History of the Four Main Areas that make up The Poconos: Eastern Poconos, The West End, The Mountain and Stroudsburg Area
The Eastern Poconos is made up of the Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, Lehman Township, Middle Smithville Township, Price Township and Smithfield Township – In Monroe County the district serves: East Stroudsburg Borough, Smithfield Township, Middle Smithfield Township, and Price Township. In Pike County the district serves: Lehman Township.
Delaware Water Gap – is a borough in Monroe County. It is located adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap, the pass through which the Lackawanna Corridor and Interstate 80 run across the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border along the Delaware River. The Delaware Water Gap is famous for its panoramic mountain river gap and the Appalachian Trail. President Theodore Roosevelt and the John Philip Sousa band were among celebrity visitors in days gone by. The town was home to band leader Fred Waring’s publishing base. An annual jazz festival here each September draws thousands to hear world-renowned performers.
East Stroudsburg – Dansbury Manor was the borough’s name until 1870 when it became East Stroudsburg, for railroad identification purposes. But reminders of Daniel Brodhead, who founded the town in 1738, remain in local names, including Dansbury Park and the Brodhead Creek, which borders the town. Over the years, the railroad has played a key role in East Stroudsburg’s history. Another long-lasting reminder of the borough’s heritage is in the Bricktown section of North Courtland Street. All of the buildings are made of bricks manufactured by the Zacharias family, which is still in business as a masonry supply company. The fast-growing borough features a flourishing downtown district. It is home to East Stroudsburg University and Pocono Medical Center. Many enjoy Dansbury Park with its pool, playgrounds, and athletic facilities, Zacharias Pond Park and Gregory’s Pond Park.
Lehman Township – Lehman Township was created August 19, 1829, from Delaware Township. Listed on the tax rolls for Upper Smithfield Township in 1815 was Joseph Leighman, paying 55 cents on 442 acres. In 1824 his name was spelled Leaman and by 1832 was Lehmman. Lehman Township is home to several communities. Lehman Township is also home to Pine Ridge, Pocono Mountain Lake Estates, Pocono Ranchlands and Saw Creek, which are four private communities. These private communities provide community and recreational services to residents. While these communities were initially mostly composed of vacation homes, many people have since moved there full-time including retirees and former vacationers.
Middle Smithfield Township – Middle Smithfield Township was created in 1794 and named for the pioneer Smith family. Today, a popular event is A Day in the Park each June. The township boasts beautiful views of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and a branch of the Pocono Family YMCA. The Cold Spring Farm Springhouse, John Michael Farm, Schoonover Mountain House, Captain Jacob Shoemaker House, John Turn Farm, Zion Lutheran Church are located in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area at Middle Smithfield Township and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Price Township – Cool streams and shady woodlands abound in Price Township, named for John Price, who settled here in 1764. The township includes many acres of Delaware State Forest, Snow Hill State Park and is close to Buck Hill Falls and Promised Land State Park.
Smithfield Township – The Shawnee-Minisink site, which is a prehistoric archaeological site located in Smithfield township and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. The annual fishing tournament at Waterfront Park and the Easter Egg Hunt are popular events among local children. Smithfield Township, created as a part of the infamous Walking Purchase in 1737, was established in 1742 as the first township north of the Blue Mountains.
The West End
This area consists of Ross, Chestnuthill, Eldred and Polk Townships.
Ross Township – was formed from a division of Chestnuthill Township and named after a very prominent citizen, Judge John Ross of Easton, Pennsylvania. Its villages include Ross Common, Rossland, and Saylorsburg (also in Hamilton Township). It is drained by the Aquashicola Creek westward into the Lehigh River, a popular whitewater rafting river.
Chestnuthill Township – was incorporated in September of 1763. Today the township is home to clusters of small towns including Effort and Brodheadsville, which is home to the annual and famous West End Fair. The township offers a 34 acre park with sports facilities and a Community Center for resident use.
Eldred Township – Eldred Township offers all of the scenery and outdoor recreation that the Poconos is known for and is also home of Kunkletown. Its own claim to fame, Kunkletown is named after a Mr. Kunkle who “played” President Lincoln’s “body” double to foil assassination plots.
Polk Township – The township building is in Kresgeville, named for the pioneer Kresge family. Over the years this name has included S.S. Kresge, founder of Kresge’s department stores, which became Kmart. Kresge also donated $25,000 in 1928 to help the local school district. Among points of interest are a nature trail on Route 534, which offers picnicking and hiking, and the Veterans Memorial on Route 209 in Kresgeville that was erected during the sesquicentennial.
The heart of our region is made up of Coolbaugh Township, Jackson Township, Paradise Township, Pocono Township, Barrett Township, Tobyhanna Township and Tunkhannock Township.
Coolbaugh Township – Tobyhanna Village (not to be confused with Tobyhanna Township) was a major center for ice harvesting many years back. Today, Coolbaugh Township may be best known for the Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Jackson Township – was principally a farming and logging community. Some of the state’s most progressive farms of the mid – 19th century were located in Jackson Township. Jackson Township also played a part in the Monroe County ice industry. Most of the ice was harvested on two major lakes in the Township, Trout Lake and Mountain Springs Lake. The prosperity and growth of Jackson Township was increased significantly by the construction of the Wilkes Barre & Eastern Railroad – a project of the New York Susquehanna and Western in 1893-94. Jackson Township ice was loaded at the Reeders Depot for shipment to Jersey City and New York. Today Jackson township is a rural wooded area home to many small communities and Bed & Breakfast’s as well as some commercial districts and resorts.
Paradise Township – was carved from Price Township in 1848. Among its villages is Henryville, the Henryville House fishing hotel was visited by such celebrities as Buffalo Bill Cody and four U.S. presidents. Today, you’ll find lodging facilities, attractions and restaurants. The township also hosts Easter, Halloween and Christmas festivities, and the annual Community Day picnic in September, with music, games and food.
Pocono Township – Pocono Township and Tannersville are best known for ski slopes, elegant resorts, the Camelback/Camelbeach ski resort and water park and the Crossings, which is a large complex of factory outlet stores that draws travelers from far away. Pocono Township also hosts many of the activities that have made the Poconos a go to destination and is also known for the National Natural Landmark, the Cranberry Bog. The township is also home to Sanofi Pasteur, world-famous for production of human vaccines and biological.
Barrett Township – is a growing community of approximately 4,100 full time residents. With the presence of several popular tourist destinations, resorts, and a thriving commercial and business community, the population present in the Township on a daily basis can often swell to many times that number. Barrett was formed in 1859 from portions of both Paradise Township and Price Township. The Township is bordered on the south by Paradise Township, Price Township to the southeast, and Coolbaugh Township on the west. Barrett Township is bordered by Greene Township in Pike County to the north, and Porter Township in Pike County to the northeast. Barrett Township consists of 5 villages: Cresco, Mountainhome, Canadensis, Buck Hill Falls, and Skytop. Each village represents the original settlement areas within the Township and is serviced by it’s own United States Post Office. Barrett is close enough to the more populous areas of the county to be conveniently accessible, yet it’s position within Monroe County provides for a “small town” sense of community and makes it a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family.
Tobyhanna Township -The 52-square-mile Tobyhanna Township was incorporated from neighboring Coolbaugh Township in 1830 and takes its name from the stream Tobyhanna, which means a stream lined with alders. It is frequently confused with Tobyhanna Village, located in Coolbaugh Township. Among points of interest are the Clymer Library, state fish and game lands and New Ventures Business Park as well as being home to prestigious communities. These communities include Lake Naomi, Timber Trails and Pinecrest Lake Golf & Country Club located in Pocono Pines.
Tunkhannock Township – Considered one of the world’s Top 40 “Last Great Places” by The Nature Conservancy, Tunkhannock Township boasts a beautiful landscape and abundant recreational opportunities. For good old-fashioned fun, residents enjoy the annual Tunk Fest in July. Although, the township may be best known as the home of the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, which attracts 150,000 visitors for two NASCAR races.
This area consists of Hamilton Township, Stroud Township and Stroudsburg (East Stroudsburg is sometimes also included in this area however it is considered part of Eastern Poconos – Please see the Eastern Poconos section for information on East Stroudsburg). The Stroudsburg area is easily accessible from Route 80 making this area popular with visitors from New Jersey and New York, as well as home to thriving commuter communities.
Hamilton Township – Hamilton Township is home to many historical sites – one is particularly outstanding – Along Business Route 209 in Hamilton Township stands a mill that is centuries old. Built by Jacob Brinker in 1730, this old mill was originally a log structure. By 1800, the mill had been replaced by the stone structure which stands today. Jacob Brinker and his mill played an early role in the shaping of America. The 2½ story mill houses a large overshot wheel which was used to produce flour. Water from the McMichaels Creek provided power to turn the large wheel and grind corn to make various types of flour and feed. Two millers were needed to operate the mill.
By 1830, the Snyder family took over the mill and operated it over the next 100 years. Will Snyder was the last of the Snyder family to work the mill until he sold the building to Eugene Heller in 1954. Heller eventually sold the mill to Karl Hope. In 1974, Hope generously donated the mill to Hamilton Township with the understanding that the old structure would be used for “historical, cultural, and governmental purposes.”
The mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1976 and serves as a reminder of Monroe County’s diverse past. The mill offers an annual demonstration and seasonal tours. This township offers a look into the past with all the lovely stone buildings and colonial homes, but also has a touch of modern with residential communities and small commercial areas.
Stroud Township – was named for Stroudsburg founder, Jacob Stroud. Among the larger communities within it are Analomink, founded around 1846 by William White and originally named Spraguesville, for a type of brake manufactured there. It was later renamed Analomink after a creek now called the Brodhead.
Stroudsburg – the Monroe County seat, was founded by Jacob Stroud who laid out the town in 1799. The house he built on Main Street for his son John, is known as Stroud Mansion. Today, this house hosts the Monroe County Historical Association and museum. The borough is noted for its bustling downtown- filled with restaurants, nightclubs, banks, hotels, retail stores, art galleries, churches and more.
Stroudsburg is a hub of activity year-round. The town hosts celebrations from the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Memorial Day parade, Tuba Christmas and community caroling. You’ll also find recreation opportunities at the five municipal parks and community pool. Be sure to visit the flourishing downtown where art galleries are the focus of the monthly “First Saturday” events.