Top Ten Historic Sites in Stony Valley & Surrounds
No. 4 - Cold Spring

Brief History of Cold Spring - Visitors to Cold Spring Index - Mystery Pictures of the Past

Home to a tavern house in the mid-19th century, Cold Spring emerged as a resort town with the building of the Dauphin & Susquehanna Railroad through Stony Valley in 1850-1851. The summer resort, containing just one hotel, would be rejuvenated in the 1880s with the construction of a second hotel and the expansion of the ground’s other features to include a bath house, bowling alley, dancing pavilion, restaurant and likely even a bar. The hotels lives were short-lived however. The advent of the automobile sent the rich from neighboring cities such as Harrisburg and Pottsville elsewhere, and by 1900, the hotels’ allure was fading. A mysterious fire in September 1900 ended the life of the resort town, burning down the two hotels, as well as, many of the other resort buildings. (To discover who some of the people were who visited Cold Spring in its heyday, see the Visitors to Cold Spring Index.)

Soon after an idea was brought forth to either rebuild the hotels, or revitalize the area into a clubhouse for an outdoors club. Both fell through and by 1910, the area had once again made a name for itself, due to the never-failing icy waters of Cold Spring. Presumed to have “medicinal powers,” the cold mineral waters of Cold Spring stopped flowing into the resort’s bathhouse, and were instead, bottled to be sold throughout Eastern Pennsylvania as spring water. Only a few years later, the once-resort town of Cold Spring was turned into the Cold Spring Nature Farm, where the water may have still been bottled for local consumption.

By the Great Depression, Cold Spring had once again remade itself into Camp Shand, a boys-only summer camp for the Lancaster Y.M.C.A. The camp would continue to allow boys to experience nature with a nature lodge, boating on the lake, and hikes throughout Stony Valley, and build friendships until some mortars from the new Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation flew too far, lodging themselves in the trees behind camp during training exercises for World War Two. An era had ended, and the grounds quickly became the Cold Spring Military Reservation, a federal installation to assist in training exercises for the advancing Cold War.

In 1956, the grounds were finally returned to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to become part of State Game Lands No. 211.

DIRECTIONS: From I-81, take exit 85B toward Fort Indiantown Gap, then merge onto Fisher Ave. Travel 0.5 miles and turn left onto Asher Miner Road. Continue 2.2 miles on Asher Miner Road until it becomes Moonshine Road / PA-443. Continue 1.3 miles and follow signs to Second Mountain Hawk Watch. Cold Spring Road will become dirt before reaching the crest of the mountain. Instead of turning right at the mountain's crest, continue north one mile down into Stony Valley and the Cold Spring Parking Lot.

Please be advised that Cold Spring Road is closed from November 31 to March 31 each year due to not having winter maintainance. The road is an unmaintained dirt road into the valley, so high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles are suggested.

Use State Game Lands #211 Map 2 of 3 was created and is maintained by Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad Historian, Brandy M. Watts Martin. Copyright 2013.
Information and photographs found on this website cannot be reproduced without her written consent.