haunted
farmhouse has been deserted. Since she made public her statements that a "hex" is following the family, she has had five offers of
marriage. She has decided to accept none of them. Mrs. Sarah Potts has offered to give her sister, Mary, a home with her despite
the fact that she is accused by the latter of the family's misfortunes. Miss Thomas still possesses charms sent to her by a California
witch doctor and she says that she will guard these closely for future use.
FARMERS WROUGHT UP The farmers of the Tumbling Run Valley are greatly wrought up over this mysterious "hex" case and want
the strange affair thoroughly solved to the bottom. The "Republican" of Pottsville, the largest daily, in an editorial, asks for an
investigation. While the "hex" stories from Tumbling Run have created derision and laughter in Pottsville, the authorities were
surprised at the number of weird complaints which came in from that vicinity. One farmer, who has brought a large quantity of milk
from the Tumbling Run Valley for many years, declared that the fresh fluid was spoiled as he brought it to market. There were also
three automobile accidents in that vicinity.
|Evening Telegram of Elyria, Ohio of September 28, 1911
LAYS TROUBLE TO WITCH Woman Says "Hex" Has Placed Spell on Family
Farmers With Gun Loaded With Golden Bullet Hunt in Vain for Alleged Nightly Visitor
In the gray of the early morning a score of farmers armed with a gun loaded with a golden bullet, invited by Miss Mary Isabella
Thomas, who alleges that a "hex" or witch has placed a spell on her family, watched in vain for the appearance at the farm house of
the black cat which the young woman declares has assumed gigantic shape, at times reaching the height of four feet. For the first
time in many weeks the cat failed to put in an appearance. Miss Thomas has taken up her residence with a neighbor and the haunted
farm house at Tumbling Run has been deserted.
While the "hex" stories from Tumbling Run has created derision and laughter in Pottsville, the authorities are surprised at the number
of weird complaints which have come in from that vicinity. One farmer who had brought a large quantity of milk from the Tumbling
Run Valley for many years, declared that his milk was discolored as he brought it to market. There were also three automobile
accidents in that immediate locality. A singular feature of the "hex" influence at the Thomas home was revealed to the authorities.
Near the farmstead is as fine an orchard of apples as is to be found in this section of the country. Bushels of them are on the ground
going to decay. When asked why the apples were not gathered and the money used in the purchase of coal and the necessities of
life, the family stated that the "hex" had so decreed that the apples were not to be taken from either the trees or the ground. They
expressed the belief that by following this course the "hex" would be pleased and remove the spell that has cast despair among the
members of the Thomas family and was instrumental in the killing of their animals. During the past year the Thomas family has lost
eight horses and cows by death and each one they allege was the result of a spell put upon it by the "hex."
|Indiana Weekly Messenger of Indiana, PA of May 22, 1912
AFTER A WITCHCAT Family Lies in Wait With Solid Gold Bullet
"Hex" Has Caused Various Kinds of Woe in Tumbling Run Valley and Can't be Killed With Ordinary Ammunition
At Tumbling Run Valley near Pottsville, Pennsylvania, a family is lying in wait for a witchcat with a gun loaded with a solid gold bullet,
and has also put a "witchcat eating cat" on the trail of the "hex" or witchcat. This witchcat appeared at the home of Howell Thomas
some weeks ago. It was always seen at four o'clock in the morning prowling around the barnyard and it is said to have grown until it
was four feet long. It is averred that the hens began crowing like roosters and the pigs barking like dogs and this first evidence that
something was wrong was followed by horses, cattle, poultry and even people pining away and dying.
The climax came when Howell Thomas himself died. Two daughters were left, one a spinster, the other married. The former charged
the latter with having put the "hex witchcat" on the property, and at the funeral the two had a grievous clash, for the unmarried sister
tried to expel from the house the married "witch sender."
The Thomases had been shooting at the "hex" and though their aim ordinarily was good, they seemingly could not hit the strange
cat. After her father's death, Miss Thomas held a conference with an unknown witch doctor and announced that it had been revealed
that the reason the bullets had not been effective was because they were lead. She followed directions and molded a solid gold
bullet out of a five dollar gold piece. But when the magic bullet was in the gun ready for use, the cat failed to reappear. Miss Thomas
and the neighbors have lain in wait for the "hex" but all in vain. Some declare its absence due to the fact that too many people have
been wearing crucifixes and talismans to protect themselves. The affair became so mysterious that the Pottsville Republican
editorially asked for a complete investigation.
The latest turn to the mysterious case, however, is the most interesting of all. A black cat owned by a Schuylkill Haven man has been
found by the "hex" doctors to be a "hexahemeron" cat. This cat is said to have been born on the sixth day of the sixth month in 1906
and to have been one of a litter of six kittens. It was blind only six days after being born, whereas all ordinary cats are blind nine
days. The word, hexahemeron is taken from two Greek words, hex and hemera and means a completion in six parts. It is usually used
in connection with the six days labor of Creation as described in the first chapter of Genesis. While there are only five books in
Moses in the authorized Bible, the hex doctors declare they have a sixth book of Moses. In this book the witch of Endor ascribes full
power to the hexahemeron cat in warding off evil spells.
It was described that the "hex" cat had beyond doubt an engagement with the evil one, whereby it had imparted to it an imp or spirit.
The Schuylkill Haven cat has never eaten anything but toads, frogs, lizards and serpents and the hex doctors agreed that its
presence will restore the Thomas homestead to a normal condition.
|Pottsville Republican of August 9, 1913
MAY CLEAR UP RUN ROBBERIES
Chief of Police Davies believes he has about cleared up the many mysterious boat house robberies that have taken place within the
past few years. On Thursday he procured a search warrant and went to the house of George Hildebrandt at Palo Alto where he found
a great many articles such as will be found at a boat house. Articles of every description were found in his home including blankets,
toilet articles and the like. The Chief has been working on the case for some months and has just shadowed what he thinks a very
important case. The Chief has questioned all of the boat house owners as to their losses and the description of the articles stolen
and last night had a notice in these columns asking boat house owners who have been robbed within the past four years to
communicate with him. At the present time he is busy collecting evidence and he promises a great surprise when the trial comes off
in the September term. Hildebrandt was given a hearing before Alderman McCool on Thursday evening and evidence heard in
reference to the charges brought by the Chief. He was sent up on the hill on a charge of larceny and also for a further hearing. On
account of one of the main witnesses, who owns the blankets and other articles, being out of town, the hearing is delayed.
|Pottsville Republican of April 15, 1913
WANT RUN LEASE FOR PARK SITE
Capitalists from New York, Philadelphia and Scranton have been in Pottsville this week for the purpose of looking over Tumbling Run
with the idea of leasing it for a summer resort if a lease can be procured from the Reading Company. They were enthusiastic over
the prospects and when cold water was thrown on their plans by the statement that it would probably be impossible to get a lease,
they refused to give up hope and expressed the idea that it may be possible to secure the rights which they desire. In the event of
them being successful it is their intention to make this one of the most complete and most interesting inland parks and summer
resorts in the state. They are ready to expend big sums to establish the park if a reasonable lease can be secured. They conferred
with a number of businessmen of this city and received encouragement for their proposition in every particular except as to the
probability of successfully negotiating a lease with the Reading Company.
|Miners Journal of June 14, 1862
On Saturday last, Stanley, son of John W. Roseberry, Esquire, of this borough, aged ten years, was accidentally drowned while
bathing in the lower dam at Tumbling Run. A son of Mr. Womelsdorf who was in the vicinity, made an effort to rescue the lad at some
risk to himself. It seems that Stanley, who could not swim, was paddling near the bank on a small raft, that it got, before he was aware
of it, some distance from the shore in deep water. He became alarmed and jumping in, he was drowned. Stanley was a remarkably,
intelligent, promising lad, and the stroke upon his parents is severe. They have our sympathy in their bereavement.
|Miners Journal of September 18, 1852
TUMBLING RUN DAM REBUILT
This dam, one of the feeders of the Schuylkill canal, was broken it will be recollected by the Great August Freshet of 1850, nearly one
half its length being entirely carried away. It remained in its dilapidated condition until within a few weeks since, when its repair was
begun under the direction of Mr. Smith, Engineer of the Canal Company, and the work is now about being completed. The quantity of
dirt filled in is estimated at 35,000 yards, from which the size of the breach and the amount of labor required to mend it may be
approximately calculated. The whole dam will also be made two feet higher than before.
It was necessary to excavate the bottom of the breach, removing the collected sand and other rubbish, to the depth of ten feet
before arriving at a solid foundation, and a projecting rock, in the broken embankment on the south side, was cut away to a
considerable distance, in order to form a shoulder for the new work. The waste way, along the mountain, has also been enlarged
several feet, to provide against any accidental surplus of water in the future. The sluices are constructed along the most approved
plans, and the latest improvements for security in dam building introduced, wherever applicable, so that when completed, the
structure will be much stronger and safer than before.
Tumbling Run Dam was formerly a popular resort for evening walking parties. From its elevated and peculiar position, visitors were
always sure of a cool and healthful breeze, even in the warmest weather, which added to the enjoyment of most charming moonlight
scenery, rendering the place preeminently attractive. The freshet, however, swept away all the romance of the dam and
sentimentalists have since been sadly at fault for want of some congenial spot where to:
"Soothe every gust of passion into peace, All but the swellings of the softened heart, That waken, not disturb the tranquil mind."
The recent repairs will therefore be hailed with approval in more than a business point of view.
|Pottsville Republican of May 1, 1913
SCENIC RAILWAY AT TUMBLING RUN
Tumbling Run is not going to be the dead letter this summer that was feared and it promises to be more interesting and filled with
more life this summer than for many years and perhaps more than ever before in the past. Scranton promoters were here and visited
the Run and concluded arrangements for the construction of a scenic railway. The lumber for its construction is already on the way
here and work on it will be started at once. It will be built at a cost of $8,000 and will be about half a mile in length. The loading station
will be just below the band platform on the knoll alongside the hotel and the course will be up toward the ballpark to the rear of the
grandstand where a turn will be taken toward the dam and a loop made back to the grandstand where it will pass over the other track
and sweep down the field, coming out down near the Y. M. C. A. boat house where it skirts along the hill about forty feet above the
road, back to the starting place. The cars will be operated on grade by electricity.
While no definite announcement is made of any other improvements in the amusement line, it is said that others will follow which will
have a tendency to greatly increase the popularity at the Run. The rumor that swimming is to be permitted this summer has not been
denied or affirmed but the rumor persists and it would be no surprise if the concession to the people of Pottsville was given, thus
removing a very strong criticism which was caused against the company by the people of the county seat and vicinity.
|Pottsville Republican of May 8, 1913
PREPARE TO OPEN TUMBLING RUN
Arrangements are being made for the formal opening of Tumbling Run on May 30th, the same as in former years. The band will be
engaged for the occasion and various attractions will be provided to encourage a big crowd to celebrate the holiday at that resort.
This summer promises to be the most interesting and successful in the history of the Run, even though there will be no swimming.
The leases for the boat houses have been received after being delayed sufficiently long to cause apprehension among the owners
and they are assured of the pleasure of boating and of boat house outings even though they daren't wet their feet in either of the big
dams. A force of twenty carpenters and laborers are at work hauling the lumber for the scenic railway to the park and the work on
this will be pushed along so that it will be running early in the season. It is certain to prove popular as it will be quite picturesque
and will be quite an addition to the other attractions of the resort.
The Gorman boat house for the use of the public will be conducted this summer by the sisters of the late J. H. Gorman. John Cowhey
will be the manager of the business and have full charge. While the Reading Company will not permit extensive camping parties on
their ground, the Traction Company will permit it on the land under the control of the trolley company.
Baseball promises to be quite an attraction during the summer months and workmen are now engaged in preparing the fence and the
grandstand and bleachers so that everything will be in shape when the season is finally ushered in with the Tri State League clubs
playing here. Caretaker Buckley has a force of men at work repairing the cribbing, fixing up the walks and fences and giving the
place a coat of whitewash. The flower gardens will be cared for and made quite as pretty as last season while the amusement
pavilion promises to become quite popular.
|Pottsville Republican of May 15, 1913
PROSPECT IS GOOD FOR SWIMMING
Swimming in Tumbling Run lake, a time honored custom among the boys of Pottsville and of the hills and valleys round about, may be
restored, if rumors now in circulation prove true and if so Young America will bless the powers that be for the comeback of that fine
and healthful sport and the boys who cannot swim doubly will rejoice, more than the other fellows who can, for soon they too ought
to be able to work their fins in that impossible to be described manner that makes a swimmer swim.
The rumor goes further than saying that swimming will be allowed, as it sets forth a strong edict against the 'little bares' who are in
the habit of gamboling along the shores of the lower lake or dam, and they must assemble along Sandy Beach, the same as the other
little fellows, where they can be under observation that will prevent them from getting into deep water, something that is not
possible along the southern shores of the lower lake, where the bank is steep and the kiddies are liable to slip into water over their
heads before they are aware of the danger they are in.
At the Tumbling Run upper lake the swimming can be confined to sandy Beach for beginners and they will be taken care of by the
other boys who can swim and by the older people who gather at the Run. Boat house bathing would be permitted according to the
rumor and the bathing at the Gorman station restored to its old time popularity. A number of the boat house owners have received
renewals of their leases and the Gorman Estate has had the lease of the passenger steamer landing renewed, which coupled with
the construction of the scenic railway, means renewed life for beautiful, attractive and healthful Tumbling Run.
|Miners Journal of March 13, 1849
A STROLL TO TUMBLING RUN
This poem about Tumbling Run appeared in the newspaper dated above:
One day within the Ides of March, bright with a golden sun,
My friends and I desired a walk up to the Tumbling Run.
But as no sport can ever be where ladies' smiles are not,
We could not go alone, ah no! some must along be got.
So off we went each for a find a rosy, pretty girl,
Or more indeed if more would go, for they increased the fun.
We fixed a place at which to meet, each with his lady fair,
For there to start upon our stroll, to enjoy the balmy air.
Then on our winding way we went, o'er railroad, bridge and sty,
Whilst Thalis ruled each willing heart and brightened each soft eye.
In sporting glee and laughing mirth, some ran and some did walk,
And others still of Venus touched of love did poem talk.
A sympathy too was all around, on every object seen,
The Zephyr sang, the waters dance, as if they'd tipsy been.
Thus swiftly passed the hours away, too fast alas for me,
But tis I know sometimes forbid, such moments long to see.
At last we came to where the tide of Tumbling Run is stemmed,
Its face was bright with sparkling sun, tween mountains quite inhemmed.
Oh I'd like in a woodland cot, to dwell upon the banks,
Far greater happiness I should feel than in the cold, worldly ranks.
To listen to its gentle flow through all the summer's day,
When laurels bloom and blackbirds sing, in carols loud and gay.
Upon the rocks we listened long to his wild and noisy sound,
As on one side it proudly leaps its battlements around.
There's music in its dashing foam, such as no art can make,
It is a key in nature's harp, to which the feelings wake.
Roll on thou Tumbling Run I love, to hear thy gurgling voice,
And as thou wakes at the murmuring notes, they bid my heart rejoice.
For music's strains oft cheer my heart, when sadness gathers round,
And oft the light of happiness is brightened by its sound.
Approaching night now bid us home, our lingering footsteps turn,
But the afternoon of that fair day is deep in memory's urn.
|GYPSIES AT TUMBLING RUN
This set of pictures from 1910 shows a gypsy camp
at Tumbling Run. At right is a group of children with
the wagons. Below that is a picture of the gypsy
king and below this is a general view of their camp.
|These nice early twentieth century photos are a nice variety from Tumbling Run.
Clockwise from top left: The trolley at Tumbling Run (note the "Baseball Today" sign on the front, the Wellington
boat house on the upper dam, the Tumbling Run Dairy delivery wagon and a general view of the farm near the dam.
|Miners Journal of January 18, 1875
ACCIDENT AT TUMBLING RUN
On Friday evening, Francis McClain, employed at the Knickerbocker Ice Company's works at Tumbling Run Dam, by some means had
his foot caught and badly jammed in the elevator used for raising ice into the house. The injury, though painful, was not serious, but
the story grew as it traveled, until by the time it reached town, it reported that a man had been killed by a block of ice falling on his
|Miners Journal of January 12, 1875
THE MISSES MAGUIRE IN A NEW ROLE
Last week the men employed by the Knickerbocker Ice Company, to cut ice on Tumbling Run Dam, struck for an advance on their
wages. As the company had to strike while the iron was cold, they sent down the road for men. When the men came up, they were
advised at Mount Carbon to go back or the Mollie Maguires might scalp them. Terrified by the mention of that almost mythical name,
the newcomers decided not to cut ice for the Knickerbocker Ice Company. They need not have been scared. No Mollies would have
|Miners Journal of August 18, 1913
FOUR BOAT HOUSES ORDERED CLOSED - For Violations Of Restrictive Rules Required At Tumbling Run Dam
WATCHING OTHERS - Reading Company Determined That Order Shall Be Maintained
Four boat houses at Tumbling Run were ordered closed by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company on Saturday last.
Some time ago the company issued orders that there was to be no sleeping in the boat houses at night. Later this order was
followed by one prohibiting swimming. During the past few weeks it appears that a number of the owners of the boat houses or
people to whom the owners have lent the same for the day, have utterly disregarded these orders and have not only gone in
swimming, not once, but a number of times. One case has been cited where a party stayed in the boat house all night and when he
thought that no one was around, there stood a Coal and Iron officer with a polite, "good morning." His name was put down on the
little book. It is also reported that a number of other owners of boat houses have violated the rules and a watch is being kept on
them. The names of the boat houses mentioned in the report are the Alpha, Apollo, Ferret and Glen Donne, all located on the
opposite side of the upper dam.
The report received by the Journal was to the effect that the owners have received a written communications to the effect that their
boat houses must be closed for a period of thirty days. This would bring the time up to the middle of September when the season is
practically over. It was also reported that there was a violation at the Ferret boat house last year and that it was closed for some time.
Sunday morning members of the Ferret could be seen moving their effects from the boat house to a bungalow along the trolley road.
What action the company will take in a second offense can only be surmised. It was also reported that the Bob White was ordered to
close up but this report was without foundation.
|Below are four more nice nineteenth century images from Tumbling Run.
The two photos at the top are from June 22, 1893, showing the beautiful Hotel Tumbling Run.
The two lower photos show a farm in the Tumbling Run Valley at left and the ice house on the lower dam at right.
|These three photos show the
trolley service that traveled to
Tumbling Run. All of the images
are circa 1900.
|The image below shows the upper dam in the early part
of the twentieth century during a drought. The photo at
right shows fisherman at Tumbling Run, circa 1900.
|Pottsville Republican of August 30, 1889
POTTSVILLE'S BIG DAY - The Regatta of the Boat Clubs Yesterday! - A Brilliant Display of Fireworks
An Immense Throng of People Witness the Sports at Tumbling Run - A Decided Success and Everybody Well Pleased
Shortly after noon yesterday people began wending their way to Tumbling Run and by 4:30 o'clock, the time published for
commencement of the sports, a multitude had assembled on the banks of the upper dam and the surrounding hill sides giving it the
appearance of a popular summer resort which it really should be. Many people walked but the hackmen of town were kept busy all
the afternoon and evening running to and fro. It is doubtful if as large a crowd ever congregated at the dam, even when it was
customary to hold picnics at the Lauer grounds before and during war times. Certain it is that never did so many people remain after
dusk as in ye olden times it was the rule to break up picnics before dark. Yesterday the number ran up into the thousands. Beside
Pottsville, Port Carbon, saint Clair, Palo Alto, the Valley, Minersville, Schuylkill Haven, Mount Carbon and nearly every town in the
county was represented not to speak of people from Philadelphia and other parts of the Commonwealth who have learned to
appreciate the natural and beautiful attractions of Tumbling Run as a health giving resort. The regatta of yesterday, aside from the
diversion afforded, will have the effect of booming Tumbling Run, of giving it a notoriety never before received. Would you believe
it, there are actually people living in Pottsville nearly a lifetime who never saw the Tumbling Run dams until yesterday? It is a fact,
We heard one public spirited gentleman's name mentioned who recently proposed to build a driveway from the oil works, back of the
Knickerbocker ice houses and along the southern banks of the dams to connect with the Orwigsburg road near the bridge and also a
promenade for pedestrians. What a splendid attraction this would be lined with shady trees. His proposition is that the land owners
and a number of other gentlemen enter with him in the good work. There is no doubt but that he would undertake it himself but in a
project like that a man naturally desires company. What a harvest an electric railway to the "Run" would have reaped for its owners
yesterday and what an income they would derive annually. There's a fortune in it for somebody.
But to return to our subject. The twelve boat houses situated in the bend of the dam on the northern shore, near the Lauer farm,
were elegantly decorated with flags, bunting, Chinese lanterns and other devices. About some platforms had been erected, upon
which cozy seats were placed. These were occupied by the wives, sweethearts or lady friends of the muscular, sun burned boatmen
who flitted here, there and everywhere in their little boats. The view presented from the dam itself was brilliant, the varied colors of
the ladies apparel, parasols, headgear and their bright pretty faces materially contributed to the happy effect. There was some delay,
incident to such occasions in getting the races started but everybody was in good humor and enjoyed the little mishaps happening
between times. The judges of the races were George F. Helms, Fred Agard, S. C. Kirk, Charles McGinnes and John J. O'Connor. The
first three were stationed at the starting point and the latter two at the turning point.
The first match was a swimming race of 150 yards. The entries were George Graeff Jr. and Elmer Miller. They were started about 150
yards from the breast of the dam and swam towards the head. They swam pretty evenly until within fifty yards of the goal, when Miller
gave out and took to his boat. Graeff finished the course and was awarded the prize, an elegant bathing suit by J. H. Uhler. This race
took place about five o'clock. There were two entries for the free for all tub race which came next with James Graeff and Harvey
Matthews. The latter upset before starting but when on the go once, gave his opponent a close shave. Their endeavors drew forth
shouts of laughter which reached a climax when Matthews upset his tub near the shore. Graeff followed suit a second after but won
the race, being awarded a splendid silver knobbed silk umbrella, the offer of Dives, Pomeroy and Stewart. The race was one hundred
yards from the center of the dam into the judges stand at the Columbia boat houses.
The first boat race was a pair oar race for light boats. The entries were as follows: Columbia manned by William McAdams, William
Loechel and Al Wingert; Blue House manned by George Zwiebel, William Evans and Thomas Davis; Spartan manned by Harry Kurten,
William Brenneman and Hope Hoover; Lady of the Lake manned by W. B. Townsend, Tony Reinhart and Joseph Bishop; Minerva
manned by Sam Gore and James Schertel. The boats started from an imaginary line extending from the judges stand on a narrow
corner of the Columbia boat house to Echo Cove. The boats were started by the firing of a pistol by Mr. Agard. The Columbia,
distinguished by a white flag, drew the outside position with the Minerva next. The former got the lead on the start but was closely
pushed by the Lady of the Lake, who crew pulled a steady, mathematical stroke but appeared to be handicapped by their boat. The
Columbia rounded the stake a quarter of a mile distant in 1.35 but had not a moment to spare as the Lady of the Lake accomplished an
excellent turn. The latter made a splendid struggle on the home stretch but the Columbia kept the lead and won amid great applause
in three minutes and thirty seconds. Lady of the Lake made a good second, Spartan third, Blue House fourth and Minerva fifth. All
turned their stakes in good time. The prize, a bunting American flag, by J. E. Rice and Company was awarded to the Columbia.
The next contest was for the pair oar race for heavy boats. The entries were the Star, the Augusta, the Rob Roy and the Mascotte.
The race began with a lead by the Augusta with the Star close behind. The others were left in the rear, a huge fish, probably a sea
serpent, seeming to have fastened itself to the bottom of the Rob Roy. It was afterwards ascertained that boat would not retain
speed. The Mascotte was retarded by the breaking of one of its best pairs of oars, the other pair not being as serviceable. The Star
and the Augusta reached the stakes about together and it seemed to those near that point that the latter had slightly the advantage.
But alas, for human judgement, the Augusta, instead of turning neatly as did the Star, shot straight ahead about twenty yards, thus
losing all chance of winning the race. It was afterwards learned that the steering apparatus broke. The Augusta came in second,
however, doing nobly on the home stretch, the Mascotte third and the Rob Roy fourth. The latter was loudly cheered, especially Mr.
Bolich who was compelled to explain to the ladies how it came about. The prize, a silver cup by W. H. Mortimer, was awarded to the
Star. The time was four minutes.
The canoe race followed. In it were entered the Mascotte by Martin Boland and the Townsend rowed by Tony Reinhart. Roland's
good work was spoiled by his heavy boat and Reinhart, who had an easy boat won but by a few yards. It was easy to see how the
match would have gone had the boats been evenly matched. The winner got the prize, a handsome silk banner, offered by Hirschler
and Fox. This was the last race and it ended about 6:30 o'clock.
The immense crowd then had a two hour intermission during which inordinate quantities of luncheon were absorbed and many
enjoyed the delights of a promenade. At dusk the boats and boat houses were illuminated and made a handsome appearance. The
view, especially from the breast of the dam, was inspiring. The naval parade at 8:30 o'clock was a novel affair. The first boat had on
board the little German band which played some stirring airs. The boats were handsomely and profusely decorated, the Rosengarten
boat deserving special mention. A large ornament resembling a Christmas tree, about eight feet high, with Chinese lanterns hanging
from every point, was erected in the front part of the boat and a twelve foot umbrella with lanterns suspended from the ends of the
ribs, covered the rowers. The other boats were likewise decorated with flags, bunting and lanterns. The boats paraded to the breast
of the dam and returned, performing some pretty evolutions on the way. During the parade the dam was brilliantly illuminated with
red fire presenting an enlivening appearance.
The display of fireworks began when the parade started and took place mainly from Echo Cove, although considerable were those
put off near the boat houses. The boat clubs and their owners certainly deserve credit for the impressiveness of the display. The
Third Brigade Band played some stirring airs in the latter part of the evening.
|The Call of August 21, 1903
BASE BALL AT TUMBLING RUN
The surveys have been completed for the new base ball park at Tumbling Run. A magnificent field has been laid out. The nearest
line to the plate will be left field, the fence limit of which will be a distance of 285 feet. The parts of the field to center and right will
even exceed that distance. It is safe to say that a ball will never be knocked over either of these fences. It is proposed, in addition
to base ball, to establish a racing track and a bicycle track in the park. The park will be used for fairs and all kinds of athletics and in
the future an endeavor will be made to center all attractions at the "Run," which will be converted into a huge summer resort.
|These two images were taken on September 11, 1894. Below is
the dance hall and at right is one of the buildings on the midway.
|Ice harvesting was an important business at Tumbling Run.
Below is the ice covered upper dam in 1890 and at right is ice
harvesting taking place in February of 1906.
|These undated photos show the upper dam after being drained for some purpose
early in the last century, the time established by the presence of boat houses.
|These two images show
entertainment buildings at Tumbling
Run, The Fun Factory in the
foreground being most prominent.
|The Call of May 22, 1958
THIRD FIRE AT DAMS
The third fire in recent weeks burned out a fifty acre section of the Tumbling Run watershed on Tuesday afternoon. Each of the three
fires burned about the same acreage before being brought under control and each of the fires was on the right hand side of the road
toward Orwigsburg. The first two fires did no harm to the larger trees and burned only the lower brush. The last fire, however,
caused damage to the trees. Borough Manager Richard Davis figures that the fires are being caused by cigarettes or lighted
matches being tossed from automobiles into the dry brush along side the road. He asks motorists to extinguish cigarettes and
matches and put them in the ashtrays inside the automobiles. A fire starting on a windy day could cause widespread damage to the
|The Call of June 5, 1958
FIFTH FIRE AT DAMS
Quick action of a Mr. Walker of Palo Alto prevented a brush fire from doing much damage at the borough's Tumbling Run watershed
last evening. Walker was on his way to Pottsville to pick up his wife when he discovered the fire between the first and second dams
on the opposite side of the highway. He flagged down a passing motorist and asked him to report the fire and then he took the rug
from the floor of his car and used it to battle the spreading fire. The motorist notified the Pottsville police, who in turn notified the
local police. Borough Manager Davis was called and he went immediately to the scene. Using the walkie talkie, he called Leo
McCord, foreman of the water department, who also went to Tumbling Run. Davis, using a fire rake, and walker managed to
extinguish the fire which had burned out an area about five hundred feet square. This is the fifth fire at Tumbling Run this spring.
The first three fires burned out about five thousand square feet each. On Sunday, Council President Willis Deibert saw a small fire
starting alongside the road and extinguished it before it gained any headway.
|The Call of December 9, 1910
$51,536 WATER PLANT - Or You Will Pay Increased Water Rents
Proposition Will Probably Be Put Up To The Voters Of This Town At Special Election
T. Chalkley Hatton, of Wilmington, Delaware, who was engaged to make the necessary surveys and to report the cost and advisability
of building a municipal water system, has made blueprints showing the size and location of the supply pipe necessary to convey the
water to Schuylkill Haven from Mount Carbon. The Reading Company will build a pipeline from the dam to Mount Carbon. He also
had blueprints of the plan of the streets of town, showing the size and location of the pipes necessary to distribute the water to all
parts of town, also the location of the fire hydrants, of which Engineer Hatton advises the placing of one hundred, in addition to the
number now in service. The borough will need about 460,000 gallons of water per day at the present time and during the next thirty
years the consumption will increase to 750,000 gallons. The Tumbling Run watershed can furnish this supply, at least for that length
of time. The cost of building a ten in ch supply main from Mount Carbon to town and distributing system throughout the town, that
will supply all parts of town that are now supplied by the present water company; making all the connections of the present water
consumers with the new mains and resetting the present fire hydrants will be $51,536.95.
The borough can borrow, in addition to its current indebtedness, $54,000, with the consent of the voters of the borough, so that the
borough can, if it so desires, build its own water system, with the Tumbling Run watershed as a source of supply. The Schuylkill
Haven Gas and water Company is also considering the question of building a supply line from Mount Carbon to town, for the purpose
of connecting their current system with the Tumbling Run dams.
At a meeting of the Schuylkill Haven Gas and Water Company with the Special water Committee and the borough's attorneys, the
president submitted the proposition that the company would accept the new constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and
the general corporation laws of the state, that they would build a ten inch supply main from the Tumbling Run dams and connect said
main with the present system, guaranteeing said line to be complete before the first of January, 1911. On account of the additional
expense of the pipeline and purchasing the water from the Reading Company, the water rates would necessarily have to be
increased. Rates would be between fifteen and thirty five cents per thousand gallons, depending on total usage with a minimum
charge of $12.00 per annum, should usage registered on the meter be less than 25,000 gallons in the year.
If this proposition would have been acceptable to the council or Water Committee, the borough's suit was to have been continued
until the line from Tumbling Run was completed and then the case was to be withdrawn. The proposed rates compared to the
present rates shows an increase from 30 to 100 percent depending on the quantity of water consumed. The report of the engineer
shows that the borough can build its own water system and maintain it at the present rates of the Schuylkill Haven Gas and water
Company. The engineer does not recommend the building of a municipal water system in opposition to the present company,
excepting as a last resort, believing that our town is not large enough to sustain a municipal system and an independent company;
either one or the other would eventually have to go out of business.
From the proposition of the water company to charge such exorbitant rates, there is but one course left for the borough to follow
and that is to build its own water system. The proposed rates would drive every industry out of town, that consumes any quantity of
water and a great many families could not afford to pay these rates. The special Water Committee sees no other remedy now to
relieve the present water conditions of the borough but to build their own water plant and recommends that the Ordinance
Committee be instructed to draw up an ordinance submitting the question to a vote of the people, of increasing the borough
indebtedness to an amount sufficient to build its own water system, with the election to be held as soon as same can be legally done.
The distance from Mount Carbon arch to Dock Street is 16,500 feet. Engineer Hatton recommends a ten inch wood stave pipe, which
will last for fifty years or more. The wood stave pipe is cheaper than cast iron pipe of the same size and will carry more water. The
map of the proposed piping of the streets of the town calls for various size pipe depending on the location in town. The creek
above the Tumbling Run dams, from which the water is to be taken, at its lowest, furnishes 400,000 gallons every twenty four hours,
which is as much as the town requires.
|The Call of May 12, 1960
COUNCILMAN TOUCHES OFF CONTROVERSY OVER PATROLLING TUMBLING RUN DAMS
Protection of the Tumbling Run watershed, long a touchy problem for the borough and a sore spot with sportsmen and nature lovers
in the Pottsville area, was the subject of discussion at the regular monthly meeting of the Schuylkill haven Borough Council on
Monday night at town hall. Councilman Matt Peel touched off the issue when he reported having received phone calls from
trespassers complaining about being arrested by the "chief of police." Inasmuch as the men making arrests are special constables
hired by the borough and not the local police force, Peel proposed that the constables be instructed to wear proper badges. His
comments about using discretion in making arrests drew comments from other councilmen and the borough manager.
Taking issue with the issue that some of the arrests are ridiculous, Borough Manager Davis stated that all of the trespassers
arrested have pleaded guilty at the hearings before a justice of the peace. President Clair Reed noted that it is difficult to determine
what a person 20 feet inside the watershed is intending to do or has already done. Councilman Roy Ebling stated that he too
regarded the work of the constables as Peel did until he went to the Tumbling Run area and saw what was being done.
Manager Davis reported that on April 11 a small home burned to the ground on the Tumbling Run lands and a few days later six acres
of woodland was burned. On April 29, another six acres were burned off in one fire during the day and one at night. On May 5, three
small fires were extinguished by one of the men from Guers Dairy. He found evidence to show that these fires were deliberately set.
In addition to garbage and trash deposited at Tumbling Run near the dams, washing of cars in the stream feeding the dam, and illegal
fishing, borough men found a badly decomposed dog near the dams. Fifty five no trespassing signs line the road along the Tumbling
Run dams. At the suggestion of council, a large no trespassing sign similar to the one at the west end, will be erected at the eastern
entrance to the watershed.
|The Call of August 13, 1964
CONSIDER FILTER PLANT AT DAMS
Manager Naus suggested that a filter plant be considered for the water from the upper dam at Tumbling Run. When the lower dam
gets low in the summer time, water is taken from the upper dam. Although this water is tested for purity and is safe for drinking it
does have an undesirable flavor. This is because this dam is relatively stagnant when compared with the lower dam. It has a heavy
concentration of iron and other minerals. Because it is still water, it contains very little oxygen. A filtering plant would correct this
condition and make the water more palatable.
Gilbert Associates, the borough's consulting engineer, will be engaged to make the survey of the filtering plant program and give an
estimate of the cost. The plan being considered is to construct a gravity filter plant between the lower dam and the pump house.
Although the lower dam dropped to a low level this summer, the water supply was far from approaching the critical stage. According
to a report filed with the state as part of a survey of water conditions throughout the state during the long dry spell of last summer,
Schuylkill haven's reservoirs at the lowest point had enough to supply the regular demand for an additional 395 days of drought.
He was authorized to obtain price quotations for a filtering plant.
|The Call of July 20, 1972
TUMBLING RUN DAMS ROSE RAPIDLY, HELD
How close did Tumbling Run dams come to breaking and causing a disastrous flood during the Hurricane Agnes rains three weeks
ago? According to Richard Nagle, who is in charge of the dams, they came within two and a half to three feet of overflowing. At one
stage the dams were rising at the rate of between one and one and a half feet per hour. When the sudden rise began in the upper of
the two dams, the two wickets were opened in order to permit more water to empty into the lower dam, and the three wickets in the
lower dam were opened to permit more water to flow to a stream and into the Schuylkill River.
The wickets are located on the bottom and 27 feet high on the 53 feet deep dams. The two on the upper dam provide ten inch outlets
each. On the lower dam two are ten inch and one is twelve inch. When the wickets were opened, Nagle noticed an immediate slow
up of the rising water level. But when the level continued to climb, he issued an alert to users of the Schuylkill Haven-Pottsville
highway. If the upper dam gave way, it would have caused the lower dam to let loose also. The water would have surged down
through the Mount Carbon arch and followed the Schuylkill River and highway between the mountains to Schuylkill Haven where it
would have spread out and flooded all except the highest parts of town.
Normally, the upper dam contains 245 million gallons of water and the lower dam 167 million gallons. If both suddenly broke loose the
devastation would have been terrific. In the regular course of operation, the wicket at the 27 foot level on the upper dam is kept
slightly open in order to prevent stagnation of the water in the bottom of the dam. On the lower dam, the one wicket is opened to
permit water to go through the treatment plant before going into the mains which serve Schuylkill Haven, Cressona and parts of
North Manheim Township.
When the danger to the dams became apparent, the treatment plant bypass was closed so that the water could flow into the stream
from all three wickets of the lower dam. The danger to the earthen dam breasts would have come from cresting over the top of the
entire breast rather than only the spillway as in normal times. The rushing water soon would have eroded the earthen breast and it
would all have washed away.
Nagle paid tribute to the foresight of Schuylkill Haven's first borough manager, Richard Davis Jr., who had the upper eight to ten feet
of the dam breasts gunnited about fifteen years ago. This concrete covering prevented erosion from the surging and lapping of the
turbulent, rapidly rising water.
SEEKING FUNDS Borough officials are filing applications for both federal and state aid to clean out the upper dam of the accumulation
of mud, rocks and timber debris which washed off the watershed. A meeting with federal inspectors is scheduled for Thursday. A
rough estimate of the cost involved is $50,000. The Tumbling Run threat revived memories of the controversy at the time the dams
were purchased and when an agreement was made to exchange timber rights for thousands of acres of watershed.
Looking back, almost everyone now agrees that both were foresighted actions on the part of the councilmen of the time. The dams
were purchased in the early forties for $100,000. The asking price started at $200,000, dropped to $150,000 and finally came to
$100,000. The check for that amount was signed by the President of Borough Council, Percival Heisler, Chief Burgess Roy A. Scott Sr.
and Secretary Edwin Gerhard. It wasn't long after this fortunate purpose that Pottsville people claimed, "You didn't but it, you stole it
for that price." The watershed was acquired on an exchange agreement with Amos M. Strause. He agreed to turn over his vast
acreage there in exchange for the timber rights. This was fortunate action by borough council. The borough acquired the needed
watershed and sacrificed little except the value of the trees cut, because good forest management calls for periodic thinning out of
During and after the storm, Nagle reported that the reservoir water was a chocolate color. Filtering removed the coloring and
special attention to the chemistry of the water treatment provided safe water at all times. Biological checks were made regularly but
on these checks 24 to 48 hours must pass before a report can be accurately given. It turned out there never was danger from
contamination. Although Tumbling Run dams presented no danger, the steadily rising water level called for an alert to be sounded.
In too many instances in other parts of the country, many lives were lost because people were not alerted and ready to move out
when the danger alarm was sounded. It was better to be forewarned and not need to take further action.