The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
The next county we wanted to “Squeeze-In” was Union County created on March 22, 1813, from part of Northumberland County. The founders wanted to show their pride in the federal Union with the name.
The county seat is Lewisburg, founded in 1784 by Ludwig Derr and named Derrstown, of course! The question before us today is why did the town’s name change, or did it change? I know you are as curious as I am about this question! I found the following quote on Wikepedia (I think). “The most likely truth is that Derr’s first name ‘Ludwig’ translated into English is ‘Louis’ but, being of German descent, it was spelled ‘Lewis’. Later, after Derr’s death (Duh!), the traditional germanic ‘burg’ was appended to his first name to create Lewisburg.” (And you think I make up nutty stuff!) In another account U.S. Postal Service records have the original name in 1796 as Lewisburgh. The ‘h’ was dropped in 1893.
As intriguing as the naming of Lewisburg is, the bigger mystery is, ‘What happened to Ludwig Derr?’ One day the founder of Derrstown/Lewisburgh/Lewisburg traveled to Philadelphia to sell some land. He was never heard from afterward. He simply disappeared like The Philadelphia Phillie’s winning records!
Speaking of baseball, Christy Mathewson was a three sport stand-out at Bucknell University located in Lewisburg before starting his career as one of the greatest pitchers in Major League history (Tied for third place with Grover Cleveland Alexander for most career wins behind Cy Young and Walter Johnson with 373.)
He is buried in a cemetery behind the Kenneth Langone sports center. The university football stadium is named after him.
My Jane was experiencing a bad case of ‘shopping withdrawal’ so we drove directly to the Roller Mills Marketplace (an antique mall we ‘looked over’ in previous years). Her tremors stopped almost the instant she passed through the front door of the marketplace. I set about finding the courthouse, which surprisingly was not easy to find. The address I had in my GPS was incorrect and I had to ask three different pedestrians before someone knew the location of the courthouse. I did pass the old train station which is now the borough building and The Campus ‘old time’ movie theater, – four times while searching!
I also stumbled on to the campus of Bucknell University. Meanwhile My Jane was overlooking the antiques!
During my circuitous search for the courthouse I watched for a hot dog joint with no success. While I was sitting at a traffic light I remembered there had been a snack shop in the Roller Mills Marketplace. I headed back to look for the snack shop. I found My Jane who was overlooking antiques! Sadly the owner of the snack shop had died since My Jane and I last visited Lewisburg and the shop was closed. Fortunately, I found Carrie. This meeting was the beginning of a series of interactions with some absolutely awesome young people. Carrie is an art student on leave from school. She is enjoying working at the antique mall because she finds such great stuff to paint. You go girl! Carrie made some calls in an effort to find a hot dog shop for me. Finally, the two of us decided that my best chance to get a hot dog was at the Country Cupboard (a restaurant I have eaten in before) out on route 15. This was a great decision.
Brittney, the first young person I talked with at the Country Cupboard, assured me they had hot dogs and suggested a side of fries to accompany the dog. Look out Zach and Jaime (Griffin’s Grill in Laporte), this is a really big hot dog. The restaurant was not busy while I was eating which turned out to be inspirational for me. Lloyd, Libby, Brittney and Kaitlyn kept returning to the counter as we carried on a running conversation about their life plans- Brittney studying to become a medical information tech, Lloyd will be enlisting in the Navy after High School, Libby a criminal justice major wants to be a lawyer and Kaitlyn giggles a lot. Of course, I shared my progress of my quest and the young people suggested I visit “Squeeze-In” in Sunbury. How about that? Our conversation wandered around many topics to include the legalization of Marijuana. I had the impression this group supports legalization but they would not commit for the record. Their noncommittal stance might have something to do with Libby’s legal training!
I enjoyed my interaction with some very fine young people today. Don’t believe what you hear that all the young people are wasting their time playing video games and living off their parents. Only some of them are doing that! If the young folks I met today are any example of their generation our future is in good hands.
When I returned to the Roller Mills I found My Jane overlooking antiques! Fortunately, the place was about to close so I was able to gather My Jane and her purchases and head for Snyder County to complete our quest to “Squeeze-In” three counties in one day.
See you next time.