[Floodgap Roadgap presents the Summer of 6]

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20 July 2006: Scranton, PA to Hartford, CT
 

19 July 2006: Warren, PA to Scranton, PA

After reviewing all the pictures I took over the last few days, I'm going to change the format slightly. Today and tomorrow will be as scheduled (Pennsylvania, and then New York/Connecticut), but the day after (Massachusetts) will be split into two days simply because there's so much good stuff that it can't be all done in one day. The first day will be Massachusetts into the Cape, and the second will be the Cape itself. So stay tuned!

These pictures are from the 14th; odometer starts at 97661.

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Back on the road leaving the Warren region (taken in Stoneham, a little village just outside the city).

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A charming little church through the village of Kanesholm.

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Downtown Mount Jewett with a weird green US 6 shield in the mural. Mt. Jewett is named for Hugh Judge Jewett (1817-1898), first a state legislator in Ohio and later an organizer and executive of several Erie-region railroads including the Central Ohio Railroad Company (president in 1857), the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad Company (organizer) and the Pennsylvania Railroad (organizer). After an unsuccessful run for governor of Ohio in 1861, he then went to Congress as a Democrat representing the 12th District of Ohio in 1873 but served only a year before resigning and returning to the railways as president of the Erie Railroad Company before his full retirement a few years later. The Erie Railroad construction is why the town bears his name today, as it was the original line through the town. There is a pleasant little home page about the town and its signature Swedish festival at MtJewett.com; the modern borough has 1,070 [2000].

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Typical of the countryside through this stretch are these rolling, moderately forested hills interposed with small clearings and houses.

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This portion of US 6 crosses the Allegheny Mountains, named for the river (see our entry from the 14th), and a part of the Appalachian Mountains. (The name Appalachian is actually descended from a Hitchiti Indian town in, of all places, Florida -- discovered by Alvar de Vaca in 1528 and transliterated as apalachen (all "short a's"), with the original name though not the town preserved as modern Apalachicola, FL and the Apalachicola River. The translation is probably a combination of the words apalachi and okli ("[on] the other side" and "people" -> "people on the other side [of the river?]"). The name was then applied to a nearby mountain range, and then to the entire range complex.) Compared with our crest over Loveland Pass and the Continental Divide in Colorado at 11,990', 2,424' seems a bit of a letdown but should be compared with Pennsylvania's highest point (Mount Davis at 3,213' in the southwest region of the state). This particular summit is the highest signed along the EB alignment in Pennsylvania and the surrounding area is a popular skiing destination.

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We cross a large variety of little feeders and streams as we leave the Allegheny river valley and move to the Susquehanna, including the charming Pine Creek named after the local tree. Pine Creek is the largest tributary of the Susquehanna's west branch. More about the S in a moment.

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Pine Creek widens out into and through Galeton, shown here. US 6 mostly clings to the creek valley's northern lip, throwing off branches to serve the portions of the borough over the creek to the south. Galeton is a borough of 1,325 [2000], named after the Gale Tannery that was the borough's chief employer after its initial founding as a lumber outpost named Pine Center.

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Mansfield (3,411 [2000]), named for English settler Asa Mann who emigrated to the region from Rhode Island in 1800, cleared out the forest, and plotted his own town in 1804 called ... Mann's Field. The modern borough hails from 1857, the same year that the Mansfield Classical Seminary was established nearby that is now part of the University of Pennsylvania system. It sits in the Tioga River valley, named for the Mohawk term for "where it [the river] forks" and another ultimate tributary of the Susquehanna. A spectacular Tioga-something-else exists in California at the end of US 395 Part 7, but we in the West pronounce our Tioga as 'TYE-oh-ga' while the Tioga River is 'TEE-oh-ga' despite all coming from the same word.

US 6 intersects US 15 on the west end of town, which runs on a modern-day freeway/expressway alignment. This is their original intersection on current BUSINESS US 15, which retraces the historical route through the city.

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Another gratuitous view of the countryside.

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Downtown Towanda (everyone wave to Terri!). Towanda is the county seat of Bradford county, named for the second Attorney General of the United States, William Bradford (1755-1795), with a population of 62,761 [2000] and formed in 1810 from parts of Lycoming and Luzerne counties as Ontario county (taking the new name with its reorganization in 1812). Towanda's name is a little grisly if you look at the etymology; it hails from an Algonquian language family term for burial ground (!). Despite this, Towanda has had a long history with its founding in 1790 and the incorporation of the borough in 1828, primarily as a factory and industrial town into the early 1900s until the factories waned. Its population today is 3,024 [2000].

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Leaving Towanda is finally our first good look at the Susquehanna, an Algonquian language family term for "muddy water" and it definitely fits its very sedimentous flow. (The name was probably given to it by the Susquehannock tribe which lived along its banks, relatives of the Iroquois.) This is only half of the actual crossing; there's a small island here under the bridge that splits up the river flow, and the bridge was too trafficked to run over to the other side and shoot there. The Susquehanna is a very important arterial in the region, especially during the 19th century when it was a major coal transport corridor, draining into Chesapeake Bay between Virginia and Maryland after a run of 410 miles and an average discharge of 40,000+ cubic feet per second. To illustrate its flow capacity, the leftovers of Hurricane Agnes in 1972 dropped so much rain into its watershed that the massive run of fresh water into Chesapeake Bay killed off most of the local marine life. It has also achieved infamy as the river through Three Mile Island, the site of America's most serious nuclear power accident in 1979 when one of the cores partially melted down and (despite no identifiable public injury) froze further development of nuclear power in the United States to the present day.

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As I mentioned previously, there was a significant closure outside of Towanda to outside of Wyalusing. While I was able to backtrack into Wyalusing, there was no way to cover the portions that were lost.

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I know where we should have the family retreat next year.

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Tunkhannock, another split in routings (here signed as BY-PASS US 6, though not along the actual bypass alignment). Tunkhannock is another Algonquian term variously translated as "meeting of the waters" or "small stream" (or, questionably, "full of timber" [?]); it is the county seat of Wyoming county, an Italian word meaning "no state here"* a Delaware Indian term for meadows, with a population of 28,080 [2000] and established in 1842 with a transfer from Luzerne county. Primarily a lumber town in the past, small industry moved in with the chief industries in tanning, light manufacturing and mills; this is largely preserved in its present economics with the largest local employer being the nearby Proctor and Gamble plant. The borough today has 1,911 [2000].

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The old route through downtown is preserved as a well-signed BUSINESS route.

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The bypass is mostly expressway with this small runaway ramp.

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Into eastern Pennsylvania, US 6 picks up US 11 and travels with it into the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region.

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Not long afterwards US 6/US 11 then merge onto Interstate 81 in Clarks Summit, which is where we stop for today.

Note how US 11 is not signed here, although it is legitimately co-routed. Neither US 6 nor US 11 actually proceeds onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-476).

Next: Scranton, PA to Hartford, CT!

Footnote: a tip of the hat to the writers of the Garfield and Friends cartoon show [RIP]. "HEEEEYYYY, SAND CASTLE MAKER!!!!! WANNA 'HANG TEN'??!!"

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