Ganoga Lake, an Indian term meaning "Water on the Mountain," was called Long Pond until about 1895. The outlet of the 2,266 feet lake is down Kitchen Creek. Two Orangeville brothers, Clemual and Elijah Green Ricketts, purchased the stage coach buildings at Long Pond in 1850. On this site, a hotel known as the North Mountain House operated for a number of years. Eventually, a thirty-one room mansion with nine baths, currently used as a clubhouse by the Ganoga Lake Association, occupied the location.
Elijah's son, Robert Bruce Ricketts (1839-1918), was mustered (enlisted) into military service July 8, 1861. In less than a month, on August 5, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. On May 8, 1863, he made Captain and on June 1 Ricketts assumed command of three officers and 141 men in what became known as Rickett's Battery. A month later at Gettysburg, the group was attacked by a reported 1,700 Confederate soldiers as part of Pickett's Charge at Cemetery Ridge on July 3,1863, the "50-minute battle that killed 10,000 men." Infantrymen under George E. Pickett faltered and fell, but waves of brave men continued into the killing fire of Rickett's Battery. When Pickett's Charge failed, the Battle of Gettysburg was over. More Americans died in this battle than in any other single battle in American history. Ricketts was promoted to Major on December 1,1864. On March 15, 1865, at the age of 26, he was commissioned Colonel of the First Pennsylvania Light Artillery. Ricketts was honorably discharged on June 5, 1865. Colonel Ricketts was nominated for the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania by the Democratic Party in 1886, a year of Republican wins.
With his wife, Elizabeth (Reynolds) Ricketts, Robert Bruce Ricketts bought the Long Pond property from his father in 1867 and began enlarging it from 1,000 acres to approximately 60,000 acres. Colonel Ricketts purchased more than 50,000 acres in 1868 "to exploit the natural recreational and mineral resources." Most or possibly all of the land is believed to have been purchased at tax sales for two to three cents per acre.
In 1870, this location became a summer resort. A large wooden building was built to accommodate the large number who came to the resort each summer. By 1883, the property consisted of "a clearing, on which there is a large and substantial two-story house, a three-story frame boarding house, barns and other buildings, the place having been improved and fitted up as a Summer Watering Place, capable of accommodating from 200 to 250 guests."
From 1883-1885, Ricketts faced hard times, with virtually no transportation to bring people to his lakes or carry his timber to market. B. K. Jamison came to his rescue, purchasing a strip of timber on the east bank of Fishing Creek adjacent to Rickett's property and helping sell approximately 40,000 acres of land to a British syndicate for $28 an acre. In 1891, the Jennings Brothers Lumber Company with Davidge, Horton and Company purchased 16,000 acres from Col. Ricketts east of Lopez, giving them enough timber to operate for approximately eight years. Also in 1891, Col. Ricketts contracted with Trexler and Turrell to cut his remaining timber and the town of Ricketts was formed. In 1893, Ricketts sold 13,000 acres to the Union Tanning Company. In 1894, a tremendous ice house, 80 feet wide, 400 feet Long and 25 feet high, was built at the lake. The big wing was added to the mansion in 1914.
Col. and Mrs. Ricketts had three children: William Reynolds (1869-1956); Jean Holberton, born in 1873; and Frances Leigh, born in 1881. Lakes Jean and Leigh were named in tribute to the two daughters. William Reynolds Ricketts, a Yale University graduate, later found taxes oppressive and he and later his estate started donating and selling off the land: 13,050 acres to the state for Ricketts Glen State Park, a large tract to the Game Commission and a large piece of land to nine men who were instrumental in forming the Ganoga Lake Association.
--from the History of Painter Den Club, written by David Kline and Donald Rabb
The subject of turnpikes is covered in this web site in three FEATURES locations; i,e.,
• The Susquehanna & Tioga Turnpike: The History of the Berwick Turnpike
• Sketches from the Susquehanna-Tioga Turnpike, by Kenneth T. Wilson, Jr.
• Turnpikes, Including the Union Turnpike, the Susquehanna & Tioga Turnpike and the Susquehanna & Lehigh Turnpike
The turnpikes of the area are also discussed in other FEATURES locations, including an article on Ganoga Lake and the history of Jamison City. No, Interstae 80 is not mentioned in any of these articles!