“Sic Parvis Magna.”
Translation: “Greatness From Small Beginnings.”
It might not look like much but the outflow from this humble pond is the Conestoga’s headwaters. Water from here will travel 64 miles before reaching Safe Harbor, where it empties into the Susquehanna.
Here’s the rub. This pond is not the commonly held starting point for the Conestoga. In 2017, LNP Staff Writer Ad Crable along with two longtime farmers and amateur historians from Caernarvon Township, Paul Brubacher and Frank Weaver Jr., set out to find the Conestoga’s mysterious source. You can read about that expedition here.
Crable believed that the water emerging from beneath the boulder pictured above was water’s source. The map below has the boulder’s exact spot marked inside State Game Lands 52.
However, local Conestoga River expert Benton Webber wasn’t convinced after visiting the boulder himself. Webber’s visit was in March as opposed to Crable’s June visit. With considerably less vegetation to obscure his view, Webber found water flowing to the boulder. He followed it as far as he could until private property signs blocked his path.
After referencing Google Maps, it became Webber’s belief that the water was coming from a pair of ponds, slightly across the county line in Berks County northwest of the boulder. See the map below. Webber wrote about his visit to the boulder and his finding on this website. Click here to read the full account.
That brings us to yesterday. Webber, along with myself, Don Kautz, and Sheldon Esch, rolled the dice that the property owner would not only be home but also permit us to explore the property. We lucked out on both!
After inspection, the river experts on hand believed that the ponds were likely the Conestoga’s headwaters. It appeared that at some point these ponds were once marshy springs and the land around them built up to collect the water.
It’s not every day that you get to participate in what feels like a true discovery in our modern world. What an amazing way to finish the year!
Please note that the pond is on private property, and we secured permission before visiting. You would be unable to get any close than the boundaries of the State Game Lands 52 that border the property.