George Kuntz Tells How "Tippetts" Got Its Name
by Jack Yalch
(The Valley Gazette, March 1973)
Did you ever wonder how the Tippetts Swamp in Hauto, perhaps the most popular fishing and ice skating spot in our area, got its name?
Well, according to Mr. George Kuntz, one of Lansford's most keen-witted senior citizens and recognized authority on Panther Valley history, the Tippetts is so called after Bill Tippett, who was once custodian of the Hauto Post Office and also a telegraph operator at the old Hauto Central R.R. station.
"Remember now, I'm talking around 1915," George said, as he continued to recap Hauto's past.
In addition to his telegraphing and postal duties, Bill Tippett rented rowboats out to fishermen or joyriders on the Tippetts at the rate of 25 cents an hour and he also sold candy in the Hauto station, George Kuntz recalled.
As he closed his eyes a moment, deep in thought, a picture from the past formed in his memory and George described the old station and the old post office as if they were still there today.
The inside dimensions of the little station were 12 by 14 feet and it was heated by a pot-belly stove. The telegraph call letters that signaled the operator were HU. George was learning the telegraph trade in his younger days and at 77 he still tapped the code out with his fingertips on the bar at Jones's Tavern.
Tippett operated the post office out of his home located near the Hauto side of the Number 7 tunnel, where a little pump house now stands. George said the house burned down and the postal service was turned over to the Nesquehoning Post Office. "They brought the mail up to Hauto on horse and buggy," George remembered.
"My sister, Mary Kuntz Perko, worked in the Hauto Post Office for $3 a day," he said smiling, adding "What do you think about that?"
Next, George told about night ice skating on the Tippetts when he was just a youngster. "The ice used to get 12 inches thick and at night we would burn up one or two of the dead trees in the swamp to give us light."
By the way, George concluded, "Tippett had a wooden leg. Some guys used to say he lost it drilling the Number 7 tunnel through the mountain and other fellas said the accident happened somewhere around the old Switchback. I don't know for sure."
There you have it. The birth of the Tippetts swamp--compliments of George Kuntz.