Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River: Zane Grey Museum


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The National Park Service manages the stretch of the Delaware from Hancock to Sparrowbush, NY…about 73 miles…under the Wild and Scenic River System. The Upper Delaware is considered recreational, rather than wild, since the park has some means to control the flow of the water.


I attended a meet-up here with the National Park Travelers Club for a ranger-guided tour of the area. After touring Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct with the ranger (see that post here), our group headed over to the Zane Grey Museum, about a quarter-mile from the bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the river.


Zane Grey, actually born Pearl Grey because of his mother’s fixation with the British Royals (Pearl Grey was the official mourning color that year in England,) is considered the Father of the Western Novel.


He played baseball as a young man which earned him a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania’s dentistry school. He established a dental practice in NYC in 1899, but his enthusiasm for fly-fishing and the encouragement of his wife Dolly led him to move to his farmhouse in Lackawaxen, PA to pursue writing as a profession.


He was a prolific writer, having written over 100 novels in his lifetime. His most noted work was Riders of the Purple Sage, published in 1912. His writing was heavily influenced by his travels to the Western states, the first trip having been his honeymoon to the Grand Canyon.


Grey moved his family to California in 1918, where he worked with the developing motion picture industry. Many early films were based on his novels and birthed the Western genre.


After Zane Grey’s death, his wife sold the Lackawaxen home to a family friend.


For 25 years, she ran it as the Zane Grey Inn and then later converted it to a museum showcasing Zane Grey memorabilia.


In 1989, the museum was purchased by the NPS and included in the Upper Delaware unit.


Location: Lackawaxen, PA

Designation: National Scenic & Recreational River

Date designated or established: 1978 river, 1989 museum

Date of my visit: 7/18/2018

The two rangers stationed in the Zane Grey Museum were nice enough to provide a wide array of stamps for our National Park Passports and take a group photo for us. (I’m on the right, end of the second row in the light blue shirt, behind the lady with the red shirt.)