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The Businesses of Mountain Top

The history of Mountain Topís business and industry begins with the early settlers doing what was necessary for their survival. It then changes and grows with the major influences that would transform America in the nineteenth century and with other influences that were more unique to this region.  The twentieth century would see even more change in the business and industry of the Mountain Top Area as it developed into the townships and boroughs we see today.

Lumber was Mountain Topís earliest major industry.  In the early nineteenth century, the mountain was sparsely populated.  Hunting the abundant wildlife and fishing the mountain streams and lakes sustained the early settlers.  Mountain Topís earliest settler, Conrad Wickeiser, arrived in 1798 and others soon followed.  As they cleared their land for farming, some of these settlers hauled the lumber down the mountain to Wilkes-Barre, thus beginning Mountain Topís lumber industry.  In 1820, James Wright established the first sawmill on the Big Wapwallopen Creek. Many more sawmills were built throughout Mountain Top over the following decades and would provide the lumber used for constructing the regionís railroads and mines.

Mountain Topís farming industry began with each family growing or raising enough to meet their needs.  As more settlers came, more land was cleared and some of these family gardens and fields became larger farms.  In 1833, Cornelius Garrison, along with building a sawmill, also grew a crop of grain and started an orchard.  Dairy farms also became popular, especially in certain areas where the soil was too rocky and terrain was too steep.

In 1840, the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad completed a run from White Haven to Fairview-Penobscot.  Then, the completion of the Ashley Planes in 1843 connected Mountain Top to the railroads of the Wyoming Valley. This provided a route for anthracite coal to get from the mines to the major markets to eventually fuel the American Industrial Revolution.   This transformed the mountain from quiet little homesteads to small towns that grew up near the rail yards and stations as even more railroads came to Mountain Top.  Many now worked for the railroad and more businesses opened as easier accessibility to Mountain Top brought more people.  Mountain Topís small towns such as Solomonís Gap, Penobscot, Albertís Corners, Nuangola, Glen Summit, Wright, Rice, and Fairview often had their own general stores, hotels, restaurants, blacksmiths, drug stores, and post offices.  Some examples of this are: in 1876, the Fairview Hotel opened; in 1884, the Glen Summit Water Company was established; and in 1887, the Glen Summit Hotel opened.  By 1884, Albertís Corners had a blacksmith, hotel, and post office all on property owned by George Smith. At Solomonís Gap in 1874, John Trimble opened a cigar store and confectionary and by 1878, a restaurant.  Another important business, the DuPont Powder Mill was located on Penobscot Mountain at Gracedale.  The mill employed many and provided explosives used in mining and in building roads and railroads.  In 1916, a huge explosion at the powder mill took lives and closed the mill.

Ice harvesting became an important area industry in the late 1800ís and would remain so until the 1940ís with mass production of the refrigerator.  Some lakes where ice was harvested were Nuangola, the Ice Lakes, and Blytheburn.  Ponds were even constructed specifically for this purpose.  Icehouses were built near the lakes for storage and the railroads were nearby to transport the ice to the cities.

The demise of many of Mountain Topís small businesses and the disappearance of many of the small towns was brought about by the decline of the railroads due to the decreased demand for coal in the 1930ís and 1940ís and decreased rail travel.  However, improved roads and new highways made Mountain Top extremely accessible. In the 1950ís, the Crestwood Industrial Park was established and brought many new businesses to Mountain Top.  This brought many more people to live and work in Mountain Top and expand old businesses or start new ones.  Some of the old buildings still stand as new businesses or residences.  This can be seen in the Mountain Top Historical Business Directory.  A detailed account of the history of Mountain Topís business and industry can be found in Pieces of the Past: A History of the Mountain Top Area and Mountain Top Past and Present.

 

 

 

This beautiful hotel was located here in Mountain Top at Glen Summit during the 1880s. It was built by the Lehigh Valley railroad for the wealthy to escape the summer heat of the valley cities.
A photo of the Alberdeen hotel in the early 1900s. Today we know this as the Alberdeen Inn.
The Alberdeen Inn as it is today.
The Albert Hotel and Post Office
The Mountain Top Hotel

The Mountain View Service Station was built by Arthur Yocum in 1931 For James ďFuzzyĒ Cornelius. In 1937 a large room was added on the left side as a bar called Mountain View Tavern, later again on the right side a dance hall was added. Today it is called the Broadway Tavern

 

Abodís Fairlawn Store in Fairview Township on North Main St. San Abod was the proprietor in the 1950ís and later moved the grocery business into a new building on Rt-309 through the 1960ís, this building was then turned into a dress factory having a session  of owners  

 

This old photo of the Follstown Mountain House shows the beer man and wagon parked along Nuangola Road. This has been a private home and beauty Parlor in recent years.  

 

The Spaideís Inn and Gas was built after Peter Stair General Store burned down on this property. The inn had been closed for several year but reopened in 2008 with a new owner.

 
The Yaleís Restaurant was built in 1943 by Frank Kreuzer for Worthy and Francis Yale, who operated it for many years. The restaurant was known for its fine home cooking, now the Shalimar Motel and Lounge. 

The Dana Perfume Co open in the 1950, a provider of steady employment for its work force till closing in January 1st 2005, Dana manufactured the Canoe line of perfumes.

The Certain-Teed Corp, original the Fibrous Glass Products opened in November 1961, the complex has double its size through the years, adding additional product lines and a large warehouse.

The Foster Wheeler Corp came to Mountain Top in 1952 as the first factory in Crestwood Industrial Park, building heat exchanger and pressure vessels for many years, the complex was purchased by Morrison Kundson who repaired railcars there for several years before closing and the building torn down in March of 2005 because of environmental pollution.

Eberhard Faber Inc., after moving from Brooklyn New York, started production in December 1956. For area residents it was a good place to work producing lead pencils, colored pencils, pens, markers, erasers, rubber bands, easel and fiber boards.

Some departments were moved to Nogalas, Mexico in 1986. The rest of the lines were sold to Castell Pencil in Tennessee, closing the Mountain Top operation in December 1988.

The RCA Company came to the Crestwood Industrial Park in the 1960ís and was a leading manufacture of transistors till that product was lost to Asia manufacturing and sold to Harris Semi-Conductor. Later it was again sold to Fairchild Semi-Conductor and finally to Intersil Corp.