Where I’m From: Kingston, Pennsylvania

Growing up in Kingston, I can remember always walking to my elementary school (or primary school as the Brits call it). The way the Appalachian Mountains were in the distance, creating the valley I lived in, and made a euphoric site during the fall when all the leaves changed. I’m from Kingston, and here are seven facts that most people do not know about my hometown.

1. Connecticut settlers founded Kingston in 1769.

The land was bought from the local Indians in 1768, and Connecticut settlers arrived between January and February 1769. Unfortunately when the settlers arrived in February, two battles ensued over the land; we refer to them as the Yankee-Pennamite Wars. The issue was eventually resolved, and everyone went on their merry ways.

2. There is a legend of a former zoo that was once on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

Remnants of the zoo are hard to come by and trust me, I walked the area of where the zoo would have been located. According to past newspaper articles, it is believed that the zoo was established near the levee and dike system.

The only people who seem to remember the zoo are the elderly who live nearby. A newspaper article from June 20, 2015, published interviews with those who remember the zoo, which was assumed to be opened until the 1970’s. The flood of 1972 could have easily destroyed the zoo, and may have never been rebuilt because of its location by the levees and dikes.

3. President Richard Nixon visited the area after the flood of 1972 and declared it a disaster zone.

Around 70,000 people had to be evacuated during the flood caused by Hurricane Agnes. The flooding brought an awareness for lack of a levee system for the surrounding towns which bank the river.

The levee system was built along the Susquehanna River and was put through the test during any significant rain falls. The most prominent test was made in September of 2011, when the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Lee brought the water level to an astounding 42 inches.

The 2011 flood, though horrendous, only destroyed the low-lying areas that the levee system cannot protect. The areas that were previously underwater in 1972, were relatively safe from the 2011 disaster. For instance, my home was flooded in 1972. It certainly would have been flooded in 2011 if it had not been for the levee systems, especially since the water’s crest was higher in the past.

4. The two biggest cities surrounding Kingston are Philadelphia and New York City.

Both cities are within two hours from Kingston, making for easy bus trips to see shows and to go shopping.

5. I live in what I call the Bermuda triangle of ice cream shops. We have Dairy Queen, Rita’s Italian Ice, and Josie’s Italian Ice, forming a triangle shape near where I live.

6. We have pizza shops almost on every street corner. My favorite is Antonio’s, and it’s a ritual in my family to go there whenever we are all together.

7. We also have our own NEPA (North Eastern Pennsylvania) language. However, I do not know it.

Original photos provided by author.