The Meadow Run Mountain Lake Park Association history begins with the settlement of Wilkes Barre and Bear Creek Township, and the businessmen who came here to build their fortunes. Initially General John Sullivan broke a trail from Easton, through Wilkes Barre, and on to New York state in 1779. That trail was later named the Easton and Wilkes Barre turnpike in 1806 and led to the creation of Bear Creek Township as settlers moved in. The turnpike ran along Bear Creek Village. One of the first sawmills was located in Kresgeville, settled near Bald Mountain by Amandus Kresge. There was a small town south of Bear Creek named Stoddartsville, named after John Stoddart, who had a sawmill and a grist mill along the Lehigh river. Eventually, Lewis Stull moved to Stoddartsville, became a successful lumberman, and raised a large family.
Pennsylvania had vast forests, and a young man named Albert Lewis, moved here from Maine and worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad as a conductor and later as a train dispatcher. Albert had two sisters who married the brothers, Daniel and Adam Stull, and then Albert, following in his father, Abijah’s, footsteps, started to acquire lumber rights. In 1864, 24 year old Albert was drafted into the Civil War, but as was common in the day, he paid $300 to George Bryer to take his place. He started to purchase large tracts of land in the years following the war. On December 19, 1872 he married Elizabeth Evelyn Crellin from White Haven. The lived in Kidder Twp. Hickory Run until 1880. By this time Albert was a prosperous lumberman. In May of 1875 a massive fire burned through the forests and Lewis lost 5 million feet of sawn lumber. In the next seven years, 1876-1883, he amassed 25,000 acres of timber with his various business partners. By the close of 1883 he was considered the second largest lumber producer on the Lehigh River. His lands were located along Bowman’s Creek between Noxen and Ricketts Glen, Bear Creek Township north of what is now Route 115 and all the lands south of Route 115 to Carbon County. His two brothers-in-law, Arthur and Adam Stull became his business partners and the Lewis and Stull families remained very close.
The Lumber Years
On February 4, 1880, Lewis and his business partner Calvin Brodhead purchased 12,400 acres of land from the estate of James McKeen for $70,000. Shortly thereafter the Lehigh Valley RR agreed to finance a branch line from Bear Creek Junction to Moosehead, and then to Bear Creek (the Village). Later, an extension from Bear Creek through the McKeen tract to Beaupland was added. With the addition of a rail line Lewis was able to build sawmills at Beaupland along the Bear Creek, then to a small town named California along Meadow Run stream, and ultimately a third one added at Meadow Run Pond. The lumber business was lucrative and by 1883 he had paid off the loan used to purchase the McKeen tract.
On March 3, 1884 the California sawmill boiler exploded, instantly killing three men: Rudolph Sipler, Whitmen Whitehead and Jesse Knecht. Two months later, in May of 1884, a forest fire swept through the area and the remains of the California sawmill and 12 out of 17 homes were destroyed. The only families who stayed on were the Smith, Stout, Inman, Hans, Mecke, Knecht and Seiner families.
From 1885 through July of 1895 the Lewis lumber enterprise in the McKeen tract experienced multiple setbacks. In 1885, Albert Lewis’ first wife, Lizzie, died of tuberculosis. Her funeral services were held in Grace Chapel, and Albert had a family cemetery built nearby. Her monument is described by Charles D. Linskill, in a newspaper at the time of her death, as a 12 foot oak tree stone monument with a rugged cross carved into the top portion, with ivy, ferns, toadstools, birds and nests, and wreaths of flowers, also carved of stone, encircling it. Surrounding the monument area are stone chairs and vases and the entire plot, measuring 24 x 30 feet, is enclosed by sculpted oak logs.
In July of 1886 the Meadow Run sawmill, valued at $25,000, burned down, and was rebuilt with the addition of a sawdust elevator, to feed the steam boiler with sawdust fuel. In 1887 there were 25 families living at the settlement, while at Beaupland there were approximately 15 families. Their homes and fuel were provided by Albert Lewis at no charge. However, within five years the lumber businesses were shuttering the sawmills and the rail line to Beaupland was declared unsafe. In 1892 there were only three families left in Meadow Run. One year later, the Lehigh Valley RR removed the tracks to Beaupland. The last family to live at Meadow Run was the William Hopper family in 1895. The Meadow Run sawmill community ended and Albert Lewis converted the area into a farm.
In the meantime, in the summer of 1890, Lewis was traveling in England and met a young lady named Lily Constance Westendarp. Two years later, in September of 1892 they were married at St. Peter’s Church in Kensington Park, London. They had four children: Albert Jr., Hugh, Lillian and George, however George died in infancy.