The historic tavern dates back to the late 1700's. With the earliest recorded resident being a Jacob Gerhardt in 1793. Gerhardt was the only survivor of an Indian attack which took place just down the road in Eckville ("the Eck") during the French and Indian war. Moving up the timeline of its colorful past brings a resident by the name of Mathias Schaumbocher, Mathias comes onto scene sometime during the mid 1870's. This is where the origin lies of the name that identifies it on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. This inn keeper, as folklore goes, led travelers into the barn across the road, dispatched them with an axe, and dumped the bodies down a well. That is, in a nutshell, the story. This story can be found in Charlie Adam's book, Ghost Stories of Berks County, Book I.
The story I like is that of the sanctuary. It was acquired by the sanctuary in 1938 and served as the headquarters and living quarters of Irma and Maurice Broun. First keeper of the gate and warden of the once shooting grounds gone sanctuary. Thus, the "School in the Clouds" is born. This fantastic story of Hawk Mountain (including this dwelling) is best expressed in the conservation classic, Hawks Aloft. Written by Broun in 1948. This is a must read for all Hawk Mountain supporters and any one interested in a passionate success story.
Back to what makes the tavern very special to me, I have been very fortunate to call it home for many years. The tales and memories I have forged here, on this mountain, in this structure, with all that have passed through its doors, has changed my life forever. It is truly a "Crossroads of Naturalists".
|A very recent photo in front of the tavern of myself with former intern and friend Vaclav Tikalsky|
I am very excited, I will get to spend the night in many historic structures as I make my way south along my water route.
More to come!