19th century banking in Monroe County

In 1857, the Stroudsburg Bank became the first official bank in Monroe County. Before this time, there were no banking institutions in Monroe County, and local residents had to travel to Easton for their banking needs. Read More...

Keeping warm - colonial style

Nowadays, when one walks into a chilly room, it’s easy to take for granted that with a simple push of a button or a turn of a dial on the thermostat, the room will warm in a matter of moments. Prior to 20th and 21st Century conveniences, all homes were kept warm by burning wood (or maybe coal) in fireplaces. Chopped and seasoned logs placed on a burning fire were the only source of heat for our ancestors. If you’ve ever cut firewood with a chainsaw and split it with a gas-powered splitter, you know how much work preparing for winter can be. Needless to say, it took quite a bit more time and energy to prepare firewood to heat a room 200+ years ago when hand saws and axes were an individual’s only tools. Read More...

30,000 gallons of beer in the creek: Stroudsburg Brewery Co.

In 1899, a group of citizens decided that Stroudsburg needed its own brewery to craft local beer. Stockholders formed the Stroudsburg Brewery Company and met to elect officers, choose managers, select a brew-master, and organize and submit the necessary paperwork to Harrisburg to apply for a charter. Read More...

Past industry in Saylorsburg: Glazed bricks

During the turn of the 19th century, brick manufacturing in Saylorsburg was an important and well-respected industry, with its products marketed to communities both locally and throughout the United States. High-quality deposits of clay had been previously discovered in this portion of Monroe County, and savvy businessmen were able to extract this clay through mining to produce desirable, quality bricks needed for construction. Read More...

The early days of photography

With the advent of early forms of photography, many Monroe County citizens lined up to have a remembrance of themselves taken. Unlike today when we experience being photographed regularly, folks living in the mid-19th century would dress in their best attire for portraits, knowing that this would perhaps be the one and only likeness taken of them in their lifetime. Read More...

Paradise fish hatchery oldest in state

On March 9, 1970, by an act of Legislature, the brook trout was named the official state fish of Pennsylvania. In 1902, a Monroe County business created an industry to sell this native fish species to the public. The Paradise Brook Trout Co. was the first licensed trout hatchery in Pennsylvania. Founded by a group of businessmen from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the hatchery is still operating today on Route 191 in Paradise Township.
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Monroe County’s first world record

On Easter Sunday in 1898, a special edition of the Stroudsburg Daily Times was printed, and in the process, a world record was broken. Only hours before, the paper used for the newspaper had been a living tree. It was all done to commemorate the Stroudsburg Daily Times’ fourth anniversary. Read More...

Swiftwater laboratory starts with Col. Slee

In 1897, Richard Slee established Pocono Biological Laboratories in Swiftwater — his first client was the U.S. Army. Slee’s lab was the first and only company in the United States to produce France’s improved smallpox vaccine. Only one year later, Slee provided all of the vaccines used in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Read More...

W.R. Van Vliet's Canning Jars

Monroe County has had its share of individuals who have worked to make life a little better, or easier, for everyone. Warren R. Van Vliet was one such individual. During his inventive career, Van Vliet engineered canning jars that were better able to preserve foods than the other canning jars of his day. Read More...

Kmart Founder’s Life Begins, Ends Here

Sebastian Spering Kresge was raised on the family farm in Kresgeville, named for Kresge’s ancestors, and had a strong Pennsylvania Dutch upbringing consisting of a belief in hard work, thrift, and religion. By the age of 10, Kresge had already developed a strong sense of business. He started with a handful of such small stores called Kresge’s Five and Dime, and through profitable business practices, he went on to form the well-known retail company, K-Mart.  Read More...

Tanning Hides Once Big Business

The tanning industry has been a part of Monroe County’s history since the early 1800s, thanks to the rich supply of both hemlock and oak trees. Monroe County residents would often take their animal skins to local tanners to be turned into workable leather ready for market. Read More...

Ice Becomes an Industry in Poconos

One hundred years ago, Monroe County was a leader in northeastern Pennsylvania’s ice production and distribution business. The ice was initially harvested from our lakes for use locally by both residents and resorts catering to tourists. Read More...

Old Mill in Sciota

Along Business Route 209 in Hamilton Township stands a mill 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. Read More...

Stroudsburg’s ‘Sheep to Suit’ Record

Thomas Kitson, owner of the Stroudsburg Woolen Mill, had his eye on an unusual prize. He felt he could lower the world-time-record for manufacturing a full suit of clothing, beginning with shearing sheep and ending with someone donning the attire. At the time, the record of 8 hours and 0 minutes was held by a mill in Scotland. On May 18, 1898, Kitson set out to break that record. Read More...

The Wilkes-Barre & Eastern Railroad

In 1893, the Wilkes-Barre & Eastern Railroad was built to haul coal, transport ice from various Pocono lakes, and carry passengers eager to visit Wilkes-Barre, New York or places in-between. The railroad boasted the shortest route out of the Lackawanna Valley – 14 miles shorter than competing rail lines. The Wilkes-Barre & Eastern rail line climbed over 1100 feet onto the Pocono Plateau before descending 1400 feet into Stroudsburg. Read More...