Big Wapwallopen Creek

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"Wapwallopen Creek" redirects here. For the smaller stream with a similar name, see Little Wapwallopen Creek.
Big Wapwallopen Creek in Hollenback Township

Big Wapwallopen Creek (also known simply as Wapwallopen Creek)[1] is a 23.2-mile-long (37.3 km)[2] tributary of the Susquehanna River in east central Pennsylvania in the United States.[3]

The name Wapwallopen was derived from a nearby Native American village situated along the Susquehanna River.[3]

Wapwallopen Creek drops off the southwest edge of the Pocono Plateau and joins the Susquehanna River at Wapwallopen.[3]

There are gristmills on Big Wapwallopen Creek.[4] There is coal in the vicinity of the creek.[5]


Big Wapwallopen Creek's headwaters are in the community of Mountain Top and in the eastern edge of Fairview Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, between Arbutus Peak and Penobscot Mountain.[6][7] The creek flows south for a short distance before turning west and crossing Pennsylvania Route 309. Shortly afterwards, it passes through Pole Bridge Swamp and then leaves Fairview Township. The creek then flows southwest for several miles along the border between Rice Township and Wright Township, passing the community of Wech Corners on the way. Near the border between Rice Township, Wright Township, and Dorrance Township, it receives the tributary Watering Run and then enters Dorrance Township. The creek continues southwest through Dorrance Township, crossing Interstate 81 and passing the community of Dorrance. After leaving Dorrance Township, the creek enters Hollenback Township. In Hollenback Township, it continues flowing southwest to Nescopeck Mountain, where it turns west and passes a gauging station. Shortly downstream of the gauging station, the creek turns north and enters a valley near the border between Hollenback Township and Nescopeck Township. After a few miles, the creek passes through the community of Wapwallopen and enters the Susquehanna River at Bell Bend.[7]


The drainage area of Big Wapwallopen Creek is 45.8 square miles.[4] Bow Creek is one tributary of Big Wapwallopen Creek.[6] Crystal Spring is another tributary.[8] Cranberry Pond, Crystal Lake and Mud Pond are lakes on the creek.[9]


For much of its distance, Big Wapwallopen Creek's International Scale of River Difficulty rating is I to IV. There are several waterfalls on the creek. On waterfall is called Theater and has a 30-foot (9-meter) drop. The second waterfall is called Anarchy and has a drop of more than 20 feet (6 meters), followed immediately by a 10-foot (3-meter) drop. After that there is a 10 to 15 foot (3 to 5 meter) waterfall. Another waterfall on Big Wapwallopen Creek is called the Big Daddy Boner and has a drop of 45 feet (14 meters).[10]


The month with the highest average discharge since 1919 is April, when the discharge typically ranges from 93 to 144 cubic feet per second. The month with the lowest average discharge since 1919 is August, when the discharge typically ranges from 21 to 38 cubic feet per second.[11]

Geology and geography[edit]

Big Wapwallopen Creek cuts through an outcrop of gray siltstone of the Trim­mers Rock Formation near a geographic feature known as the Powder Hole. The valley in the lower reaches of the creek contains large amounts of gray and greenish-gray rock.[12]

The lower reaches of Big Wapwallopen Creek are located in a river valley known as the Powder Hole. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) long and 200 to 300 feet (61 to 91 m) deep. Several waterfalls are located in this valley, including the lower and middle falls. Between these falls is a relatively flat floodplain.[12]

The bedrock in the Powder Hole is 380 million years old, meaning that it is from the Late Devonian. The bedrock in the northern part of the valley belongs to the Trim­mers Rock Formation, which contains gray siltstone, sandstone, and shale. The southern part of the valley has bedrock that belongs to the Irish Valley Member of the Catskill Formation.[12]

The original course of the lower reaches Big Wapwallopen Creek was slightly south and west of the Powder Hole, but the valley here was filled by glaciation 20,000 years ago when there were glaciers in the area for 1000 years.[12]


The Delaware and Shawnee Indians built wigwams close to the mouth of Big Wapwallopen Creek.[8]

Settlers arrived at Big Wapwallopen Creek from Northampton County in 1785. Nathan Beach constructed a mill on the creek in 1795, at a location known as the "Powder Hole". Eventually, three mills were built there, all of which burned down.[8] A sawmill was built on the creek by Cornelius Garrison in 1833.[6] A gunpowder factory was built on the creek but exploded. The factory was powered by mills known as the Wapwallopen Mills.[12] The Parrish, Silver Mill, a mill on the creek, flooded in 1859, causing much damage.[13] In 1865 F.K. Miller built a tannery on a tributary of the creek.[8]

There used to be a timbering industry in the Big Wapwallopen Creek watershed, but it stopped around 1870.[14] The Wapwallopen Mills were moved from the area in 1912.[13]

F.K. Miller built a tannery on a tributary of Big Wapwallopen Creek in the late 1800s.[8]

The Wapwallopen Creek Bridge is a stone arch bridge that crosses Big Wapwallopen Creek in Mountain Top. It was built in 1897 and repaired in 1963. It is still standing and open to traffic. As of 2007, 70 vehicles per day pass over it.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Big Wapwallopen Creek
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed August 8, 2011
  3. ^ a b c Gertler, Edward. Keystone Canoeing, Seneca Press, 2004. ISBN 0-9749692-0-6
  4. ^ a b Geological Survey Water-supply Paper, Issue 1420, 1960, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  5. ^ Massachusetts Board of Internal Improvements, James Hayward, Stephen Harriman Long, Edward H. Robbins (1830), Report of the Directors of Internal Improvement on the Subject of Tail Roads, Transmitted to the Legislature, January Session, 1830, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  6. ^ a b c Joseph Kubic, Darlene Miller-Lanning (2012), Mountain Top, Arcadia Publishing, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  7. ^ a b USGS (1980), Luzerne County Pennsylvania USGS Topographical Map, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  8. ^ a b c d e Henry C. Bradsby, ed. (1893), History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Selections, Volume 1, Pages 1-667, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Water Supply Commission (1917), Water Resources Inventory Report ...: Act of July 25, 1913, Part 4, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  10. ^ American Whitewaterurl = (November 30, 2006), Wapwallopen Creek, Pennsylvania, US 
  11. ^ USGS, USGS 01538000 Wapwallopen Creek near Wapwallopen, PA, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  12. ^ a b c d e Jon D. Inners et al., GEOLOGY AND INDUSTRIALIZATION OF THE "POWDER HOLE", Pennsylvania Geology, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  13. ^ a b History of the Powder Hole, retrieved April 24, 2014 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Wapwallopen Creek Bridge, retrieved December 24, 2013 

External links[edit]