From Hanson's to Fern Brook Park, railroads to steamboats, farming to industry, the Back Mountain has a rich and colorful past.
Harrison Wick, former archivist at Misericordia University, has collected photographs and information and compiled them into a pictorial history, "Pennsylvania's Back Mountain," set for release in two months.
Although he is now special collections librarian and archivist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the western part of the state, Wick's interest was captured by Northeastern Pennsylvania.
"It's kind of funny. I'd already accepted a position here at IUP, but I was asked by Arcadia Publishing, as part of their 'Images of America' series, to write something about the Back Mountain. So I said, 'Sure, why not,'" he said. "I just always had a love of the history."
The 128-page book has more than 200 photos, Wick said. The book, he said, includes everything.
"Steamboats, different bridges, road systems, schools, buildings, houses and, of course, people," Wick said. "A lot of history dating back before the Revolution to about the 1960s to 1970s."
The book contains four chapters: Kingston Township, Dallas, Lehman Township and surrounding territory, and Harveys Lake. Subjects include recreation, entertainment, family life, businesses, farming and education.
There are photographs and history of the Back Mountain trolley system, the Bowman's Creek Branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, steamboats and boating on Harveys Lake, amusement parks, including Hanson's at Harveys Lake and Fern Brook Park in Dallas Township, Wick said.
He obtained a substantial amount of material with assistance from "many wonderful people and organizations," particularly Misericordia, the Luzerne County Historical Society, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, and photographer Edward S. Miller, who had pictures of the trolley system, Wick said. Local historian F. Charles Petrillo, who wrote a book on Harveys Lake and who maintains the Web site www.harveyslake.org, was also very helpful, Wick said.
Wick plans to have a book signing the first day the volume will be on sale: Saturday, Jan. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township.
History has always been a passion for Wick, who holds a Master of Arts degree in the subject from Indiana University at Bloomington, Ind. He also has a master's degree in library science from there, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Washington College in Maryland.
Wick was born in Seattle, but has "lived all over," he said. He resides in Indiana County with his wife, Kimberly.