BEACH LAKE, PA — Just after WWI, the Pennsylvania Department of Highways, today called PennDOT, developed a system of roadside signage that became known as Keystone Markers. Every town, borough …
BEACH LAKE, PA — Just after WWI, the Pennsylvania Department of Highways, today called PennDOT, developed a system of roadside signage that became known as Keystone Markers. Every town, borough and city in the state boasted at least one of these markers with an explanation of the area’s name, centered above a founding date.
Made of blue and yellow painted cast iron, Keystone Markers were products of the height of the “Good Roads” movement that opened highway travel to the masses. Although they once numbered in the thousands, only about 600 remain today, prompting Preservation Pennsylvania, the state’s heritage preservation advocacy organization, to declare the markers one of its most endangered resources.
Berlin Township Supervisor Cathy Hunt held up the remains of a Keystone Marker at the October 21 meeting. On the sign were the barely legible words “Beech Lake” (so named because of area trees) and a founding date thought to be 1825. Hunt said a PennDOT worker had discovered the sign in some roadside brush at a worksite within the township and had subsequently passed it to former supervisor Paul Henry.
“When was the name changed to Beach Lake?” everyone wanted to know.
“If anybody would know, it would probably be Wayne County historian Carol Dunn,” said Hunt.
“Let’s ask her.”
“Do we have an interest in restoring the sign to its original condition?” asked Hunt, as she passed it to fellow supervisors Rob Mahon and Charlie Gries and then to curious onlookers. The supervisors voted unanimously to approve a $400 expenditure for restoration of the sign.