The Tower

The views from the top of the “Rapunzel Tower” on a clear day are awesome; portions of Lebanon, Lancaster, Berks, Dauphin and York counties lay about. For many, a contrapuntal epiphany occurs when from the midst of an environmental bliss, the towers and billowing condensation of Three Mile Island (with all its connotations and historical baggage) come to sight.

The vantage point also permits a differing perspective on nature-watching.

Getting to the top is an adventure beloved of kids of all ages. There are two separate and mirror-image access columns; presumably the intention was for one to be ‘up’, the other ‘down’, but being unmarked one relies on a de facto standard evolving on busy days. Each column is a succession of short vertical steel ladders (approx. 8 feet each) between small landings, until one reaches a small metal hut in the center of the observation deck. An enclosing ‘birdcage’ protects visitors from, well, themselves it seems. Apparently it was constructed in response to liability issues arising from rappellers, bungee-jumpers and such. Oh, well.

Although architecturally hardly very pretty, the tower is and has been for about 50 years (1954) continually functional. A fifteen-foot diameter, 66 foot high tube of reinforced concrete, one could be forgiven for believing it was designed to withstand a nearby nuclear blast; in fact, far worse adversaries than the Soviets were in mind: Vandals. In a wry variation on “three little piggies”, over the years a variety of watch-towers – including a residence almost as tall as the existing tower – were erected at Mr. Schock’s behest, but ultimately the wolves huffed, puffed, wrecked or torched them. This one has defied their best efforts to date.

Postscript: The text of this section is borrowed from an abandoned Friends of Governor Dick website from 2002; minor formatting and editing has been added. We would love to know who penned these words, if you recognize them, please use the contact form to reach out.