It is a sad necessity, due to the COVID-19 virus, that the annual Curwensville Days celebration in Irvin Park will not take place this year.
Many middle-aged and beyond Curwensville natives, though, can take solace in their good memories of swimming at the Pee Wee’s nest, a spot along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, next to Irvin Park.
Irvin Park is named for Colonels Edward and John Irvin, both prominent Civil War veterans and businessmen who accelerated Curwensville’s development as a community. They donated the park land that still bears their name to this day.
Generations of Curwensville’s kids and adults swam at the Pee Wee’s nest. As the summer temperatures and humidity levels rose, the more crowded the park became. The place would be packed on a hot weekend afternoon!
Curwensville was a lumber and rafting town. Remnants of that early vital industry were still present on the river at Irvin Park when the pair of 1930 photos shown was taken.
Platforms, built of logs, and connected by heavy chains, served as anchors and barriers, to hold back logs, until the spring floods came to float them eastward, through town, to sawmills.
As a result, the water flow on south side of the river became channeled into a sluice that rapidly moved the logs along to the Irvin sawmills that once stood adjacent to the today’s Golden Tide Football Field.
The log platforms shown remained for years and made a fine jumping off spot for kids to plunge into the water.
If anything, Pee Wee’s Nest is a unique name for a swimming area. One story claims that the name came the small (pee wee) chirping birds who nested there. Another says that there was a nearby bar of the same name.
The Pee Wee’s Nest was all but abandoned by the late 1960’s. The magnificent Curwensville Dam was completed then and offered safe summer swimming.
Issues of contaminated water infiltration, below the dam, and the rising liability insurance costs doomed the Pee West to a time gone by.
A note from the author Dave Wulderk: I’d like to give thanks and appreciation to David McNaul and Duane Test, both life-long residents of Curwensville, for information presented in this story.