Tuesday, April 26, 2011


On Good Friday, I took a leisurely ride through an area of Susquehanna Township that I have driven through many times over the years. I drove from home on Sixth Street, when I first started teaching, to Susquehanna Township Senior High School on Elmerton Avenue from Cameron Street all the way to the school. However, I had never explored any of the roads that intersect with Elmerton Avenue.

I had gone to the market to find some whoopie pies to take to Matt and his family on Sunday. I also bought some blue Peeps for Ian, since I knew he would not get enough sugar in his Easter basket.

Then I drove out Elmerton Avenue, starting at Cameron, just like I did all those years ago. The first road I drove back was Bamberger Road, a "no outlet" sign failing to stop me. There were some pleasant houses back there and some sort of school (I forget now which one) in a very modern-looking building. I thought about a boy I had had in eighth grade, later, when I taught at the middle school. He was a big kid and teased mercilessly by the little squirts in his class. I think we'd call it bullying today. At any rate, something happened at home on Bamberger Road, and (I hope you're sitting down) his father set him on fire, killing him. I wondered where his house was and spent a moment just remembering him so he'd know he had not been forgotten.

At the end of the street there was a unique tree house -- made from a stump. Maybe this is the entrance to Alice's Wonderland, or perhaps the gate of hell! At any rate, it was clever and amusing. All of the houses at the dead end had "no turning" signs in their driveways, so I had to back up a block or two to change directions. No small animals or children were injured in my efforts to back up that far. Let's say that going in reverse is not my forte.

On the left as I drove back towards Elmerton Avenue was a decrepit-looking farm sort of peeking over a small ridge. I think some of the photographers on Beyond Second have gone in there to photograph the abandoned farmhouse. Later, when I was back on Elmerton, I looked for the entrance to the farm but was unable to find it! Those photogs must have levitated their way back to the old house.

So I drove on toward the school, passing buildings not there in my earlier commute, like the State Police headquarters and the Fish and Boat Commission and the Game Commission. I wonder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania owns a lot of the vacant land out there, between the Commission buildings and the former State Hospital. I recall talk many years ago of the offices of the Historical and Museum Commission moving out there to give the State Museum, where they are still located, a lot more storage areas.

The next interesting road I came to was Martina Drive. It's a lane and a half of blacktop winding its way up and over a small ridge. My friend Marcia had mentioned once that a friend of hers had lived in a house back there that was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. I thought I might catch a glance of it.

I ignored the sign that said "Road Closed," which looked to me like it meant, "There is no barrier here, but if you have any problems on this road because of its condition, don't call us." There were several large "dips" in the roadway, but all in all, it was not too bad. I slowly snaked my way to the top of the hill, with not a building in site. It was a dead end, of course, so I turned around and headed back down. It was then that I spotted this house at the end of a steep driveway. I could see only a small portion, but it looked like it would be something one might want to explore further. Not knowing if it was still occupied, I did not drive up.

When I got back to Elmerton, I noticed something in front of the property that I had missed before: a huge sign offering 50 acres for sale. Directly across the street was a second sign offering 35 acres for sale. I guess this bit of rural Susquehanna Township will disappear in favor of more office parks or residential development.

Once I got to Progress Avenue, I felt I was back in civilization and zipped home on I-81, to find a beautiful pot of spring flowers that Susanne had bought from the folks who live behind us and have a landscaping business and plants sales on their property.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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