Upper Delaware Scenic Byway
< Fort Delaware Side: >
The present day Fort, a replica of the frontier "lower fort" of the Cushetunk settlement of 1755-1785, was originally located six miles up river near Milanville, Pennsylvania. Another fort was situated further up river in the Cushetunk settlement.
Fort Delaware is "dedicated to the Connecticut Yankees, who settled in the Delaware Valley." The first settlers, farmers of English descent who came primarily from eastern Connecticut, formed "The Delaware Company" and purchased land from the Lenape Indians, signing the first deed in 1754. The Lenape referred to this ten-mile long strip along both sides of the Delaware River as "Cushetunk," or something that sounds similar, which means either "a place of red stone hills" or "low lands washed over by water."
By 1760 there were thirty cabins, a gristmill and sawmill. Each spring saw the arrival of more settlers who faced hardships probably never conceived of in Connecticut: a remote wilderness, rough winters, the possibility of Indian attacks and the concern that farming the land might not sustain them. In 1761 a stockade was erected around three homes to serve as protection for the entire settlement against attack.
The settlers came into the area during the French and Indian War (1755-1763). Conflicts between the settlers and Native Americans eventually led to the near eradication of the Native American presence in Pennsylvania. The only known attack on Fort Delaware itself occurred in April 1763, when a Lenape war party sought revenge for the murder of their Chief, Teddyescung. In fact, this murder was probably committed by Iroquois rivals or members of the Susquehanna. One man, Ezra Witter, and the women and children residing within the Fort repelled the attack through a convincing display of force, which took one Lenape life.
The timber business was introduced into the community in 1794. It became a very successful operation resulting in a steady flow of cash which increased the development of Cushetunk. In the years between the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution, people abandoned the fort as the threat of Native American attack decreased and built what they called "fair houses".
< Narrowsburg's History Side: >
Narrowsburg, located in the town of Tusten, was established in 1853, when the town was separated from the Town of Lumberland. The town is named for Lt. Col. Benjamin Tusten of Goshen, New York, who was one of the fallen heroes of the July 22, 1779 Revolutionary War Battle of Minisink.
The history of the region is tied to the river, commerce and transportation. In the mid-1750's, when settlement began here, this community was first known as Homan's Eddy, named for early settler Benjamin Homan. Later the community was known as Big Eddy for the large quiet pool in the river at this location. Narrowsburg became a favorite stopping point for lumbermen who steered the great timber rafts down the river to the large markets of Easton, Trenton, and Philadelphia. At the peak of the rafting, a thousand rafts men could descend on Narrowsburg in search of a good meal and a clean hotel room for the night.
Later in the 1800's the railroad carried people from the New York City area seeking relief from the stifling heat of the city. From the 1930's through the 1950's, thousands of New York City Boy Scouts arrived by rail to attend the nearby Ten Mile River Scout Camps. At the present time, there are two railroad-dependent businesses in Narrowsburg: a feed mill and a lumberyard.
Now visitors, arriving year-round in their personal vehicles, still seek the same things: beautiful surroundings and relief from city life. Narrowsburg's lively streetscape is anchored by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, and businesses oriented to both visitors and the local community. The annual RiverFest and EagleFest events draw thousands of visitors to Main Street. Narrowsburg is known as the Eagle Capital of New York State.
Arts and entertainment events have been an important part of the Narrowsburg community for many decades. Built by the Narrowsburg Fire Department in 1925, the Tusten Theatre helped pay expenses by presenting silent films, dances and small traveling shows in "The Community Theater" portion of the building. In the 1930's the theatre became known as the "Park Theater" and remained a permanent part of Tusten's entertainment until the late 1980's. In 1873, the building was purchased by the Town of Tusten and became the Town Hall.