Wind Gap

Wind Gap

Wind Gap, the 500-foot notch in the Appalachian Mountains, and its namesake town clinging to the mountainside would be a perfect setting for a movie. Perched at 755 feet above sea level it lies on a path once traveled by Indians between their ancient villages along the Susquehanna River and those at the Falls of the Delaware.

Today, the Borough of Wind Gap occupies about one-and-a quarter square miles and is home to more than 2,900 people. Many of them commute to New York City or to major cities in the Lehigh Valley and New Jersey.

Wind Gap is a pleasant town, always breezy and peaceful, where one day mimics another for the most part. But it was not always that way.

Part of that old Indian path is called Sullivan Trail, in honor of Revolutionary War Gen. John Sullivan who led an expedition against the Iroquois who had aligned themselves with the British.

Records show Sullivan and his men camped at Wind Gap the night of June 18, 1779, on their way to avenge a Wyoming Valley massacre.

Indian raids were not uncommon during those early years. In fact, a raid is one of the earliest events recorded in Wind Gap’s history. A band of Iroquois kidnapped a woman and her two sons on Sept. 15, 1757. They sold the woman to a Frenchman from Canada who released her three years later to return to Wind Gap. Her sons were not seen again.

Called “The Gateway to the Poconos,” Wind Gap has always been a hub for transportation. A stone building still standing at the northern end of town once housed a toll gate on the turnpike running between Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. In 1878, a railroad line from Bethlehem to Wind Gap opened, connecting the Slate Belt to the steel-making center.

Wind Gap was first settled by the Dutch in 1740. Soon a larger band of Germans arrived and they called the settlement Die Wind Kapf. What had once been a collection of five hamlets grew into one town in the 1870s as the slate mines drew Welsh miners and later Italian immigrants. Residents voted to leave Plainfield Township and the town officially became a borough in 1893.

Borough Council President George Hinton recalls one big 20th century event. It was what one newspaper at the time amusingly termed “the ultimate withdrawal and deposit.” Hinton said a local bank branch wanted to move “to a more desirable location in town,” but the bankers liked the building in which they operated so they hired a team of Amish workers to supervise the 300-ton move to the preferred site. Townspeople turned out to watch.

Last December in a less dramatic move, the borough opened its new office on the edge of town in a building once owned by a construction company. The Wind Gap Fire Co. and the ambulance squad share the facility. Louise Firestone, borough administrator, said the consolidation of services “just makes sense.”

Pride of the town is the 25-acre Wind Gap Park with its tennis and basketball courts, ball field, playground, kiddie area and picnic pavilions. Local bands offer concerts at a bandstand on summer evenings.


The popular Wind Gap Car Show draws more than 500 cars every year. The 32nd Annual Cruise to the Gap is planned for Sunday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wind Gap Park, 400 South Lehigh Street.

The Gap Theatre at 47 Broadway is a popular place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – and locals claim its popcorn is “the best.” Prices are set for family fun at a bargain $7 for adults, $5 for children
and seniors.

The Indoor Flea Market at 316 North Broadway is open only on weekends and draws crowds.

A visit to Wolf Rocks is a must for hikers. They can reach the Appalachian Trail from a small parking area in Fox Gap on Route 191 about 4 miles south of Route 611. A 3.2 mile round-trip will lead hikers to Wolf Rocks for great views and one of the rockiest sections of the 2,160-mile trail.

For those who prefer indoor climbing, there’s fun to be had at North Summit Climbing Gym on Bushkill Plaza Lane, just south of Wind Gap. Harnesses and climbing shoes can be rented there and specials are offered for the military, college students and children.


Detzi’s Tavern is a favorite dining place for locals. They’ve been going there since 1960 when Mary and LeRoy Detzi opened it.  It’s now owned by the couple’s triplet sons, John, Joe and Jeff. Over the years diners have included Ed Rendell, Michael and Mario Andretti, Tommy Lasorda, Yogi Berra and many others from the sports world. The triplets were well-known local athletes and the décor is a reflection of that. Stars on the extensive menu are Detzi’s cheesesteaks and burgers.

Cafe on Broadway is a favorite place for luncheon. It’s tucked away in a corner of the Indoor Flea Market. Unlike the market, the café is open during the week and residents say it’s a nice place to grab a great salad or sandwich.

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