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History of Samuel S. Lewis State Park

The Park

Samuel S. Lewis State Park was named in honor of the former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forest and Waters from 1951-1954, who, at the end of his term, donated 35 acres of his farm to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A portion of Lewis’ farm had been previously owned by George E. Stine, the proprietor of a large tree and shrub nursery who planted a wide variety of unusual trees at the crest of Mount Pisgah.

Upon donating the property, Lewis insisted that a bronze plaque be included as part of the park to recognize Mr. Stine’s arboretum.

In addition to Lewis’ farm, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased 35 acres of adjacent farm land to complete the initial Samuel Lewis State Park tract. The park opened to the public on July 4, 1954. Since then, DCNR purchased an additional 14 acres of land during 1999.

Samuel S. Lewis

1874 - 1959

An unassuming, jovial, analytical man, Samuel Lewis held cabinet-level positions to several governors, most notably as Secretary of Highways to Governor Gifford Pinchot during Pinchot’s ambitious road-paving program to “get the farmer out of the mud.”

Samuel Lewis also served as the lieutenant governor to Arthur H. James from 1939-1943, and as the postmaster general of York. He is also known for rejuvenating the York Fair.

During 1951, Lewis was appointed the Secretary of the Department of Forests and Waters and oversaw all state parks and forests. In two years, Lewis reorganized and streamlined the department.

“Sam Lewis was the best man I ever worked under. He was a genius at deciding what was good for the public and getting it done quickly. He had the administrative tools to get anything done.” -- Joe Ibberson, retired division chief, Bureau of Forestry