Susquehanna, River of Dreams


The Susquehanna River which borders Harford County is second in length only to the Ohio east of the Mississippi and anyone who has hiked along it cannot fail to feel humbled. In looking at the remains of various canal ventures from 150 years ago, which are in the main in remarkably good condition, one is struck by the amount of resources spent in an attempt to use the river for the transport of freight.

In "Susquehanna, River of Dreams", the author, Susan Q. Stranahan, does an outstanding job in weaving the relationship between the river and man. Although much of the river is in Pennsylvania, the book drove home the point that from the earliest times the river, and not a state boundary, tie the people of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Trade "flowed" from Lancaster and York counties to Baltimore rather than to Philadelphia much as today many commute from York to Baltimore or the reverse.

Although much of the river is in Pennsylvania and much of her discussion deals with such places as Columbia, PA, Wilkes-Barre, Westport and Harrisburg, all of these sites are but a few hours drive.

Stranahan deals with the geology, the role of the river in focusing early settlement and economic development, logging along the river, floods and Hurculean efforts control flooding, notably in Wilkes-Barre, pollution, the nuclear industry, farming, efforts at shad restoration and the realtionship between the river and the Chesapeake Bay.

I found it very readable and highly recommend it. In my mind, it is much better than the Rivers of America Series from the writers project of the '30s.

It is available in paperpack for some $15 and is available at Amazon.