Reader taken on intriguing trip down the Susquehanna
Just finished a great vacation read: Jack Brubaker’s “Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake.” (Penn State University Press, 2002.)
Even if you’re not a river enthusiast, the Lancaster New Era journalist/historian brings in history about the communities up and down the river. For example, if you’re interested in logging history, he covers this key 18th century Pennsylvania industry and then relates it to the river.
Some samples, gleaned just from the notes in the back:
– At one time, the Susquehanna was filled with perch, pike, mullet, suckers, catfish and sturgeon. Lancaster’s North Museum displays a 6-foot, 3-inch sturgeon caught near Bainbridge in the 19th century.
– K. Derek Pritts, of the Fish and Boat Commission, assesses the Susquehanna’s hazards, scene of about 40 boating deaths between 1984 and 2002: “Gallon for gallon, the Susquehanna is the most dangerous river in the state. It has treacherous currents, rocks, shallow areas, deep areas, all sorts of obstacles.”
– A significant minority of mature migratory fish are killed attempting to return to the Chesapeake Bay through the hydroelectric turbines on the river. But more than 90 percent of juvenile shad make it through. “Turbines are like revolving doors, not blenders, for juvenile shad,” Brubaker writes.
– Scuba divers attempted to locate a submerged Mason-Dixon Line marker in the pond behind Conowingo Dam in 1993. They jumped in with full gear and landed on a gravel-and-silt bar. The water came up to their chest, and they never could find the marker under all the sediment.
With good stuff like that, imagine the great material in the rest of the book.