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Brodhead Forest and Stream Association (Stites Mountain House)
Railroad access to the lower Poconos transformed the region from subsistence farming to entrepreneurial inn-keeping as a newly wealthy and increasingly urbanized population sought connection with the disappearing wilderness. In 1859, Philadelphia contractor Thomas Stites acquired a farmhouse that he adapted to a small summer boardinghouse. It was quickly doubled to the east and required an annex after the Civil War. Like others of its type, its front porch, white painted clapboards, and dark green shutters were emblematic of the nostalgia for pre–Civil War calm. Now a private club, it is one of the best preserved of the small hotels because its context survives almost completely.
Just as Philadelphia's Wissahickon and New York's Hudson River drew pictorial artists to capture their rustic charms, the New York Catskills and the Pennsylvania Poconos drew trout anglers beginning around the time of the Civil War and continuing to the present. Ernest Schweibert's “Hommage to Henryville” in A Gordon Garland (1965) recounts a line of anglers from early author Thaddeus Norris and celebrity Annie Oakley to Presidents Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt, who stayed in the lamented Henryville House. It survived until 2002 just north of Stites Mountain House and was in Schweibert's estimation “the true wellspring of American trout-fishing tradition.” The Henryville House was typical of its type, a log building from the 1830s that was enlarged with the central wall gable of the nineteenth century; other additions continued into the twentieth century.
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