History of Penn-Roosevelt State Park
At the turn of the 20th century, large railroad logging operations were in progress in the Seven Mountains area with the hillsides and hollows receiving a “lumberman’s shave” typical of the day.
During the summer, Reichley Brothers, a logging company, ran a 39-mile Sunday excursion train carrying up to 210 passengers, mostly from Lewistown. The trip began at Milroy, traveled to Poe Mills, to Thickhead Mountain, through the Stone Creek Kettle, and back to Milroy by way of Laurel Creek. One of the hardest climbs was at Stone Gap, just south of the main park area.
These logging company properties were later sold to the commonwealth in large tracts, forming the bulk of the Rothrock State Forest. Many of the railroad grades were later used as a base for the state forest roads. Observant visitors can still find some of the grades.
Civilian Conservation Corps
Penn-Roosevelt State Park did not exist until June 5, 1933, when members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 361 arrived to set up a work camp during the height of the Great Depression. The camp at Penn-Roosevelt was first known as Camp S-62, Stone Creek Kettle. The CCC of the 1930s was segregated and the camp at Stone Creek Kettle was one of only 12 Black camps in Pennsylvania.
Corps members lived at the camp and constructed recreational facilities, including a 195-foot log-crib dam that has since been stone-faced. They also built many of the surrounding forestry roads and trails. Two fireplaces, a unique stone bake oven, and other ruins of the camp can still be found.
For many years, Penn-Roosevelt was a state forest picnic area. During 1983, it was officially designated as Penn-Roosevelt State Park.