The legend says that Edgar Allan Poe watched the ravens fly over Great Trough Creek in the early 19th century. Upon returning home, he sat at his writing table, put pen to paper, and composed his masterpiece, “The Raven.”
This story may be nothing more than local lore, but the history of Pennsylvania’s 554-acre Trough Creek State Park is full of color even so.
Before the American Revolution, the area that is now Trough Creek State Park belonged to Native American tribes, who hunted and fished there. By 1780, however, white settlers had begun to move in, forcing the natives out and clearing the land for farming and iron production. Various iron furnaces were constructed, and they remained operational until after the American Civil War.
While the settlers and their descendants had cleared land, built roads, and dug mine shafts in search or iron ore, the area was more affected by the arrival of lumberjacks in the early 20th century. Lumber companies cut down most of the forest, hauling away everything except for the treetops, which they left behind. This wood became extremely dry—so dry that sparks from passing rail cars ignited a large-scale wildfire that turned the region into a charred wasteland.
During the Great Depression, men hired by New Deal jobs programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration began to improve the area, designing the beautiful state park that exists today.
There are 32 campsites at the Park, and each has access to electricity, a picnic table, a campfire ring, and a tent pad. (There are public restrooms, but no showers.) Visitors may also rent the four-bedroom/two bathroom Trough Creek Lodge throughout the year.
While visiting, you can look for some of Poe’s ravens, or hike and bike the numerous trails. Fishing is a popular activity, and hunting is available in some portions of the park as well.
Park guests marvel at Balanced Rock, a seemingly precarious boulder that resulted when the more easily eroded rock surrounding it washed away thousands of years ago. Though it appears likely to topple with the next gust of wind, it is actually quite secure.
The Ice Mine is a similarly fascinating phenomenon—a man-made hole that became a giant natural refrigerator. The unsuccessful attempt to find iron ore resulted in a tunnel that holds ice into the late summer months, when everything else has long melted.
You can bring your dogs, but remember that most areas of the park are only open to the public from sunrise to sunset. Return to your campsite, build a fire, and share some hot dogs with your furry friend.