Dean M. Chriss
R. B. Ricketts Falls, Autumn, Pennsylvania
(Click image to enlarge)
Pennsylvania's Ricketts Glen State Park and the waterfall in the photograph
above are both named for R. Bruce Ricketts, the proprietor of a nearby hotel
from 1873 to 1903. The waterfalls drew some people to the area and to Ricketts' hotel.
To capitalize on that Ricketts built built a trail system between the waterfalls that, with a few
modifications, is still used today. By the 1890s Ricketts owned or controlled
over 80,000 acres (32375 ha, 120 square miles) of land. He was no
environmentalist, and made a fortune clear-cutting nearly all of it. Fortunately about 2,000 acres (809 ha) of virgin forest
in three glens containing the waterfalls were preserved, likely because
the area was too difficult and expensive to clear cut.
After R. B. Ricketts death in
1918, his heirs began selling land to the state of Pennsylvania. When efforts to
make Ricketts Glen a national park in the 1930s were ended by the Second World
War and budget issues, Pennsylvania purchased the remaining land in 1942 and
opened Ricketts Glen State Park in 1944, just before the war ended.