History of Fairview Lake
By Coulby Dunn
Fairview Lake is located in Tafton, Pennsylvania along Route 390 and Gumbletown Road, just south of Lake Wallenpaupack.
Geologically Fairview Lake is generally considered to be a glacial lake that took shape millions of years ago. Its high elevation of 1,525 feet above sea level has naturally fed springs from deep within the earth's crust. The watershed area is so small that it provides more pristine waters compared to other lakes.
Like every other part of the Poconos the earliest known settlers had to work and live with the Lenape Indians. The Lenape's were fearless warriors in battle, but were not a warlike race. They were a proud and productive tribe that traded with their English settlers - exchanging iron pots, metal tools, knives and guns for beads, baskets and pottery. It was through colonization that their lifestyle changed and it was then that the Lenape tribes felt threatened and discontented. Hostilities broke out and life in the region became more difficult.
The earliest settlers chose to live on the north side of the lake, probably because of the southern exposures. Logging and tanneries were a way of life in the 18th century and Fairview Lake was no exception. Local mills not only could saw logs, but grind bark for tanneries. At that time the lake was known as Big Pond and for a short time was known as Lake Arthur, named after King Arthur. After decades of debate and discussion the lake was finally recognized as Fairview Lake.
Most early residents wanted nothing to do with the name Fairview Lake. Local developers wanted to change the name because residents coming from New York and Philadelphia wanted to live on a lake, not a pond. The name Fairview Lake was good for business.
Camp Brooklyn was started in 1911 and operated for more than 60 years in what is now called Cranberry Cove. The camp had 16 acres with 8 acres along the lake and 8 acres of ball fields across the street. Christian living and Bible study was part of their camp program every day. In 1974 the camp was sold and part of the lands was donated to Palmyra Township to build a new township building.
Camp Lenape was established in 1920 and featured 3 tennis courts, basketball, archery, rifle ranges, and of course swimming and boating.
On Route 390, right next to the Fairview outlet there is still a sign that says "Red Onion Hill." Early in the 1900's glass blowing was a major industry in Hawley and Honesdale. Every June the glass shops would close for the summer and many of the employees would migrate to Red Onion Hill with their camping gear and fishing tackle to spend their summers on the lake fishing, swimming and boating. It was a way of life for over a decade up until World War I.
The residents at Fairview Lake had lots of fun in the winter months as well as the summer. Some old timers will tell you about the 1920's and 1930's racing over the ice with Model T Fords pulling sleds and skaters or simply performing spin outs and other antics.
Just a mile north of Fairview Lake lies Lake Wallenpaupack, a manmade 5,700 acre lake built by the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company in 1927. PPL built the lake for hydro-electric power and it brought in many new vacationers from metropolitan New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia.
In the 1960's the Wallenpaupack Area School District was formed and a new high school was built right on the shores of Lake Wallenpaupack, just three miles north of Fairview Lake. In the 1970's Interstate Route 84 was constructed with exit 27 being three miles south of Fairview Lake.
Today, Fairview Lake is a vibrant, close knit lakefront community with mostly rustic looking homes with board and batten, log, cedar, and hemlock flitch siding. Most residents are unpretentious. The community has a rich history and boundless beauty. The roads around the lake are gravel and have a real country look to them, just like they had a century earlier.
A special thanks and tribute to Donal Coutts and memory of Margaret Hunter and family
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