- NGS PID:
- N 41.561961° W 76.006308°
- 621.9 ft.
- Bench Mark Disk
- Bridge Wingwall
- Year Established:
- Established By:
- Lehigh Valley Railroad
- Good as of November 30, 2013
- Official Description: NGS Datasheet
What a great day! It came about rather suddenly on Thanksgiving Day that my father intended to take a trip to Tunkhannock—ostensibly to go to Tractor Supply, but the real reason was to buy my mother a gift certificate to the quilt shop. We decided to go on Saturday around midday.
My father often takes a different route than I would on our travels. He never minds going the extra mile to seek out another little adventure, to try to piece together a partial recollection from a map or a past hike, or to share with me a vivid memory of his childhood. This time, before lunch at Twigs, we drove past his grandfather's old house on Redfield Street. Every few weeks, he said, they would make the big trip to Tunkhannock for Sunday dinner. His aunt Dorothy also lived there, and aunt Margaret before she moved to New Jersey. I asked why he didn't live at the farmhouse. He had, dad said, until he sold it to my grandfather who continued to run the farm. Dad commented on the garage that had been added on to the old structure, and was surprised that the extended yard—probably large enough to be a separate corner lot—was still empty.
Even on a Saturday the town was literally full of trucks thundering up and down the streets, back and forth between gas drilling sites. The sidewalks were busy too. We ended up parking a few blocks away and walking down to Twigs, where we sat at the neat long table in the raised section, overlooking the sidewalk. The sun coming through the window felt wonderfully warm as we enjoyed our grilled cheese sandwiches and soups (me and Rich) and burger (dad), and our Hop Bottom IPA from the local Nimble Hill Brewery. I asked yet again for the pumpkin roll for dessert but alas, they didn't have it (they probably only made it once)!
After some shopping in town we drove to the quilt store, where dad purchased the quilt gift certificate for mom, and then across the highway to Tractor Supply. There I was thrilled to find not only goat treats for Petal (licorice flavor—"that your goat will love!"—who knew?) but also goat figurines like the moose we already have.
Then I asked if dad had time, would he mind driving us down along Vosburg Neck? I checked the map on my phone and realized that it was close enough for a quick exploration if he had the time and interest, which he did. Rich was interested too. Believe it or not, I had no intention of looking for the benchmark until we passed over the bridge on our way south along the Neck. Then I started to consider it for the way back. But first I wanted to check out this odd little "peninsula."
The Susquehanna River the surrounds the neck has formed an oxbow loop and has carved a deep gorge through the mountains. The neck hosts Camp Lackawanna, a private Christian camp, as well as a nature center with a few miles of trails that are generally open to the public.
Dad and I took a quick run up to check out the bridge. It wasn't until I reached the bridge on foot that I remembered that the mark was not on this overpass but was instead on the small railroad bridge below us, just east of the tunnel opening that we could see in the distance. Unfortunately, Rich had stayed in the car, not thinking we would actually search for the mark, and I regret that he missed the find. Dad and I walked quickly down to the tracks, past the No Trespassing sign that we surely didn't see. We could easily see the benchmark disk from across the tracks. I made a quick recovery, regretfully without my GPS or a decent camera, while Dad explored the area and approached (but didn't enter) the tunnel. "Wow," he said, "not much room in there if a train comes by."
After visiting the neck, we were interested in learning more about the tunnel, and we dug up the following resources:
Wash-out in Pennsylvania. Trains Delayed by Accident at the Vosburg Tunnel.
The Vosburg Tunnel. A Description of its Construction. Illustrated.
Particularly interesting in the second document is the following, from the chapter on surveying for the tunnel (page 11 of the text; page 25 of the PDF):
In establishing the tunnel line, three stone monuments were built approximately on the same level; one on top of the tunnel-mountain, and one on each of the mountains opposite the ends of the tunnel, from one to two miles distant.
Of course, I would absolutely love to search for these stone monuments!
Recovered in good condition on the northeast coping of a girder bridge. The railroad is currently active and the property is owned by the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad.