WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Hiawatha Paddle-Wheel riverboat, also known as the Queen of the Susquehanna, is one of the most popular attractions in central Pennsylvania.
The west branch of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport is home to the Hiawatha a boat from a by-gone era, that you don’t see every day unless you live near it in Williamsport.
From May to October, you can cruise up and down part of the west branch of the Susquehanna River.
“Originally the boat was built by the community and the community backed it and fundraised for it. It is our 40th season,” said Seasonal Boat Operations Manager, Captain Michael Strunk.
Passengers will hear a history lesson along the way… Of how the river and the lumber industry helped build early America.
“It’s a good way to experience the valley, see the sights, learn about the history of the town, the industry, and the role that it played in our nation’s history. It’s really been a nice time,” said Darren Crisman of Philadelphia.
“Sometimes you think about the history of the land too, what it was like back in the day for some of these people living in these mountains, it is beautiful,” said Eileen Sullivan of Philadelphia.
The logging industry was a big employer back in the day, pieces of that past can be seen along the river.
“Back in the 1800s the logging industry made Williamsport the logging capital of the world and the river played a big part of that because it had the Susquehanna Boom. Which was a seven-mile stretch of logs they could contain and sort for the 15 sawmills that were here,” said Captain Strunk.
This region was also part of the underground railroad land traveled by freedom fighters is now dotted by river lots providing harbor for boats both fast and slow.
The crew puts a passenger to work, helping to secure the Hiawatha to the dock at Susquehanna state park if you missed the early cruise don’t worry your ship will come in.
Just catch the next ride aboard the Hiawatha paddlewheel riverboat in Williamsport.