The Indian Woods

By on September 26, 2018

Every community has some beloved spot or area that goes back for years and years.

And with it normally comes stories, legends, and a lot of great memories. In some towns, it could be a location referred to as the old swimmin’ hole, the railroad tracks, or the town dump. It was a place of solitude, exploration, and a great place to be a kid.

This is the story of one of those places in Lititz­: The Indian Woods of Lititz.

For generations, this area lied just north of downtown, and was situated west of route 501, across from where the Speedway convenience store is now. The Indian Woods dates back to at least

1790, and was most likely inhabited by the Nanticoke Indian tribes. Nanticokes also had a sizable encampment about two miles northeast of the village of Clay. For many years, in other parts of what is now Lititz, local Native American tribes utilized the lands that ran along the “Lititz Creek.” Most prominent of these tribes were the Susquehannocks. According to several historical records, these tribes would also often meet at the ‘Big Spring.’ It may surprise many to learn that this location was actually not the head end of the Lititz Springs Park; but rather, it was actually situated behind what is now the Pilgerhaus Apartments.

These arrowheads were found near the vicinty of the Indian Woods in Lititz over 50 years ago.

The natural spring was perched on a slight hill, would flow south to north, and emptied into Carter’s Run which still flows behind the property. This early notion of a special meeting place was further proven when arrowheads were found there by archeologists many years ago. The Indian Woods 100 years ago was a popular recreational area for kids, and was also rented occasionally for the purpose of camping and baseball games. Bird hikes, fox hunts, and trapping were also very common. Over several decades, many arrowheads were fished out of the earth in the vicinity. The San Domingo Creek also passes through this area, running east and west.

By 1973, the area was still known to many, and a bird sanctuary was established there by Lititz residents Bud Garner and Bart Sharp. If you were lucky, perhaps you might even find a small piece of pyrite or “monkey gold” in the stream to take home with you as a precious souvenir to show off to your friends.

For those that knew where to look, one could even see what was left of a small abandoned cave that was near this general area, and was situated on the property of the Bomberger farm.
What remained of the Indian Woods 50 years ago was composed of just a few trees in a cluster in one or two spots. One can only imagine what it was like being a kid decades ago, and exploring these grounds. Imagine meandering along the stream, taking steps in the same spots that our first inhabitants walked.

And while this place is not what it used to be, the general area is not hard to forget. Just think of a certain road nearby…..Arrowhead Drive.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423.

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