Monroe County Historical Association

Stroud Mansion Museum & Library • Stroudsburg, Pa.

Happy 200th Birthday, Stroudsburg!

The Borough of Stroudsburg’s history began in 1730 as Peter LaBar established his homestead, a log cabin, on the corner of present-day Main and Ninth Streets. Unfortunately, the log cabin is no longer standing. It was not until decades later, when Jacob Stroud purchased land in the area, that Stroudsburg emerged as a developed town. 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...

It’s the most wonderful time … to bake cookies

What is Christmastime without cookies? The tradition of baking holiday cookies began in the early 1800s and was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch. They embraced the Christmas spirit of giving by baking hundreds of cookies in a variety of shapes to share. The cookie cutters they used were handmade of tin by local tinsmiths. These cookie cutters were used to create the unique cookie shapes found throughout many Pennsylvania Dutch homes. Read More...

Railroad tower in East Stroudsburg

Near the corner of Lackawanna and Analomink streets in East Stroudsburg stands a strange, small building located just next to the railroad tracks. With a footprint of only about 15 by 21 feet, the tower stands two stories tall. This is the railroad signal tower. With its many windows in the upper floor, the tower provided a man working inside with a clear view of the tracks. The man could also be easily seen from below, but the structure was private, not open to the public, and perhaps there was a bit of a mystery about what the building was for and why the man was working there. Read More...

Dying in Monroe County: Old time disease names

As Halloween looms, there is always a feeling of macabre in the air. Neighborhood children will don costumes of zombies, mummies, or ghosts in hopes of trick-or-treat goodies. But the genealogical and historical importance of death cannot be taken lightly. Read More...

John Summerfield Staples: A Meeting with President Lincoln

Washington, D.C., July 1864 — Life in the nation’s capital was unlike life in Monroe County’s seat of government. John Staples, Summerfield’s father, experienced a period of adjustment, but was now accustomed to the traffic, heat, humidity, and the crowds of people, to say nothing of the mosquito population. Read More...

Education in yesteryear

Educating the younger generation has always been important to Monroe County residents; the earliest schools in the area date back to the late 1700s. This commitment to youngsters’ schooling notwithstanding, present-day education is quite a bit different than education was in the past. Read More...

Stroud Theater born out of an idea of an opera house

In 1910, several citizens of the Stroudsburg community created the Stroudsburg Industrial Club to “cultivate the social side, as well as to look after the business welfare of our town. The idea being to rent and furnish suitable quarters, where the members can meet for recreation or business.” Within a year’s time, the members of the club had come up with their first idea to help better the community. They wanted to erect an opera house within the borough limits of Stroudsburg. Read More...

John Summerfield Staples: In the Shadow of History | Retreat to Stroudsburg

New Bern, N.C., May 1863 — Home and family seemed a distant memory. In the delirium of fever, brought on by typhoid, John Summerfield Staples struggled to recall the events of the past seven months. He concentrated on separating reality from dreams. There was no doubt about the reality of death. They had buried three men, boys really, along the route of march, all lost to the same disease he now lay stricken with. Read More...

Fraktur: More than Pennsylvania German artwork

Fraktur is an art-form that came to America with European immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. The name fraktur refers to the “broken” appearance of the Gothic or Old English style of printing and is pronounced “frock-tour.”
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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...

Not-so mysterious tunnels under Stroudsburg’s Main Street

Sorting fact from fiction is common in the field of history. One legend often revived is that of the secret tunnels under Main Street in downtown Stroudsburg. Read More...

John Summerfield Staples: In the Shadow of History | Off to War

Stroudsburg, Pa. 1845 — From early morning until dusk a relentless sun bore down from a cloudless sky and heat shimmered and danced off buildings and streets. Flowering plants and shrubs, long a symbol of pride and prestige in the Borough of Stroudsburg, went without water so vegetable gardens could produce food for families. Read More...

East Stroudsburg votes to change its name

At the dawn of the new year in 1923, the residents of the borough of East Stroudsburg were called upon to participate in a special vote. Throughout the preceding year, some individuals felt that the borough of East Stroudsburg was losing its identity and that the “extreme length” of the name, consisting of 15 letters, was burdensome. 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...