There is a large black granite rock hidden down by the lake at Delmont Scout Reservation with an inscription on it known to many older scouters as Wilbur Rock. All that was really known about this rock is that Dr. Bertram K. Wilbur, a chocolate maker, dedicated the rock to his mother, Mrs. Harriet Lawrence Wilbur.
The inscription on the rock reads:
“THE HARRIET LAWRENCE WILBUR MEMORIAL TRACT DEDICATED FOR NOBLE IDEALS AND STRONG LIVES TO THE BOY SCOUTS OF DELAWARE AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES BY HER SON BERTRAM K. WILBUR. 8-3-18”
According to Michael G. Comfort from his book “A Whale Boat on the Unami”, Dr. Bertram Wilbur was the chairman of the Council Camping Committee. He purchased two tracts of land the council had been renting for the previous two years, 1916-1917, as a memorial to his mother. Delmont was formally dedicated on July 25, 1918.
“It is not a house made with hands but just an open space among the trees, walled by huge boulders and roofed with leafy canopies. The great rocks speak of unchanging eternities; the tall trees, arching high overhead, tell of that thin veil that hides from our eyes those unseen things above; ferns and wild green things speak of youth and spring and joyousness, the faint murmur of the rill nearby or the deeper muffled sound of the waterfall tells of the continuation of things, the ongoing events that make the outlook of youth so full of confidence and satisfaction. B. K. Wilbur
This was an entry in the Pennsylvania Society of New York Yearbook 1919:
Mrs. Harriet Lawrence Wilbur Memorial. Chapel of the great spirit for the Boy Scouts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, the gift of Dr. B. K. Wilbur (member of Pennsylvania Society) in memory of his mother, dedicated by the Reverend Thomas J. Garland (Chaplain of the Pennsylvania Society) August 3rd. The Chapel is an open air space lending itself to the holding of out of door services, not a building.
This is a short history of Wilbur Chocolate:
- 1865 Henry Oscar Wilbur owns a hardware and stove business in Vineland, NJ.
- He partners with Samuel Croft to form Croft, Wilbur and Company in Philadelphia making molasses and hard candies.
- They expanded into chocolates with a second location in Philadelphia, PA.
- 1884 the two companies split, H. O. Wilbur and his sons, William and Harry name this new venture: H.O. Wilbur & Sons Co.
- Business booms and they move to a third location in Philadelphia. At age 59 H. O. Wilbur retires, passing on responsibility to his two sons.
- 1894 The company develops a process for making chocolate into a solid shape that resembles a flower bud, the bottom of the candy is molded into a flower shape with the letters W-I-L-B-U-R embossed in each petal. They call it the Wilbur bud which pre-dates the Hershey Kiss by 14 years.
- 1900 Harry dies, a third brother Bertram K. a doctor working in Alaska returns to Philadelphia and assumes supervision of the chocolate plant.
- The Wilbur family continues control of the company until 1926. In 1930 all manufacturing operations are consolidated in Lititz, PA. The firm has changed ownership many times since.
A photo from the 1920’s says it was called “Dedication Rock”, long gone are the days when church services were held at this place. All I can say is go there, see it for yourself and you will say “wow” just like I did 40 years ago when my scout buddies and I “discovered” it. This project was very fulfilling to me, the leaders and boys of Boy Scout Troop 129, Pottstown, PA.
We held a rededication ceremony on Saturday, June 1, 2014 complete with prayers being made, a flag lowering and bugle. Thank you John Bickel, Camp Musser Program Director, for your help and for unveiling the rock once again to its former glory. I got goose bumps!