Items of interest in Monroe County through the years

Part of a special anniversary section
published in the Pocono Record on April 1, 2011,
as Monroe County turned 175.

By Amy Leiser, Executive Director
Monroe County Historical Association

A timeline of interesting events over the history of Monroe County

Mid-1700s — Four in a line of forts were built to protect against Indian attacks and were located in what later became Monroe County.

1741 — The first church in Monroe County was a log church constructed in Shawnee-on-Delaware.

1750 — Among the earliest public resorts or taverns in Monroe County were the Learned Log Tavern in Tannersville built in this year, and the Swiftwater Inn, which Gen. Sullivan passed while returning from conquering the Indians during the Revolutionary War.

1752 — The first church was replaced by the Old Stone Meetinghouse, which sheltered Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Baptist worship services.

1831-1836 — Several failed attempts were made to create "Fulton County" out of parts of Pike and Northampton counties. The name "Jackson" was also proposed for a new county name, after President Andrew Jackson, who was holding office at the time. Monroe County was the name that was finally settled on. It became the 53rd county established in Pennsylvania. Monroe County was created out of Northampton and Pike counties.

1832-20 — Well-known Stroudsburg residents created the Stroudsburg Library Company. Books to be placed in the library were to be approved by the board, and books with immoral or anti-Christian themes were "forever prohibited."

1840 — A census revealed that 31 schools and two academies were in operation in the new county. The Monroe County chapter of the American Bible Society was formed during the summer of this year. One of its founders was Daniel Stroud.

1853 — The Presbyterian congregation tore down the Old Stone Meetinghouse from 1752 and replaced it with the brick church that now stands.

Joseph Jefferson
1856 — Joe Jefferson, one of the leading American actors of the mid-19th century, was renowned for his role as Rip Van Winkle. He wrote the play based on Washington Irving's story, while living in Monroe County. Read more ...

1857 — The mail delivery system in Monroe County switched from the four-horse stagecoach to the new railroad, The Delaware, Lackawana, and Western, which laid its tracks from Scranton.

1855 — Stroudsburg was connected with outside points by a telephone line. By October of that year, the project was able to transmit election results. The cost of the installation of the lines was $5,600.

1860 — The first county fair was held in September at the present Stroudsburg High School grounds, which was rented for $90 a year. The fair featured an agricultural display, a corn-husking contest and horse racing.

1864 — The Monroe County Jail on Courthouse Square in Stroudsburg was built. The architectural style is Italianate, which features wide eaves supported by large brackets. The walls are accentuated by the projecting window moldings.

1867 — The Crystal Springs Brewery was built in the rear of the depot in East Stroudsburg by George L. Walker. It produced beer, ale, porter and mineral water.

1870 — The street car lines began operation in Stroudsburg.

1873 — Dr. F. Wilson Hurd decided that Monroe County was an ideal spot for his Wesley Water Cure. He treated his patients with sunlight, fresh air and baths.

1880s — Cigar making in Monroe County was concentrated in the Stroudsburgs. The Phoenix Cigar Factory of Stroudsburg produced more than 500,000 cigars a year.

1876 — There was now a school established in every one of the county's school districts.

1883 — The Stroudsburg Company Library had fallen into disuse and was abandoned.

1888 — The water of Ross Common springs, long appreciated for its curative properties, was being bottled for sale throughout the East.

1889 — The first phone was installed in Monroe County. It was a private line between the two drug stores of Dr. A. Lebar in Stroudsburg. Later in the year the Stroudsburg borough granted permission for others to run telephone wires.

1890 — The first of the independent telephone companies was in Stroudsburg located in the old Times Building, 604 Main St.

The Monroe County Courthouse was completed. The building was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by architect Richard Lacey to replace the original building that stood where the Seventh Street circle is now.

1892-1895 — A branch of the Standard Cash Register Co. operated in East Stroudsburg was to produce registers with an improvement invented by William H. Thompson of East Stroudsburg.

1893 — East Stroudsburg Normal School, now East Stroudsburg University, was established. There were 320 students during the fall term, and the number of students increased to 485 in the spring term.

'Sheep to Suit'
1898 — On May 18, a world record was set by Thomas Kitson of the Stroudsburg Woolen Mills, who made a suit from wool in six hours and four minutes. This effort included time to shear the sheep, prepare the wool, weave the fabric, and make the suit. Read more ...

The first basketball game in Monroe County was played in the new gymnasium built in Mount Pocono for the Mount Pocono Athletic Club.

Early 1900s — Interest was once again raised to have a free library in Stroudsburg. The state offered 50 free books plus $1 to help pay for transportation of each book. Twelve signatures were needed for the petition, but no one in Stroudsburg embraced the state's offer.

1900 — One of the first automobiles in Monroe County was an Oldsmobile that Lewis Pipher of Stroudsburg went to Flint, Mich., to pick up.

1901 — The first residents to get home delivery of mail were on a rural route established by Jesse Ransberry, postmaster at East Stroudsburg.

1903 — Stroudsburg Engine Works was incorporated in this year as a manufacturer of belt hoists and steam hoisting engines. The company's plant on Third Street includes the original building.

1906 — On Nov. 15, the first hospital in Monroe County was established by eight men in the home of George Heller, located at about 511 Sarah St., Stroudsburg.

1911 — On June 13, The Daily Record reports that Stroudsburg Public Schools levied a school tax of 6½ mills and a building tax of 2 mills that year. The salaries of 24 teachers and a janitor were listed at a total of $14,210.

1915 — The General Hospital of Monroe County began operations in April in the old Albertson home on South Courtland Street, East Stroudsburg. At the beginning, the hospital only had 17 beds.

Blanche Cramer started an organized and constant effort to establish a library. She presented a plan to Stroudsburg Civic Group (later known as the Women's Club of the Stroudsburg's) detailing an offer from the New Century Club.

1917 — As many students entered the armed services to fight World War I, there were only 136 graduates at East Stroudsburg Normal School, of which only 30 were men.

1918 — A formal memorial oration was held in honor of the 22 Monroe County soldiers who died in World War I.

1919 — The "Dough Boy" statue was dedicated in Court House Square to the 22 Monroe County soldiers who died.

1921 — The first bus line operating in Monroe County was probably the Red Star Transportation Co., started by Elmer E. Hosier of Delaware Water Gap. It ran between Mount Pocono and Stroudsburg.

1922 — Stroudsburg High School became the first high school in Monroe County to adopt football as a school sport.

1923 — The first radio station in Monroe County was probably WBHF, which operated at Buck Hill Forks.

1925 — Monroe County opened the Monroe County Home at Kellersville, thus relieving township and borough poor boards.

S.S. Kresge
1926 — Former West End resident Sebastian S. Kresge founded the chain of stores now known as Kmart. Read more ...

1929 — Monroe County got its first three airports. The Monroe County Airport opened on the Stackhouse farm in Snydersville. Lewis Pipher bought a field on the Elwyn Schoonover property at Craig Meadows for an airport. Another started operation on land just above the Schoonover farm.

1930 — About 1,000 homeless men were housed at Tobyhanna Military Reservation as part of a restoration program. They were transients, victims of the Great Depression, who had no place to go.

1952 — Stroudsburg High and East Stroudsburg High school played against each other in the first Thanksgiving Day game in what would became an annual event.

1953 — The Department of Forest and Waters acquired Big Pocono Mountain from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and announced that it would be made a state park.

1955 — From Aug. 18-22, the area experienced a record-breaking rainfall from hurricanes Connie and Diane, which abruptly ended the withering drought, but the relief was short-lived. The water brought terror and destruction that tore away bridges and ripped houses from their foundations. Tributaries swelled, some rising 30 feet in 15 minutes.

1959 — Fred Waring congratulated Laurel Blossom Festival Queen Lynn Cashman as special guest Jackie Gleason beamed with approval.

1960s — C. Daniel Higgins Sr. and Phil Santucci became Monroe County's first assistant district attorneys. James F. Marsh and county Judge Jerome Cheslock, became its first public defenders.

1964 — Located at the site of the United Penn Bank on Main Street in Stroudsburg, the Indian Queen Hotel was razed. It had provided fine accommodations for more than 100 years.

1973 — Emma Shafer of Brodheadsville took first place in the egg division at the fair with her peacock eggs.

A two-inch wide cucumber grown in a vinegar bottle with a half-inch neck was just one of the unusual items on exhibit at the fair.

1974 — Albert Murray Jr. became the county's first black attorney, then public defender and later assistant district attorney.

1975 — On June 19, Victor Mion, of East Stroudsburg, died due to an explosion and fire that occurred in his home. The explosion was caused by gas leaking into the house from an unplugged main in the middle of King Street.

1988 — Among the victims of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, was Timothy Cardwell, 21, of Cresco. Cardwell was a Syracuse University junior in the Reserve Officers Training Corps.

1990 — Linda Wallach Miller became the first female county judge.