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6.20.2015

1921 Sullivan Trail Postcard from Wilkes Barre, PA to Watkins Glen, NY.

Having originally grown up in the Lehigh Valley, I would frequently travel on Sullivan Trail in the Easton/Nazareth area. In the back of my head I wondered why it was called that, but never really got around to actually looking into it. I found this postcard set recently that is a "Souvenir Folder of Sullivan Trail, along Susquehanna River, between Wilkes-Barre, PA. and Watkins Glen, NY." It dates back to 1921 and features photos taken by Photographer Ace Hoffman of Wilkes Barre, PA. His studio pioneered x-ray, aerial, and flash photography.

In researching this photographer, I found that he was involved in a plane crash in 1925 and simply broke his leg while he was trying to take pictures of the former Rocky Glen Park. A guy willing to risk his life to take pictures of an amusement park? Sounds like an awesome guy to me!

Anyways, back to the subject. Sullivan Trail was named for Revolutionary War General John Sullivan. The shame in the creation of the trail was that it was built and utilized by the general to mobilize troops, under orders of General Washington, to run a scorched earth campaign and destroy at least forty Iroquois Nation villages throughout the entire Finger Lakes region. My fiancee Brit's relatives were likely caught up in that scorched earth campaign. Many people starved or froze to death because their crops and livelihoods were completely destroyed by Sullivan's campaign. The following are Washington's orders to Sullivan:

Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779
"The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.
I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.
But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the
chastisement they receive will inspire them."

His major, Jeremiah Fogg, had this to say in his journal about the operation:

"The nests are destroyed, but the birds are still on the wing."

Onto better times with less turmoil. Anyways, in the golden age of possibilities with the automobile, the creation of extensive roads was a big deal. People, as they do now, would go on road trips whenever they could with their new automobiles. Old dirt and gravel carriage paths were being paved and new roads were being carved out. This was an exciting time of transformation in the United States. Never before had mankind been so mobile. Diners, service stations, and motels would pop up to meet the new market needs. At these places, post cards like this, along with maps, were available to help with navigation and to keep as souvenirs. 

On the cover of the folder is a depiction of the "General Sullivan Monument" in Elmira, New York. This is located in what is now known as the Newtown Battlefield State Park. The granite monument now has no mention of any sort of memorial towards Sullivan, but it is now known as the Newtown Battlefield Monument in honor of the lost lives from both sides of the battle, and the victims of the ensuing genocidal scorched earth campaign after Sullivan routed the Iroquois. If you want to read a decent summation of Sullivan's campaign, be sure to read this.  
Back to the postcard again. Here is the back cover of the envelope.
 On the inside cover is this summation of the route at that point. Look at how disconnected all of the state routes were.
 The postcard's description also seems to want to distance itself from the legacy of General Sullivan.
 Now let's hit the road! 
"SULLIVAN TRAIL between Wilkes Barre, PA and Watkins Glen, NY"
"Sullivan Trail on Wyoming Mountain, East of Wilkes-Barre, PA"

 "Sullivan Trail, Near Wilkes Barre and Pittston, PA"
 "Sullivan Trail, bridge at falls west of Wilkes Barre and Pittston, PA"
 "Sullivan Trail looking towards Tunkhannock, PA"
 "Sullivan Trail at Keeler Mountain"
 "Sullivan Trail at Osterhout, sometimes known as La Grange"
 "Sullivan Trail, Bunnell Mountain, looking west"
 Sullivan Trail, Browntown Mountain looking west, near Laceyville, PA
 "Sullivan Trail at Wyalusing"
 "Sullivan Trail, Wyalusing Rocks"
 "Sullivan Trail approach to twin cuts between Wyalusing and Toward"
 "Chemung Valley from Waverley Hill on Sullivan Trail. Looking towards Elmira, NY.
 "Seneca Lake on Sullivan Trail, Watkins Glen, NY




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