Between Pottsville and Schuylkill Haven, on Route 61 between the Mount Carbon exit and Cressona Mall, there is a large painted red and white object, which has been a landmark since well before Pottsville was planned. It’s easily visible up on the steep hillside. It’s on private land and it is not recommended that anyone attempt to actually go up there.
In his book Black Rock: Mining Folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch, (call number 398 K844) the author George Korson vaguely attempts to link the Indianhead Rock with a series of settler murders in the 1780s, committed according to legend by local indigenous residents.
What we know for certain about the rock is that in 1923 the Pottsville Chapter of the Afternoon Delphian Society, at that time under the leadership of Mrs. H. O. Bechtel, adopted the rock as a significant local landmark. The bushes surrounding the rock were cleared and a sign was erected on what was at that time Route 122 pointing out the existence of the rock high above the road. When the road was expanded the sign was removed, but the bushes mysteriously continued to be trimmed.
The rock has always been red, but it has been painted even redder over the years and the portion of the rock which might represent the feathered bonnet surrounding the face was painted white. There is no mention anywhere as to when the flag was erected just above the rock.
In addition to the book, there was an article written by Walter S. Farquhar in his regular column Editorial Musings, on April 9, 1956 in the Pottsville Republican. The article is titled “The Old Indian Profile.” He makes a big deal pointing out that there is no historical significance to the rock, except for its original booster, Mrs. Bechtel, and a series of intrepid painters are named. This article can be found in the Vertical File collection.
Follow this link for a picture of the rock formation:
Monday, April 26, 2010
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