Where is Suzy's Hole? You think you know? Well, think again

Teenage boys plunge into Mill Creek, 1914.

The Scribbler, Mrs. Scribbler and some kayak buddies recently paddled down scenic Pequea Creek to the concrete pad that held the Martic Forge Hotel before it burned three years ago.

We docked our boats and continued walking along the creek on the Conestoga Trail.

Near what is generally known as Suzy's Hole, a turbulent mess of dangerous boulders and white water that has surprised many unsuspecting tubers and kayakers, we encountered Roy Neff.

Neff lives in Colemanville and walks this stretch of the trail several times a week. He claimed that what is called Suzy's Hole actually is not Suzy's Hole.

Suzy's Hole, Neff said, is a placid deep spot several hundred yards upstream from the turbulent area. A rope tied to a tree branch hangs out over the water there.

"They've been swimming in there for over 100 years," Neff explained. "My grandfather told me that was Suzy's Hole."

Neff said everyone he knows calls the deep spot Suzy's Hole. They call the turbulent area "the falls" or "the rapids."

On our return to the former hotel site, we encountered several teenagers on the creek bank opposite the hanging rope.

One of them said he refers to that entire stretch of creek - from the falls to the rope - as "Suzy's Hole."

PPL Corp. owns all of this land. Mark Arbogast, PPL's assistant superintendent for environmental preserves, said he's not sure where Suzy's Hole is.

"I don't think PPL ever designated the place," he said. "I think it's a local name that carried through the years. Certainly, this gentleman (Neff) could be correct about the site."

Newspaper accounts all refer to the turbulent area as Suzy's Hole or "the washing machine." No story mentions the rope site.

And there are plenty of stories. In the summer of 1998, a 4-year-old girl drowned while tubing through the turbulence. There were previous drownings, and other adventurers have hammered heads or broken bones on rocks.

No one seems to know the origin of the name "Suzy's Hole," although a common opinion is that someone named Suzy drowned there many years ago.

In any case, the best place to view that stretch of the Pequea is from the creek bank.

If you must use the water, Arbogast warned, portage around the falls on the Conestoga Trail.

Everybody in the water at once

The teenagers in this photo were diving into Mill Creek.

The time: 1914. The place: what is now Lancaster County Central Park

Robert E. Marion Jr., 1912 Sterling Place, found the photo in a box of old pictures that belonged to his father, Robert E. Marion Sr.

The elder Marion was 14 years old in 1914. He lived in the 400 block of S. Ann St. and later told his son he often went swimming in that section of Mill Creek.

But was little Mill Creek really deep enough to dive into?

Marion suggests the boys might have dammed the flow to create a pool.

Also, no doubt, there's more sediment in the crick now than there was in 1914.

Marion contributed this picture to a Photofest held by the Lancaster County Historical Society last month to collect specimens for a picture book to be called "Lancaster at Play."

The society still needs photos and has made a wish list of possibilities. First on the list is the roof garden atop the old Woolworth's store in the first block of N. Queen St.

Anyone with playful photos or serious questions should contact James Alton, deputy director of the historical society, at 201-3274.

CONTACT US: jbrubaker@LNPnews.com or 291-8781

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