The Lower Susquehanna that was! Enjoy this 1951 Safe Harbor / Holtwood visitor’s guide and map

I recently came into possession of a 1951 Safe Harbor/Holtwood’s visitor’s guide. Inside the brochure is a 16″x18″ detailed map of the lower Susquehanna with areas of historic interest highlighted. Being a firm believer that “information wants to be free,” I have transcribed the document’s text and scanned the images. Both are included below.

If you would prefer to read the brochure in its original form, here’s the PDF.


Safe Harbor Brochure Outside Right Reading 1951 Small
February 1951 Safe Harbor / Holtwood Visitor’s Guide

Visitors are Welcome at Holtwood & Safe Harbor 

Two of America’s great hydroelectric devel­opments harness the Susquehanna River as it flows between York and Lancaster Counties, Pa.

These hydroelectric plants, using the waters twice within eight miles, form one of the largest sources of business-managed hydroelectric power in the Eastern United States.


Visitors are welcome at the Safe Harbor and Holt­wood plants, which are located on the Lancaster County side of the river. Each of these hydroelectric developments is accessible by good roads which pre­sent entrancing vistas of the river and its lakes. All are within a short distance of Lancaster, Columbia, York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Above the Safe Harbor dam is Lake Clarke. Here, covering ten square miles, the waters impounded by the Safe Har­bor dam have created one of the largest bodies of water in Pennsylvania.

Roadside markers record a historical past.

Framed by the high hills of the gorge through which the river passes on its way to the sea, the waters of Lake Clarke provide fine fishing and aquatic sports in a country of rare scenic beauty and historic inter­est. This lake may be viewed from the observation site which the Company has provided for public use at Safe Harbor or from motorboats, which may be hired at a reasonable cost in the Long Level area along the York County shore.

Aquatic sports on Lake Clarke in the vicinity of Long Level

The Susquehanna, whose origin is Lake Otsego in New York, winds its way for 448 miles through Pennsyl­vania and Maryland to tidewater. This river drains a watershed of 27,500 square miles, the largest basin of any of the rivers of North America flowing into the Atlantic Ocean south of the St. Lawrence. In the river’s fall of 227 feet in the 43 miles from Co­lumbia, Pa. to the Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna is dammed thrice for the operation of hydroelectric plants. These three tax-paying developments are engineering enterprises of the first magnitude. Besides the economic advantages derived from these developments, the dam­ming of the river has created a new “lake country” be­tween the Pennsylvania and Maryland hills that is of unsurpassed beauty and charm.

Below Safe Harbor for eight miles extends Lake Aldred, formed by the backwater behind the half-mile dam of the Pennsylvania Water & Power Company at Holt­wood, Pa. This lake also provides rare scenery, fine fishing, and boating.

Old Lock of Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, Long Level

The hydroelectric developments at Safe Harbor and Holtwood are supplemented by the generation of elec­tricity by steam. The steam-electric station adjoining the hydroelectric station at Holtwood burns “river coal,” anthracite dredged from the river bottom. The dredging of coal, which has been washed downstream by the river in its passage through the anthracite region, is a never-ending source of interest to visitors who wit­ness the coordinated operation of hydro and steam gen­eration of electricity from energy obtained from both water power and coal provided by the same river.

Reclaiming River coal from Lake Aldred by paddle boat.

In 1916 the Companies began a program of reforestation, and since that time has planted approximately a mil­lion trees. Some of these plantings, which cover about acres, may be seen from the highways near Lake 600 Clarke and Lake Aldred. Visitors and fishermen are requested to exercise care to avoid damage to plantings by cutting, trampling, or fire.

Transmission Lines and Interconnection of the Pennsylvania Lines Water & Power Company

Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Plant

The Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Plan was built after twenty years’ experience in the coordinated operation of the development of the Pennsylvania Water & Power Company at Holtwood with the steam stations of the Consolidated Gas Elec­tric Light and Power Company of Baltimore. These Companies, which are shareholder-owned, business­-managed, and tax-paying electric companies, own the Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation. The Holt­wood and Safe Harbor plants are operated as a single development.

Over the regional high tension .transmission system of the Pennsylvania Water & Power Company, these large sources of electrical energy supply services to the public utilities which serve the Lancaster, York, and Coatesville areas in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland, and surrounding territory. The system is interconnected with the utility supplying Washington, D. C., and environs.

Through interconnection, this regional transmission network links the Atlantic Seaboard power systems of the North with those of the South.

Electrical service is also supplied on a regional basis for the electrified lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Indian Exploration at Safe Harbor

Prior to the flooding of the islands and shores of the Susquehanna behind the Safe Harbor Dam, an Indian Exploration was made. It was carried out by the Penn­sylvania Historical Commission with the cooperation of the Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation.

An unearthed skeleton of an Algonquian Warrior found near Safe Harbor, Pa.

Some 28,000 cataloged specimens were recovered. These relics of earlier civilizations have been preserved for future generations in the State Museum at Harris­burg. A few of the objects recovered are displayed in the hydroelectric plant at Safe Harbor.

The Lower Susquehanna’s Historic Region

The historic region in which are located the hydroelectric developments on the Lower Susquehanna. Numerous areas of historical interest are highlighted on the map. Click here for a full-size PDF for the 1951 map of the historic region surrounding the Lower Susquehanna.

Safe Harbor Brochure Inside 1951 Small
1951 map for the Historic Region of the Lower Susquehanna


4 thoughts on “The Lower Susquehanna that was! Enjoy this 1951 Safe Harbor / Holtwood visitor’s guide and map

Leave a Reply