Celebrate Safe Harbor’s 92nd anniversary by exploring nearby Safe Harbor locations as you learn the area’s rich history with this educational mini-adventure. Click here to learn more about Safe Harbor’s Fish & Fun event.
What to do: Record the correct answer after visiting each of the five locations as specified in the image below to receive fun prizes, including Native American replica arrowheads, wooden nickels, and other booty from the Uncharted Lancaster treasure chest. Handouts are available at the Uncharted Lancaster booth, but here is a printer-friendly PDF version if you want to get a jump start on your adventure.
Return the completed form to the Uncharted Lancaster booth by noon on Saturday, September 30, 2023, to claim your prize.
Location: On the Safe Harbor Dam fishing platform, find the high water level markers on the dam wall. 39°55’29.4″N 76°23’21.6″W.
Clue: Record the height of the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor on June 24, 1972.
History Brief: At full load, 30 million gallons of water per minute pass through the turbines at Safe Harbor. With its record-setting rainfall for Pennsylvania in 24 hours, Hurricane Agnes changed that to 931,000 cubic feet per second, about five times the flow over Niagara Falls.
Location: On the wall before entering the Safe Harbor Dam fishing platform, find the symbols in the concrete inspired by the nearby petroglyphs of Big and Little Indian Rock. 39°55’31.1 “N 76°23’19.5 “W.
Clue: Sketch one of the petroglyph-inspired images found on the wall.
History Brief: One of the oldest human-made artifacts in the Susquehanna Valley and one of the most significant archeological sites in the northeastern United States sits a few hundred yards below Safe Harbor Dam. It is the petroglyphs of Little Indian Rock and Big Indian Rock. These stone carvings are believed to be between 800 and 1,200 years old.
Location: Find the informational sign about the Susquehannock Native Americans near the guard booth at the bridge crossing the Conestoga. 39°55’33.2″N 76°23’02.8″W.
Clue: Find a 3D-printed gray medallion with black lettering. It is attached to a tree between the road and tennis courts, hanging around eye level. Record what’s printed on it. (two letters)
History Brief: Chesapeake Bay explorer John Smith was the first European to meet the Susquehannocks in 1608. Smith described them as giants! Interestingly enough, they had only arrived in the Susquehanna Valley 50 years prior but soon became active fur traders with the Europeans. Through genocide and disease, the Susquehanna saw their numbers plummet until there were only 20. Eventually, they became known as the Conestoga, and in 1763, a group of vigilantes known as the Paxton Boys massacred what remained of the tribe. The Susquehannock as a people and their language are considered extinct.
Location: Take the trail to the top of the Safe Harbor Trestle Bridge. The trailhead is within sight of the Susquehannock sign from the previous clue. 39°55’26.7″N 76°22’53.7″W.
Clue: Find the spot that exactly matches the sketch below. Record the four words found on the oval plaque. The first word starts with a W.
History Brief: Built in 1905 for the Atglen and Susquehanna Branch (also known as the “Low Grade Branch”‘) of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Safe Harbor trestle can hold two fully loaded trains. The last train to cross it was on December 19, 1989. Here are some fun facts about the bridge and project:
- Third highest trestle bridge in the U.S.
- Second longest trestle bridge in Pennsylvania.
- 150 feet high and 1,560 feet long.
- Total renovation cost: $9 million.
Location: Find the informational kiosk at the other end of the Safe Harbor Trestle Bridge, highlighting the construction of the Safe Harbor dam. 39°55’33.5″N 76°23’14.9″W.
History Brief: Until it was made obsolete by the railroad, downriver navigation played a large role in the formation of a community near Safe Harbor.
Clue: Record the 80 year period when downriver navigation was at its heaviest.