Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
It rises in the Appalachian Mountains in central Schuylkill County, north of the Sharp Mountain ridge, approximately 5 mi (8 km) west of Minersville. It flows southwest in a winding course, passing south of Tremont, then cutting south through Second Mountain ridge. It passes through Swatara State Park then turns south to pass through Swatara Gap in the Blue Mountain ridge northwest of Lebanon. After emerging from the ridge it flows southwest, north of Hershey, past Hummelstown and joins the Susquehanna at Middletown. It receives Quittapahilla Creek from the west 3 mi north of Palmyra.
The creek was a significant transportation route in the colonial period of North America up through the middle 19th century. The Union Canal, an early public works project conceived by William Penn in the 1690s and begun in the 1792 to connect the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers, followed the lower course of the river below Quittapahilla Creek. The upper course above Quittapahilla Creek into the mountains provided the route of a feeder to the main canal, as well as providing a route to ship anthracite from the mountains to Philadelphia.
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