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The History of Lake Wallenpaupack

The History of Lake Wallenpaupack

When it comes to life in the Poconos, living in Lake Wallenpaupack has an incredible amount to offer. Whether you're looking for a primary, vacation home or any kind of Pocono Real Estate take a minute to learn about the rich history of the Pocono mountains. CENTURY 21 Select Group is ready to answer all your questions and show you Pocono homes for sale that will allow you and your family to enjoy a fantastic quality of life or vacation memories that will last a lifetime.

Wallenpaupack is an area in the Poconos, Pa that encompasses parts of Wayne and Pike Counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Today a major tourist attraction for both winter and summer activities, Wallenpaupack is located approximately 115 miles from New York City. It is an area rich in history, having been settled prior to the American Revolution by a group of Connecticut families.

The name Wallenpaupack is over two hundred years old. It is derived from the Lenape Indians of the Delaware Nation who inhabited the region and called the stream running through the land "Walinkpapeek" or "Wallinkpaupeek" . The Indians' description of the creek translated into "waters, sometimes slow, sometimes swift", though translated from Walinkpapeek, the word means deep and dead water.

Today the stream of swift and slow waters in which Indian times provided the boundary between Wayne and Pike Counties has become one of the largest and economically productive man-made lakes in the world! Built in 1926 by Pennsylvania Power and Light Company and designed for recreation as well as for electrical power, Lake Wallenpaupack, also known as the "Big Lake", boasts a shore line of fifty-two miles and is some thirteen miles long. It is a center of attraction in the Poconos for sports of all kinds from boating and water skiing in summer to golfing on the ice and fishing through the ice in the winter.

The earliest white settlers were, of course, farmers. But there were numerous other occupations, too. Lumbering in the great virgin forests, small factories powered by the abundance of streams, quarrying of bluestone, the building and operation of the Delaware and Hudson Canal as well as the Erie Railroad brought thousands of people to the Wallenpaupack Area. But the building of the hydroelectric dam at the site of the ancient Lenape "Wallinkpaupeek" River caused a growth spurt in the area which continues to this day.

It is in this setting that the Wallenpaupack Area School District evolved. With the passing of the Free School Act by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1834, many schools were built in Wayne and Pike Counties which included the Wallenpaupack Area. In those days each town or township had its own school district. Prior to 1850 there were at least nine different schools in Lackawaxen Township which at that time included Blooming Grove Township. The original school at Lackawaxen was built of stone, but lasted only a few years. A second school was constructed in 1856.

As early as 1822 James Wheeling opened a private school in a log house in what would become the village of Hawley. There were twelve students in the school, three of them qualifying as "paupers" which meant that their parents were unable to pay for their education and that the County would pay for it. This, of course, was before the Free School Act of 1834. After the Free School Act passed this became the first Public School in Hawley.

After the 1850's schools sprang up everywhere in the Wallenpaupack Area. There was the Marble Hill School which was attended by children who along with their families worked for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. Because many of the children also worked on the Canal, school was open only between December 1 and March 31 when the Canal was shut down for the winter.

By 1869 Palmyra Township had eight schools and Paupack Township had six schools. It was about this time that a new school at White Mills School was built for less than $1000. There was also a school at Wilsonville which would later become submerged under Lake Wallenpaupack. Greene Township also had about a dozen schools in the 1800's. By 1892 there were approximately 56 schools in the boundaries of what now roughly composes Wallenpaupack Area School District with about 1175 students.

It is interesting to note that although people referred to little red schoolhouses most of them never knew any red paint--they were only weather beaten.

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