On the day I decided to head out to explore Laceyville Borough, I also decided to take a little side adventure and find Kaiserville. There is a turn off of Route 6, just as you are coming down the hill into Meshoppen. The sign says "Kaiserville 3 miles." In fact, the road that you turn onto happens to be named Kaiserville Road. So I made that turn, set my odometer trip mileage calculator to zero and drove out on Kaiserville Road fully expecting to get to Kaiserville. I mean how hard could it be? (Famous last words.)
I probably should have checked out Google Earth before my expedition. If only our early ancestors had had Google Earth. I might have then discovered that it was NOT as easy as driving on Kaiserville Road. I did discover that Meshoppen Creek is like the Platte River. It’s everywhere. But what I didn’t discover was Kaiserville. I tried to be intuitive, but without getting my compass out and getting out of my car to see what side of the trees the moss was growing on, after a long, hilly, winding drive which included almost getting a photo of a very large bird of prey, I somehow ended up back on Kaiserville Road. For a minute I thought I was starring in the movie Groundhog Day. I was afraid to try it again because I thought I would get trapped in this endless space/time continuum loop and my husband couldn't report me missing because he didn't see me leave and had no idea what I was wearing at the time. So I headed to Laceyville.
I’ve put Kaiserville on the back burner for a bit until I can hire a guide. But I did get this photo on the top of a large hill. As you look at it, imagine a large osprey sitting on one of those tree branches. It disappeared before I could change to my zoom lens. And such are the hazards of photography.
Laceyville was originally named Braintrim, and was one of the first towns settled in Wyoming County. There were two other “camps” that came before, one where Tuscarora Creek begins (called Skinners Eddy), and another at what is known today as Black Walnut. On an aside, Black Walnut held a tavern which was a hot spot for the likes of hunters and trappers. Black Walnut was also the place where General Sullivan set up camp with his army on August 4, 1779, as he marched up the river. There are plenty of Sullivan’s March trail markers along Route 6, and for that matter, throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. That Sullivan was quite a marcher!
If Northeastern Pennsylvania’s weather back then was anything like it is now, spring rains often cause creeks to swell and overflow their banks. It is thought that this exact weather pattern caused the settlers of Black Walnut to seek higher ground. That’s where Laceyville came in. The elevation made it a much more suitable and inviting location.
I know that I have a different eye than most people, and my head is always looking at things and framing photos, but as you drive through the main thoroughfare of Laceyville you can't help but notice the mixture of "updated" versus "been here a while." It makes for eye-catching scenery. There are loads of eye-candy treats in Laceyville.
To illustrate this in photos, the photo above shows one side of the street, the photo below shows the other.
A post office was finally built at Black Walnut and was maintained by Daniel Sterling (see The Route 6 Project: Meshoppen for more information on Daniel). Laceyville also had a day school (circa 1813) which was housed in a log structure at the west end of town. (Source: Laceyville PA The Hub of the Endless Mountains) Through my reading, it would seem that the Sturdevant family was instrumental in many "happening" things for the town. The family was large (11 children...winters were tough here...not much else to do) and this lends itself to grist mills, school teaching, building churches and becoming the Reverend of the church once built. I would say that early Laceyville has the Sturdevant family to thank for its growth.
The architecture of Laceyville leans heavy on the Colonial side, with a touch of Victorian and Federal styles. Again, renovations and additions have not necessarily stuck to the previous agenda, and there are clear signs of large lots which may be missing their original structures.
Eliha Hall finished the dwelling in 1781. It was built for the James Smith family. The house still has many of its historical features, and was inhabited by a number of families throughout the years. Today it is a monument to the simple structures of the past. Tours are held June through September, Friday through Sunday between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. It’s a stop I would highly recommend. Park and walk the rest of the way through town.
Laceyville became Laceyville around 1841. It was named after an influential town resident, Henry W. Lacey. It did not become a borough until 1903. Laceyville’s permanent residents number only a few more today, than they did many years ago. Farming, logging and stone quarries are still part of the business framework.
I did not photograph the Octagon House, a plank house (only one of three in Northeastern Pennsylvania) in the middle of town built in the middle of the 19th century. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to visit Laceyville and find it. You won’t be disappointed. It is a privately owned residence today and quite unique.
There's still plenty left to find in Laceyville, like the unique turquoise (yes, turquoise) bridge that crosses the Susquehanna River. Turquoise is one of my favorite colors. I was so tempted to take that photo. Instead I took this one.
What started out as a cold, somewhat gray day, blew up into this lovely blue sky with puffy clouds just in time for this photo. God is good.
I'm not sure where I'll head next, but for those of you who are local and following the blog, if you see a woman with a camera standing next to a dark colored Ford Explorer with a quizzical look on her face, stop and say hello.
Photographer's Notes: I used an 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 Nikkor lens with a UV filter for most of the shots you see in the Laceyville post. I switched to a 28mm 2.8 lens for the Braintrim Baptist Church shot. All photos were processed with Lightroom, PSE and Topaz Adjust.