Once more her strained gaze sought the sage-slopes. Jane Withersteen loved that wild and purple wilderness. In times of sorrow it had been her strength, in happiness its beauty was her continual delight. In her extremity she found herself murmuring, ‘Whence cometh my help!’ It was a prayer, as if forth from those lonely purple reaches and walls of red and clefts of blue might ride a fearless man, neither creed-bound nor creed-mad, who would hold up a restraining hand in the faces of her ruthless people (Riders of the Purple Sage).
These sweeping words were penned by Zane Grey – trained dentist, semi-professional baseball player, prolific author, and ultimately the father of the modern western story. Although Grey left this Earth in 1939, his epic stories and his extravagant screenplays and serials still enrapture readers today!
Grey’s homestead that he established with his wife, Dolly, and his children was built right on the banks of the Delaware River and now houses a vast collection of his writing, photographs, and various mementos from his many travels. The Zane Grey Museum is only thirty minutes from The Settlers Inn and beautifully complements anyone’s visit to the Pocono Mountains and the Delaware River valley.
Zane Grey was born in 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio. While living in New York, the Zane and his brother, R.C., often met in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania for some outdoor rest and relaxation. While there, Grey met Lina Elise Roth, aka Dolly, and the two of them eventually wed. The newlyweds first moved into an old farmhouse in Lackawaxen and then into the home that had originally been built for Grey’s brother, R.C. There, the young family prospered and the Greys’ three children were born. Encouraged by Dolly and inspired by the incredible beauty that surrounded them, Grey turned to writing for his livelihood while living in Lackawaxen. His first published work was entitled “A Day on the Delaware” and from that point, his writing flourished as did his popularity.
His penchant for the outdoors and his ability to transport his readers through vivid description was the perfect recipe for writing adventure stories and tales of faraway lands. In order to do so, Grey traveled extensively and always remained an avid outdoorsman. He would draw upon his own experiences to make his stories and descriptions more lifelike and impressive. This process obviously worked because Grey then wrote the very popular “The Heritage of the Desert” and his most popular work, “Riders of the Purple Sage”.
Eventually, Grey’s adventures took his family permanently to the west coast where he worked on screenplays for movies and scripts for television shows. The couple kept their Lackawaxen home and visited it on occasion.
During Zane’s last visit to their Lackawaxen homestead in 1929, Grey wrote Dolly,
I was overcome with the beauty, the sadness, the loneliness, the desertedness of it. Oh, Dolly, the rooms are haunted. Those are our spirits there. I thrilled and I wept. I recalled everything. I felt the cold of the old cottage. …I heard Romer’s tiny wail, I heard the wind, the river… They are a first and great part of our lives. Love, struggle, work, children – all came to us there. (http://www.nps.gov/upde/historyculture/zanegrey.htm)
The home now stands as a testament and memorial to the creativity and adventurous spirit of Zane Grey. Here at The Settlers Inn, we know that a visit to the Zane Grey Museum will enhance and enrich your stay in our part of America.