Harveys Lake
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The Bowman's Creek Branch


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The Bowman’s Creek Branch

Lehigh Valley Railroad (1887-1963)

Chapter 4: The Village of Alderson

Alderson was an extremely active village on the north corner of Harvey’s Lake from 1887 to 1912.  The Lewis sawmill in Alderson was operating by April 1888.  The railroad depot served countless tons of freight in addition to passenger traffic.  Steamboats provided passenger service from the Alderson station to hotels and boarding houses, which were dotted along the lake.  Particularly well-known were the Rhoads Hotel (1855-1908), Lake Grove House (1881-1897), and its successor, the magnificent Hotel Oneonta (1898-1919), all located at the Sunset section of the lake.  Alderson had its own school and church on lots contributed by the Albert Lewis Lumber Company.  The Lehigh Valley picnic grounds, later known as Hanson’s Amusement Park, were a mile down the lake from Alderson and the railroad passed through the park grounds.

W. H. Rauch was the foreman at the Alderson sawmill.  Sawmills were initially equipped with huge circular saws, about six feet in diameter, to cut timber.  In 1889, the band saw was generally introduced in American sawmills.  A band saw was an endless band of steel with cutting teeth on one or both sides.  The band saw was draped over a lower and upper wheel.  A band saw forty-feet long by nearly a foot wide was installed in the Alderson mill in the early 1890s to replace a circular saw.  A band saw cutting path was only one eighth of an inch wide compared to the three-eighths of an inch path of a circular saw, saving one inch of board for every for cuts of a band saw  At Alderson, Joseph Trutchler was the chief sawyer responsible for the 400 razor-sharp teeth of the band saw  Broken teeth were quickly cut out by Trutchler, who, aided by red-hot tongs, clamps, and silver solder, would add new teeth to the band saw  At any one time, thousands of logs filled the boom on the lake by the Alderson mill.

There was enough lumbering in the Harvey’s Lake and Bowman’s Creek region to support both the Stull and Alderson sawmills until the Stull mill burned in 1906.  The Alderson mill continued at least until 1912 when the last tract near the lake was cut.  Lewis and Stull, the partnership which ran the mills, was dissolved in late 1912.  Thereafter, the Stull interests continued at Harvey’s Lake and Bowman’s Creek in the farming, ice, and land business.  The Alderson sawmill was dismantled about 1918.


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Copyright 2006-2007 F. Charles Petrillo

Copyright 2006-2008 F. Charles Petrillo