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By the Way: Where all the bodies are buried

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Kevin Kline has lived in Upper Bucks all his life – and thanks to his late father – knows where all the bodies are buried – literally.

But he also rejoices in the fabulous experience of sharing his world with the animals and birds at his home on top of the Delaware Palisades, the 500-foot tall rock formation that lines the river as it winds through Durham, Nockamixon and Bridgeton townships. He thinks there was an Indian village up above the cliffs, and a burial ground.

Kevin grew up in Durham. When he was a little boy, he said, during walks with his late father, his dad would point to a field and say, “There’s a man buried over there,” or “Indian graves are beyond that tree.”

Aside from hearing the tales of the departed, he found the artifacts left behind by those long gone – Lenni Lenape arrow heads, spears and tools, surely items to fulfill a little boy’s dreams and stoke his imagination. The Native Americans seemed very real to him as he searched for arrowheads around the Village of Durham and at what is believed to be the site of an Indian village on the river flats just off the intersection of routes 611 and 32. He also found pottery shards and a rock perfectly shaped to a hand. He believes it was used to grind grain.

Another interesting find in the woods was an ancient pair of tongs, handsome in their simplicity and probably handmade by a blacksmith.

The proud son, who has become a history buff, said. “My dad knew it all. I wish now I had pressed him for more information. His father, Harry Kline, was 93 when he died several years ago, and as a lifelong resident of Durham Township, was a walking record of local history, telling the stories that offer a second life to a community years later. Like many residents he had worked for a thriving Bethlehem Steel and Riegel Paper Co., both now gone.

Kevin and his friends played in the sand pits near the paper company’s water treatment plant. And as teenagers, despite being forbidden to do it, they explored the old mines that honeycomb the Durham hills.

He also recalls joining the teen-agers descending onto a parking lot in Riegelsville Friday and Saturday nights. “They came from all over—Easton, Hellertown, Tinicum. It was the place to be,” he said.

Kevin graduated from Palisades High in 1975. He’s had a varied life, once worked in the kitchen at the old Cascade Lodge, just brought back to life as the fabulous Durham Springs. He was a surveyor for a time and was groundskeeper at the old Camp Kirby, a Lions camp for deaf children. He drives a delivery van now for a machine shop as far as Philadelphia and into New Jersey, he said.

Sitting over a cup of coffee at Someday Café on Route 611, he gazed across the highway to the Little farm, a part of the old Whippany Paper Co. property, just south of the Riegelsville Branch of Penn Community Bank. “I grew up on that farm and my father plowed those fields,” Kevin said.

Kevin enjoys a simple life and certainly one close to nature. “No computer, no TV,” he confessed. He spends his spare time building rifles. “I have a friend who’s a master builder,” he said. “He started this rifle for me. I think I paid him with a cord of firewood and then I finished it.” It’s a handsome weapon made of curly maple with a 36-inch barrel.

Kevin won’t be using that on the furred and feathered friends he loves, though. He said, “I’ve seen bears and foxes and eagles. I was relaxing in a lawn chair one day and a bear walked right past my feet. They have bad eyesight, you know, and he probably didn’t realize I was there until he passed.”

He knows the life cycles of the owls and eagles that roost close to his log cabin and occasionally he’ll wander to the cliff face in the morning to watch the vultures spreading their wings to dry them out atop the tall electric tower. “It’s an amazing sight,” said this Upper Bucks original.

kathrynfclark@verizon.net


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