History

The Aquetong Spring was well known by the Lenni-Lenape Indians who lived in the area. The fresh water was used by them and later by the European settlers in the area. The dependability of the water flow made the Aquetong Creek a perfect spot for mills. There were at least 8 in its route between the spring and the Delaware River. In 1870 the owner A. J. Beaumont built a dam to create a lake.  The lake was used as a fish hatchery and for recreation.

By 1992 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had acquired the spring, the lake, and the surrounding property. In 2009 the Commonwealth and the Solebury Township Commissioners reached an agreement for the sale of the property to the Township. In 2013 the Commissioners voted to remove the dam and return the area to its natural state. They presented this slide show at their regular meeting on April 21, 2015.

2015-21 April, Solebury Township Supervisors Meeting

Note: Mouse over the slides stops the advance and reveals navigation.

Diary

April 27, 2015
Work begins to install four pipes on the south side of the dam at the point where the dam is lower. This will release the first of the water from the lake.

April 29, 2015
Water is flowing through the new pipes and the level of the lake is already noticeably lower. The water is flowing in a small drainage ditch at the base of the dam to the creek.

May 3, 2015
Trees and debris have been removed from the top of the dam to permit placement of stones for a roadbed for trucks and heavy equipment. Most of the future work will be done on the south side of the dam.

May 5, 2015
The water is now below the pipes that were installed in the north side of the dam. Pumps have been brought in to move the water from the south side of the dam where it is collecting and the first pump is working. Bales of straw were placed in the creek below the outlet to catch sediment that flows through the pipe. Special care is being taken to ensure that the water level of the creek downstream remains steady and at the same level as before the project began.

May 8, 2015
A second pump is being used to remove the water from the lake bed.

May 11, 2015

A large area of the lake bed is now showing as mud.

May 15, 2015
Water is down to approximately one acre from the original twelve. The part of Aquetong Creek from the spring to the remaining lake is beginning to cut its path.

May 18, 2015
Work begins on two access ramps on either side of the north end of the dam to permit heavy equipment to run parallel to the dam.
Removal of the fish begins. Fish types include small mouth bass, pumpkin seed, suckers, and sunnies. Approximately 400-500 fish released into the Delaware River.

May 20, 2015
A blue heron is visiting daily looking for food as the lake recedes.

May 21, 2015
First cut is made to lower the dam on the south side. This is the spot where the creek will find its natural flow across the area where the dam has stood. Two small pumps remain to move the water from the west side of the dam to the creek below the dam.

June 1, 2015
The project is progressing well with two “roads” constructed down both sides of the dam.  Trucks go in and out taking dirt/fill away for the dam.  The plan is to breach about 100 feet of the dam where the stream will flow out.  The contractors have cut away about 75% of this targeted width and have gone down about 8 feet.  The original dam was 30 feet high at its lowest to highest point.
Two pumps remain in action to remove water.  Occasionally one or both get clogged and the water level rises faster than the pumping.  Normally this only happens on the weekends when they are not attended. The water going downstream appears to be quite clean and clear, which of course is the point.
Flyaway’s site manager reports seeing two eagles, separately and together, visiting the lake fairly often.  Turtles roam.  Fish are not in great evidence after several days of capturing them and returning them to the river.   What fish remain are probably up stream in the cool water, undisturbed stream.
The exposed lake bed is heavy mud, and will not support a walker without special shoe equipment.

June 9, 2015
Today the contractor seeded the open, muddy areas with a mix of grass to stay ahead of invasive and non-native plants that are poised to take over due to the perfect summer growing weather.

June 17, 2015
Substantial progress has been made in cutting out an approximate 100 foot width of dam.  At this point there is more or less 25% more to dig (8 to 10 feet), which will allow the water from the spring to flow directly into Aquetong creek. One pump continues to run 24/7, directing the spring output around the work on the dam. The water coming through the pump remains clear and free of sediment.  The small pond remaining holds just a few carp.  A blue heron has taken up residence at the pond’s edge.
The first shoots of this grass can be seen across a broad swath.  A clear shelf of harder mud is forming on the Route 202 side of the lake bed, however there is no firm place to walk on any of the lake bed right now.

July 1, 2015
Heavy rains for much of June have slowed the work but opening up the cut on the east side of the dam is approaching.   The downstream “check dam” is about 75% in place. This dam is designed to catch the mud particles and stop them from filling the lower part of the steam with old lake mud. Right now the two sides of the dam have to be built up, with stone, to a height of about 6 feet above the lower, middle part of the ‘old’ dam so the water is driven through the middle of the long cut in the dam.  The cut is about 100 feet wide.  The cuts’ lower part is at the level of the check dam and the higher part of the old dam is much higher, with a large lip holding back the stream. The single pump is doing a good job in keeping the stream to a stream (not a pond), even after a night of heavy rain. The pump has 3 feet deep wells from which it sucks water and directs the water downstream.
The lake bed is seeded with a rye mix where possible. There is a considerable amount of mud surface that is not drying quickly due to the rain and the depth of the mud. The rye mix is growing along with some volunteer seeds giving a green fuzz.

July 9, 2015
The contractor has about 2 or 3 more days of earth removal, then they will install the rip rap (rock to prevent erosion) on the bottom of the proposed channel mid to end of next week. Once that is completed they will remove the remaining earth holding back the remaining water and turn the pumps off. Old lake bed is turning green. Many small trees sprouting; making good progress.

July 21, 2015
Today the dam was broken and the Aquetong Creek water flowed at its level for the first time since 1870.  All went according to plan with a smaller, temporary break dam below the old dam checking the flow of the water and filtering out a good deal of silt as the water made it way down stream.  Silt water will continue to flow as the stream cuts its level down through 145 years of accumulated muck to equalize its natural bed between the spring water fall and the down stream level.
The old lake bed continues to push new growth and is a lush green, however it is not at all stable. Walking on it is impossible as a person sinks down into the muck at every step; the closer one gets to the stream, the deeper one sinks.

November 5, 2016
Solebury Township was awarded a grant to buy 100 trees, and Jim Searing heading the project to purchase and plant them. Twenty Solebury residents met at the park and planted all 100 trees. 

Structures of Historic Interest Around Aquetong Lake and Downstream

There are several structures surrounding the lake and park property that tell interesting stories about the area’s history. These are being documented here with the permission of the current inhabitants and the notice that they are private property and should not be visited except by invitation. View photos of these structures.

Around the Lake and Park

Ingham House, located across route 202 northwest of the Park
1934-April – Better Homes & Gardens Awards by John Normile
An article about the remodeling of the Ingham House
References:  Inghamdale, Ingham family, James Logan, mills, restoration and  preservation, photos circa 1934

2001-08-09 – New Hope Gazette by Ned Harrington
2001-08-16 – New Hope Gazette by Ned Harrington
Two-part article about the history of Ingham House
References:  A. J. Beaumont, Beaumont family, Deer Park, Ingham family, Ingham House, James Logan 

Deer Park, located on the hill to the south and overlooking the park

Aquetong/Beaumount one-room schoolhouse, located west of the lake on Ingham Road on a hill looking over the Judy House

Judy House, located in the park near Lower Mountain Road with the spring to the south

Downstream from the Spring and Park

Kate Smith House, located east of the park near Aquetong Creek

Reeder House, 19 Reeder Road, and the mill along Aquetong Creek east of the park and across Reeder Road from the Reeder House
Historic House Study, The Early History of 19 Reeder Road, Prepared by Heritage Conservancy
References:  Aquetong Creek, Eastburn Reeder, Hugh Ely, Ingham family, James Logan, Jane Pool, John Betts, Reeder Road, Richard and Elizabeth Randolph, Thomas Pool

Other mills along Aquetong Creek
Aquetong Creek
Details of the creek and the mills built along it, including who built them and their purpose/product
This is an excerpt for Collected Short Articles from Bucks County, researched by Donald R. Repsher, originally published in 1942 by George MacReynolds, “Place Names in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Alphabetical Arranged in an Historical Narrative,” second edition (published by the Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pa., 1942, 1955, 1976), pages 10-12.
References:  A. J. Beaumont, Benjamin Canby, Benjamin Perry, flaxseed mill, flour mill, fulling mill, Heath family, Heath Mill, Ingham family, John Todd, paper mill, Philip Williams, saw mill, Thompson & Tagg

Old Mills of New-Hope Solebury is a book written by Will Rivinus in which many of the mills along the Aquetong Creek are mentioned. This book is available for sale in our store.

Newspaper Articles and Other Information

The Society is gathering historical data on the spring and surrounding area.

From 1995 to the Present

2017-05-02 – Reintroducing Brook Trout to Aquetong Creek Presentation
Presentation by Jim Searing to the Solebury Board of Supervisors about the reintroduction of brook trout to Aquetong Creek
References: Aquetong Creek, Jim Searing, Solebury Township, Bucks County Chapter of Trout Unlimited

2017-05-02 – Trout Unlimited Restores Native Brook Trout to Aquetong Creek in Solebury, New Hope
An article in the New Hope Free Press about the restoration of native brook trout to Aquetong Creek
References: Aquetong Creek, Bucks County Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Aquetong Watershed Association, Solebury Township, Jim Searing

2016-08-18 – State commission signs off on Aquetong Lake
An article in the Bucks County Herald about state approval for the work that has been done and finalizing the transfer of the land to Solebury Township
References:  Aquetong Creek, Lenni Lenape, Marion Swann, Jim Searing, Helen Tai

2016-02-02 – Solebury Township receives grant award
Supervisor Jim Searing’s announcement at the February 2 Supervisors meeting about a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation
References:  Barry Fetterolf, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, Dennis Carney, Frank Nassetta, Jim Searing, Les Isbrandt, State Senator Chuck McIlhenny, Representative Scott Petri, William Collins

2015-September 24 – Solebury manager outlines progress on Aquetong Lake by Nancy Albence
An article in the Bucks County Herald about the status update of the Aquetong Spring Park project at the September 15 supervisors’ meeting
References:  Aquetong Creek, Army Corps of Enginneers, Judy House, Lenni Lenape, park planning, Dennis Carney

2015-May 21 – Creek emerges with gusto as Aquetong Lake is drained by Robert McEwan and Beth Carrick
An article in the Bucks County Herald about the return of Aquetong Creek to its natural flow
References:  Aquetong Creek, Aquetong Lake, Aquetong Spring Park, Aquetong Watershed Association, Bucks County Trout Unlimited, Solebury Township Historical Society (STHS)

2015-April – Aquetong Spring and Surrounding Property by Les Isbrandt
A paper written for the Aquetong Watershed Association
References:  Andrew J. Beaumont, area history, geology, Ingham Springs Paper Mill, James Logan, Jonas Ingham, Kenneth H. Judy, Perry Bond, Samuel Ingham, Thompson & Tagg

2015-April – Construction under way at Aquetong Spring Park by Nancy Albence
An article in the Bucks County Herald about the beginning of the work to deconstruct the dam and return the lake area to its once-natural state

2013-November – Cave Diving in Southeastern Pennsylvania from The Underground Movement  by Danny A. Brass
A lengthy article about the cave system that winds through Solebury and Buckingham townships and is the reason for the Aquetong Spring
References:  cave diving, Dr. & Mrs. Kenneth Judy, Ingham family, Konkey Hole (Hollekonk), Lenni-Lenape, maps, Native Americans, old photographs, sinkhole

2009-November – Township Takes Title to Ingham Spring Property
An article in the Solebury Messenger about the concluded purchase of the lake area
References:  grant funding, Ingham Spring, Judy House, Kate Smith House, land history, mills, photos circa 2009, planning, purchase price

2008-March – Transfer of Ingham Spring to Solebury Is Imminent
An article in the Solebury Messenger about the upcoming purchase of the lake area
References:  Fish and Boat Commission, area history, photo circa 2008, preservation, property plan, Township’s purchase

2008-January – Solebury set to purchase Ingham Spring by Bridget Wingert
An article in the Bucks County Herald about the purchase of 48 acres at the lake site
References:  cost to Township, master plan, park and lake purchase, photos circa 2008

2004 – A Phase I Archaeological Survey of the Ingham Springs Property
prepared by Hunter Research for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Provides only the summary and table of contents of the full report
References:  area history, Jonathan Ingham

2004-November – Ingham Spring Dam Removal Study
prepared for Trout Unlimited by  F. X. Browne, Inc.
A key report stating the case for removing the dam and returning the stream bed
References:  dam, Deer Park, geology, mills, water temperatures

1998-April 2 – Geology, always the prime mover at Ingham Spring
An article from the New Hope gazette about the unique geology of the area around Ingham Spring
References:  geology, Heath Mill, Judy House, land and owners history, Lenni Lenape, Native Americans, spring, mills

1995 – Ingham Spring Master Plan
A document that provides in nine pages the summary of a 50-plus page report, including its table of contents and a history outline
References:  area history, ecosystem, geology

Before 1995

1986-September 11 – Samuel Delucenna Ingham: Solebury’s ‘greatest son’ remembered
An article by Charles Shaw from the New Hope Gazette, reprinted from an earlier edition, to mark the 207th birthday of Samuel Ingham
References:  Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, lake, “Petticoat War, ”Samuel Ingham, spring

1971, 1900 – No 6 – the James Logan Tract
Eastburn Reeder’s information about the James Logan tract of land that includes the Great Spring, originally published by Reeder in 1900 and edited into book form by Ned Harrington for the Bucks County Historical Society in 1971
References:  Aquetong Post Office, Great Spring, James Logan, landowners circa 1900, Samuel Ingham

1969 – March 2 –The Sunday Bulletin, Philadelphia
An article on the possible sale of the spring and property to Bucks County or to the State Fish Commission.
References:  Dr. and Mrs. Perry Bond, healing waters, Indian legends, Ingham family, Ingham (Great, Aquetong) Spring, Lenni Lenape Indians

1942 – Collected Short Articles from Bucks County, researched by Donald R. Repsher
Three articles originally published in George MacReynolds, “Place Names in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Alphabetical Arranged in an Historical Narrative,” second edition (published by the Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pa., 1942, 1955, 1976), pages 10-15.
2a. Aquetong Spring
A history of the spring after the arrival of European settlers
References:  Great Spring (Aquetong Spring, Ingham Spring), Ingham family, James Logan, Konkey Hole
2B. Aquetong Creek
Details of the creek and the mills built along it, including who built them and their purpose/product
References:  A. J. Beaumont, Benjamin Canby, Benjamin Perry, flaxseed mill, flour mill, fulling mill, Heath family, Heath Mill, Ingham family, John Todd, paper mill, Philip Williams, saw mill, Thompson & Tagg
2C. Aquetong village
History of the village formerly known as Paxson’s Corner
References:  Paxson family, Revolutionary War, Rolling Green Farm

1935-June 28 – Daily Intelligencer, Doylestown
An article about the restoration of a stone house near Inghamdale, including information about Deer Park and Ingham Spring
References:  Inghamdale, Ingham Springs, Deer Park

1926 – Walter S. Lapp University of Pennsylvania Thesis Table of Contents
Table of Contents for Lapp thesis dealing with water temperature sanitary conditions of Ingham Spring (entire thesis available at schoolhouse)
References:  bacteriological analysis, chemical analysis, Ingham Spring, Walter S. Lapp, temperatures

1921-February 12 – Intelligencer, Doylestown
An article about the sale of Deer Park to be used as a religious camp ground
References:  Aquetong Lake, Deer Park, Hugh B. Eastburn, Charles Edward Foulke, John Zimmerman, Jr.

1873 – A Model Fish Farm in Bucks County, PA.
Article in the Indiana Democrat about the fish farms and how they functioned. In addition, the article tells about the Aquetong Salmon Club. At the time of the writing of the article, the dam was being built to create the 12 acre lake.
References:  Aquetong Salmon Club, Beaumont Deer Park, Ingham Spring, fish farm, dam, trout, salmon

1873-May 25 -Making Game of It
Newspaper article from the Daily Gazette of Little Rock, AR, about the Beaumont Deer Park Association and the fish farm ponds
References:  Beaumont Deer Park Association, fish farm, game preserve, Ingham Spring

1871-June 06 – the Bucks County Intelligencer
An article on a meeting of the Beaumont Deer Park Association and the fish hatchery
References:  A. J. Beaumont, dam, Deer Park, fish hatchery, Thompson & Tagg, trout

1871-January 6 – Trenton State Gazette article
Article about the fish ponds at Ingham Springs; mentions “ponds” being finished so probably the dam to contain the lake was not yet completed
References:  fish hatchery, Ingham Springs, salmon, trout

1870 – Survey of Deer Park and the spring area and explanation of the survey that was taken before the dam was built
Survey done by/for A.J. Beaumont in 1870 showing mills and races and other structures primarily built by the Inghams (original is in the Bucks County Historical Society archive)
Transcript of the writing on the survey by Patty Bacon, historian for Deer Park
References:  A. J. Beaumont, Alexander B. Johnson, Betts, Deer Park, Great Spring, Sate Randolph

1860 – Plan Of Two Tracts Of Land In Solesbury Town, Bucks Co, Penna, Subject to Ground Rent to Loganian Library, October 1860, by Samuel Croasdale
The booklet The Early History of 19 Reeder Road New Hope, PA, Prepared by Heritage Conservancy December 1997, mentions this plan on pages 4-5. Ground rents were the subject of several court cases, one in 1831 regarding taxes on the ground rents when parts of the Great Spring Tract were owned by Ingham, Randolph and Bye, and then later in 1861, when the reassessment of the amount owed was to be done
The 1860 survey reminds us of the history of the tract earlier than the dam, and shows the fruits of James Logan’s intentions when he put the requirements in the original lease he made to Ingham, Heath and the others. He did what he could to make the potential of the spring to supply power available to the first settlers who could thereby obtain a security that would lead to prosperity.
The original of the plan is in the library of the Bucks County Historical Society.
References:  mill, mill race, Samuel Croasdale