“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Simpson in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pa.

Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pa. Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., June 11, 2017
1. Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pa. Marker

Crystal Lake circa 1906
Crystal Lake was one of the first settlements of Fell Township. In 1818, Peter F. Ball came from New York state and built a log house near the lake. During the next decade, seven other men established homesteads nearby. The lake has been used as an ice pond and for recreation since these early times. This view is toward the northwest and Elk Mountain.

Mr. George Lord Morse (1816-1882)
Born in Greene County, New York, he was the son of Foster Morse. George Morse settled in this area around 1840 and established tanneries and saw mills. He later amassed a fortune by selling and leasing lands to the coal and railroad companies.

Carbondale: O&W Station & Trestle/D&H "High Works" In 1890, the O&W opened its 54 mile long Scranton Division, linking the Northern Anthracite field with the main line at Cadosia, New York. Coal traffic supported the O&W from 1890 to the 1930's when the mines were spent. The railway entered bankruptcy in 1937, never recovered, and was abandoned in 1957. The three-story O&W station (left of top center, below) is by the early trestle.

[The Morss Mansion]

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Morss Mansion was built in 1853 in the Greek Revival style. The first floor contained a formal parlor, library, dining room and office surrounding the central stairway. The second floor contained four bedrooms and a full bathroom. The kitchen wing contained not only the kitchens but a pantry, wash room, storage, fireplace/cooking area and servants' living quarters. Lois Roxanne Morss (died February 28, 1923) was the last of the Morss children to live in this house. The building and grounds were sold to Ignatz Borosky. His wife Stella lived there until her death in 1966 when the property was purchased by the Grattan Singer Hose Co. The wishes of the Morss family and the valiant efforts of concerned local people to preserve this architectural treasure were in vain. The Mansion was razed on October 10, 1996.

[Judge Jesse Fell]
In 1845,the Northernmost township in Lackawanna County was named in honor of Judge Jesse Fell, who invented a grate for burning anthracite coal. The historic grate was demonstrated on February 11, 1808. The innovation provided sufficient oxygen-bearing air around the coal for combustion. With this advance, anthracite could be effectively burned in homes and industries. The ensuing technical revolution has shaped Northeast Pennsylvania to the present time.

[The Delaware & Hudson Railroad]
The Delaware & Hudson Railroad began as

Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pa. Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., June 11, 2017
2. Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pa. Marker
the sixteen mile long Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale. Coal from Lackawanna County was loaded into wooden coal cars at Carbondale and through a series of planes, tracks and cables, hauled over Moosic Mountain into the Delaware River watershed, where it was transferred to barges and floated to the Hudson River on the D&H Canal. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Coal Company built its Gravity Railroad from Pittston to Hawley, enabling transport of anthracite from Luzerne County and beyond over Moosic Mountain to the D&H Canal. Operations commenced in 1850 and ceased in 1885, when the right-of-way was acquired by the Erie & Wyoming Valley Railroad. The Erie Railroad subsequently initiated steam service on its Honesdale Branch in the 1870's and 1880's, both Gravity Railroads offered excursion rides for tourists, which were very popular. By 1899, the D&H Gravity Railroad was abandoned and the railroad modernized by extending steam railroad operations.

D&H Gravity, Shepherd's Crook, circa 187??
The Shepherd's Crook was the return or light track from Honesdale by which empty coal cars came back to the mines for the next load. The empty cars descended Moosic Mountain by gravity. On a separate loaded track, the filled cars were drawn uphill with cables powered by stationary engines.

Mrs. Lois Austin Tuttle Morss (1818-1896)
Born in Windham, Greene

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County, New York, she was the daughter of General and Mrs. Jehial Tuttle. Lois Tuttle married George Morss on December 15, 1841. They had four daughters, Merrila E., Isabella, Amanda L., and Lois R.

Overview of Simpson, circa 1910
Shown below are the American Welding Co. and Carbondale Machine Co., manufacturers of ice machinery. The O&W was the first major American railroad to convert to diesel power, which was advocated by Trustee Frederick Lyford to reduce expenses. At Simpson, the Lackawanna River meanders through a broad flood plain after cutting through the Llewelyn formation.

Simpson, Lackawanna County, Pa
Simpson, a community in Fell Township, was settled in 1818 and organized in 1845. It is named after Clarence D. Simpson, who was one of the large independent coal magnates in the Northern Anthracite Region. Early industries included trapping, tanning and lumbering. Later, coal mining and railroading became dominant professions. The coal miners were often immigrants from Russia, Poland, and Slovakia. Local businesses include Fell Brewing Co., makers of Pennsylvania Pioneer Beer, Mirtz Premium Ale and Fell Porter. The Klotz Throwing Company and Empire Silk Mill, merged to become General Textile Mills or Gentex, another important local business. To these jobs and new quarters, working men brought their families. Many churches and schools were built by these new, proud, industrious Americans. The crowning sports achievement came in 1946 when the Fell High School basketball team won the state championship. The final class graduated from Fell High School in 1976 when a merger formed the Carbondale Area District.

Erected by Rail-Trail Council of N.E. PA.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1906.
Location. 41° 35.629′ N, 75° 29.022′ W. Marker is in Simpson, Pennsylvania, in Lackawanna County. Marker is on Lord Avenue/Homestead Street north of Reservoir Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Carbondale PA 18407, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Monkey Run Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fell Township War Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Birthplace of Lt. Joseph R. Sarnoski (approx. half a mile away); Gravity Railroad (approx. 1˝ miles away); Gravity Railroad Monument (approx. 1˝ miles away); Gravity Park and the Gravity Railroad Historic Site (approx. 1˝ miles away); Gravity Park (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Simpson.
Also see . . .
1. The History of the O&W Rail-Trail. (Submitted on June 11, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Welcome to Rail Trails!. (Submitted on June 11, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)

Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2017. It was originally submitted on June 11, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,302 times since then and 125 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 12, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Apr. 20, 2024