Folmont History - Introduction
The story of Himatawa took place (or could have) at Folmont near Bucktail Drive, just above the headwaters of Breastworks Run. The young Shawnee brave, may have perished in his encounter with the mountain lion, for ancient man was as often the hunted as the hunter. But we do know that his tribe, the fierce Shawnee, were permitted to hunt and camp in this area by the Iroquois, or Six Nations, who ruled over most of Pennsylvania for generations. But eventually all of the native Americans were driven out by European settlers.
It is also true that Allegheny Mountain was once covered with majestic pine and hemlock trees. They were all but gone by the beginning of the twentieth century. We know they were there in 1758 when another 'tribe,' the English, were building a road for General Forbes' army. On September 15, 1758, Captain George Armstrong, writing to Colonel Henry Bouquet, drafted these poignant words, "... the great trees hard as iron breaks our axes,..."(sic). Traces of the Forbes Road and the later logging railroads used to haul out the great logs can still be found at Folmont if you know where to look.
There is also evidence at Folmont of a much dimmer past, long before man, or any mammal, trod the earth. Two hundred million years ago myriad species of reptiles, including perhaps the famed dinosaurs, roamed the area we now call Folmont. They lived on the lush swamp vegetation that formed the lucrative coal beds of the 'Allegheny Formation,' which covers much of Somerset County. Fortunately for us who live at Folmont, the swamps existed at an elevation above the present ground and were eroded away in later epochs as gigantic tectonic forces built the Appalachian Mountains. But the lower, and even older stratum, that still caps the mountain, called the Pottsville Sandstone, not only provides us with fossils of primeval flora and fauna, it also furnishes us with a beautiful and interesting building material. One home at Folmont contains the Fossil of a primordial fish in a stone on the game room wall.
History, whether geologic, archeologic or modern, is often dull and dry, but it comes to life in your mind's eye if you let it. Touch the fossil of something that died three hundred million years ago and consider that man is only one million years old! Try to imagine what could have caused every dinosaur on earth to perish after having roamed this planet for over 100 million years. Indeed, try to speculate on where and what man will be 100 million years from now.
Hold in your modern hand a stone arrowhead and consider the ancient hand that made it. Examine a button that fell from the uniform of a Private in Forbes' army and contemplate what the young man was doing when it fell in 1758. Or pick up a rusting railroad spike from one of the old 'tram' roads at Folmont and imagine the people who ran the train, cut the trees, made the clothes and cooked the meals. Walk the highways of history at Folmont, where you may find such fossils and relics of our past and know that we too are molding history for future generations. Our tenure as the current caretakers of this land is ephemeral. Let us hope that future generations will speak well of us and the care we have taken to preserve this land.
This is why we call Folmont the Community of Tomorrow Nestled in History.