History of Blue Spruce Park

For many years damage to locomotives by acid mine water was one of the railroad's largest expenses. The diluted sulfuric acid ate through the locomotive boilers and shortened their working lifespan. In an effort to cut these expenses railroads began purchasing large quantities of land to protect watersheds for pure sources of water. This is why Cummins Dam was built. Cummins Dam (also known locally as Cummings Dam with a "g") was constructed in 1908 and enlarged in 1912. The dam was built by the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway and was named after an early landowner, J.D. Cummins.

An historical marker honoring Bernice (Shiner) Gera is located at Blue Spruce Park near the park ball field. A native of nearby Ernest, PA, Gera made baseball history as the first female umpire in the sport. Barred by minor league baseball for five years, Gera won a landmark lawsuit allowing her to work as an umpire. Gera's one and only game as a professional umpire took place June 24, 1972 in a New York-Pennsylvania League game in Geneva, New York. Her groundbreaking achievement thrust her into the national spotlight and ultimately opened doors not only for other women, but also for men previously denied umpiring opportunities because of arbitrary restrictions. More information about Bernice Gera's baseball career is available by contacting the parks office. An extensive collection of information is also maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York where Gera's photograph, pink whisk broom, and complete umpire uniform are on display. Her baseball trading card is shown here.