The Pocono Indian Museum traces the history of the Delaware (Lenape) Indians dating back from 10, 500 B.C.
The museum will both inform and, perhaps, shock you. It will show the North American history of man in Northeastern Pennsylvania from 10,500 B.C. to the contact period with European man prior to the American Revolution. It will show the Delaware Indians’ peaceful coexistence with other Indians. And, it will show you the shocking and short 100 years it took the white man to virtually eliminate almost all traces of the Pennysvian Lenape existence.
PENN’S TREATY WITH THE INDIANS
This painting from Benjamin West depicts a legendary meeting between William Penn and members of the Lenape tribe at Shackamaxon on the Delaware River. Although the scene is allegorical rather than historical, the image has become an icon of American history.
See some of the most unique ancient artifacts on display.
The Pocono Indian Museum traces the history of the Delawares through displays of ancient artifacts, weapons, and tools that form chronological commentary on life among the Indians for thousands of years.
SEE PEACE PIPES OVER 150 YRS OLD
Often called peace pipes they were really “prayer pipes.”
The native people felt a relationship with the Great Spirit through the pipes. When used in prayer as the smoke rose and disappeared it was hoped that their prayer was heard.
SEE 800+ YR OLD ARTIFACTS FROM A FARM FIELD DIG
This small clay bowl was found intact in a farmers field supposedly in the eighteen hundreds. It belonged to a local family who lived along the Delaware River. It is in excellent shape and is thought to be between 800 and 1000 yrs. old
NATIVES CLAIM SIGHTINGS TOO!
The native people believed in a man like creature that they called “Meesing”
He lived in the forest, walked on two legs like man. He wore a mask that was half red and half black. He was considered to be harmless and the only way the people knew he was near their village was he had a terrible odor like rotten eggs. What’s interesting is the native people living in the north west had a creature just like Messing only they called him “Sasquatch”.
Visit the museum and its historic building from 1840.
The main building that houses the museum was originally built in 1840 by Mr. John Van Campen Coolbaugh. It is one of the oldest frame structures in the Pocono Mountains. The large farmhouse is located on Rt. 209, previously called Milford Road, as it was a dirt road leading from the town of Stroudsburg to Milford, Pa. It was later a boarding house and stop for the stage coaches heading from Pennsylvania to New York State.
During the American Civil War, the basement of the house was reputed to be a safe house hiding slaves during the daylight hours so they could continue their journey under cover of darkness on the “Under Ground Railroad” to Canada.
During the prohibition era, drinking liquor was prohibited in the United States. The building became a local “Speakeasy” where people could drink alcohol, violating the law. “Dutch Shultz” and “Legs Diamond”, famous gangsters, were seen staying here while on the way to see a Jack Dempsey fight.
The building, at a later date, was used as a dormitory for councilors at Camp Sunny Brook, a summer camp nearby run by the Pennsylvania Baptist Convention.
ORIGINAL BUILDING BEFORE IT BECAME THE INDIAN MUSEUM
This is what the museum building looked like in 1975. It was suggested to tear down the structure and start from scratch. My wife and I thought that the building had good
historic bones and had been part of the local culture. It was truly a work of love and a family adventure to restore the property to reflect it’s rich past. The interior beams are actually hand hewn and have the carpenters markings on some of them.
In 1976 the property was purchased as the site of the Pocono Indian Museum. By this time, the structure was in terrible shape and had to be completely refurbished. It took a lot of man-hours and the dedication of the Law family to bring the building back to its original splendor and current home of the Pocono Indian Museum.
The museum opened for the American Bicentennial and sees thousands of tourists from all over the world pass through the doors each year.