It’s hard to imagine today, but the now sleepy village of Pequea in Martic Township was once a premier tourist destination.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, visitors included local residents and venturesome travelers from Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Washington. A few even crossed the Atlantic to vacation on the banks of the Susquehanna. Pequea even had its share of celebrity sightings, including President Calvin Coolidge and heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey.
Like any good tourist destination, the River View Hotel published a detailed brochure highlighting the many facilities and activities available to guests. As a firm believer that “information wants to be free,” I transcribed the document’s text and scanned the images. Both are included below with links for additional information.
“To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language.”
And who does not love Nature! Who does not love to lay aside the dull cares of business or quit the dust and noise of the city for a glorious trip to the cool, inviting woods, where Nature pours her blessings so abundantly that one can “enjoy but half her stores?”
Go with me for a short ramble from this delightful resort—the River-View Hotel, with its 500 acres of mountainous forest, stretched along the banks of the Susquehanna for a distance of four miles—and I will show you such picturesque driveways; such romantic little dells and shaded nooks; curious formations of rock, and dark, deep refrigerator like caves; little rivulets dancing down thru wooded glens past cool, deep mosses and ivy-covered rocks into the great broad Susquehanna; such beauties will I show you as only Nature knows how to fashion, and such as few resorts can boast of.
Here, on all sides, as we start, we see the rugged simplicity, yet mighty grandeur of the hills, telling of the terrible struggles of the elements and cosmic forces in years long past.
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2,000 feet of dark passages. Unforgiving cold. Hungry cave rats. Discover Pequea’s dangerous spelunking underground.
It’s not just the danger that makes this place unique. Visit Wind Cave on the hottest summer day, and you will probably still need a coat. While Pennsylvania caves typically range in temperature from 50° to 57°F, Wind Cave registers with refrigerator-like coldness at 38°F. In addition to the cave’s chill, you will also be guaranteed a strong cold breeze at the cave’s mouth. It is this phenomenon that gives Wind Cave its name. Click here to learn more.
Armchair Explorer: Make your reservation today for the Pequehanna Inn – Pennsylvania’s Crown Jewel answer to Lake Placid
In an alternate universe, a five-story, 384-room luxury hotel sits high on a hill above the town of Pequea with a commanding view of the Susquehanna River. Click here to learn the uncanny history of the failed Pequehanna Inn.
Susquehanna pastimes at the River View Hotel in Pequea
It’s hard to imagine today, but the now sleepy village of Pequea once entertained tourists from all over the east coast, including the President of the United States. When people visited, everyone wanted to stay at the 500-acre forested retreat known as the River View Hotel. The beautiful three-story building boasted 75 bedrooms and a gas-lit dining room. Click here to read more.
‘Colonel’ John Mead: the enigmatic ‘Gentleman Bum’ of the River Hills
Meet “Colonel” John Mead, the enigmatic cave hermit of House Rock. Mead spent the last 25 years of his life living in rock shelters along the Susquehanna River hills entertaining Pequea summer vacationers. Click the link to learn more about this mysterious character.
Purchase a beautiful reproduction map from 1875 or 1899 of Martic Township, home to Pequea, PA, and the former site of the River View Hotel.
1899 Map of Martic Township, Safe Harbor, and Conestoga Center Poster$29.99 – $34.99
1864 Map of Martic Township, Lancaster County, PA$22.99 – $24.99