Lake Ariel in Wayne County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Welcome to Historic Connell Park
The Carriage House/The Deer House
Welcome to Lacawac – a forested retreat built by Scranton coal mine operator and Congressman William Connell in 1903. It was originally called Connell Park as it was to be not only the congressman’s personal retreat but a private game park as well. It served as such until his death in 1909. In 1912 the family sold it to Connell’s friend and fellow Scranton businessman Col. Louis A. Watres who was at the time assembling the land needed to construct the Lake Wallenpaupack hydro-electric project. It is widely regarded as the first of the “summer homes” in the Poconos, and is built in the famous “Adirondack Great Camp” style of architecture. These buildings are recognized on the National Historic Register.
The Carriage House
This building was erected in 1903 to house the horses and wagons needed to transport the Connell family here from the train station in Lake Ariel. The route traversed a dusty, bumpy seven mile long dirt road at that time. The lower floor remains almost intact with three of the original horse stalls, main floor for carriage storage and with many of the original tools used to
After 1913, when Lacawac was owned by the Watres family, barn dances became a memorable and popular use of this building. The Watres’ would hire a band, spread the word throughout the neighboring community and buggies would come streaming in from all over the countryside for an evening of refreshments and dancing in the Carriage House. At those times in keeping with the Colonel’s patriotic values – it would always be gaily decorated with American flags and red, white and blue bunting. Today the structure is used by Lacawac Sanctuary as a venue for classes, lectures, musical programs and the upper level has been renovated to house a classroom and science laboratory.
The Deer House
William Connell envisioned Lacawac as a summer home and as a private hunting preserve or game park. At a time when commercial hunting had totally wiped out the white tailed deer population in Pennsylvania, Connell envisioned Lacawac as a place where he could raise his own deer for sport and personal enjoyment. He erected a tall, four mile long wire fence completely surrounding the property. The posts were made of American Chestnut – a once dominant tree in the eastern forests – now also wiped out by
A small clearing just west of this spot was the location of the estate’s “deer house”. It was there that the caretakers stored and dispensed hay and other feed to the deer. Subsequently when the Watres family purchased the land the fence was allowed to come down as it aged and the private herd scattered across the countryside, contributing in large part to repopulating the white tailed deer in NE Pennsylvania. Hence, today most of our Pocono deer can trace their DNA roots to Lacawac and their Virginia cousins! The deer house had badly deteriorated after it was abandoned and so was taken down sometime around 1948.
Location. 41° 22.721′ N, 75° 17.485′ W. Marker is in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, in Wayne County. Marker is on Sanctuary Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Lacawac Sanctuary, Lake Ariel PA 18436, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Ice House / The Woodshed (a few steps from this marker); The Deagan Chimes (within shouting distance of this marker); Watres Lodge / The Boat House (within shouting distance of this marker); Coachman’s Cottage / The Spring House Connell Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Lake Lacawac (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Louis Arthur Watres (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Lacawac Sanctuary (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lake Ariel.
Also see . . .
1. The Lacawac Sanctuary. “Lacawac Sanctuary is dedicated to inspiring lifelong connections to nature and shaping the next generation of scientists and earth stewards through research, education, preservation.” (Submitted on January 16, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
2. William Connell at Wikipedia. (Submitted on January 16, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on January 16, 2020. This page originally submitted on January 16, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 33 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 16, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.