While humming lyrics such as “Over the river and through the woods,” some holiday travelers might expect to spy a storybook entrance such as this one, which is carved into a hillside in the southwestern part of the Valley. Swirling theories abound regarding the origin of this diminutive doorway. Some think it was the entrance to a freshwater spring. A 1910 postcard of the entryway seems to support this explanation. The photo includes the following poem, which was written in stone and placed above the passageway: ’O Traveller Stay thy Weary feet/Drink of This fountain cool and sweet/It Flows for man and beast the same/Then go thy way remembering Still/The well beneath the hill. Others believe the opening led to a mine hole where millstones were found — and “fool’s gold” could be sought. (Hint: Local residents refer to the site as the Mine Hole.)
There are, however, two things about the site that we know for sure: During the 18th century, it was owned by one John Moore, an enterprising free black man whose property also included a sawmill, a gristmill, and a woolen carding mill. It is perhaps not all that surprising, then, that the doorway is located in an area that subsequently became a station stop on the Underground Railroad.
Do you think you know in which Valley town this petite portal can be found? If you do, send us your answer as a comment in the space below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck.