A recent announcement of who won the 2018 ice marker contest on frozen Lake Wallenpaupack, when “Wally Paupack the Snowman” took a plunge, reminds many of when a friendly giant named Reddy Kilowatt did the same thing.
PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - A recent announcement of who won the 2018 ice marker contest on frozen Lake Wallenpaupack, when “Wally Paupack the Snowman” took a plunge, reminds many of when a friendly giant named Reddy Kilowatt did the same thing.
Featuring a smiley yellow light bulb as a head, wall outlets for ears, red lightning a bolt-style body and ears, along with gloves and shoes, this was the beloved symbol and corporate mascot for Pennsylvania Power & Light Inc. (P.P.&L.) for many years. Reddy was created in 1926 by Ashton B. Collins Sr, for the Alabama Power Company. The character was licensed to power companies nationwide to promote electricity as safe and useful. More than 200 power companies made use of Reddy.
Anyone driving by Lake Wallenpaupack in the late 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s in the winter time- or especially visiting the Tafton dike - might have seen a very tall Reddy, way out on the ice, smiling and waving back as if to say, “Welcome to Lake Wallenpaupack in the wintertime!”
A quick scan of bound volumes of archives of The News Eagle revealed information about the Reddy Kilowatt contest. A more thorough search would likely gather more; this story may spark a few more memories and illuminate us further!
Lake Wallenpaupack was formed in 1926 to serve P.P.&L.’s hydroelectric plant. In 1966, P.P.&L. first placed the Reddy Killowatt marker on the ice.
A picture of the 17-foot Reddy Killowatt marker was found on the front page of the Pike Wayne Eagle (as The News Eagle was known) in the February 20, 1970 edition. Standing on the ice and sporting what represented a knit cap, earmuffs and a wind-blown scarf, a real-life person was standing in front and smiling to the camera. She was Jane Davis, who had been picked as “Miss Pike County.”
Lake Wallenpaupack Association
The contest was hosted by the Lake Wallenpaupack Association.
More information was given the year before, when the contest was announced by the Association in the March 5, 1969 issue. Posters and entry blanks had been distributed, inviting the public to guess the date and time for Reddy’s expected dive. Numerous local businesses had announced git certificates for awards.
Most of these businesses are long gone or have changed names. Some included Hawley Department Store, White Beauty View, Poco North Ski Area, Brookside Lumber Company, Craft House, Murray Company, Katz Bros. and many others.
A few others are still doing business to this day, 50 years later. Among them are Teeters’ Furniture, Woodloch, Gumble Bros., and the Pike-Wayne Eagle.
Lake Wallenpaupack Association had an information center and was busy promoting the lake area.
A story in the April 25, 1970 edition listed the committee appointments for the Lake Wallenpaupack Association, appointed by Gerald Ehrhardt, president. He also chaired the Information Center; Eldon Williams, James Marshall and Charles Gillette also served on the committee.
Other committees included Membership, Legislation, Advertising & Publicity; Finance; Highway and Attractions.
Other officers included Albert Eckerdt, vice-president and Joseph VonHake, treasurer. David A. Boeshore was business manager and Cheryl Miller was secretary/receptionist. Mrs. Helen Jung retired as executive secretary that month, after having served several years.
Partnered with Chamber
The Association was a separate organization from the Hawley- Lake Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce.
In 1970, Harry Kiesendahl was named president of the Hawley- Lake Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce, having succeeded Allan Campfield.
First known as the Hawley Chamber, the organization started in 1926, the year P.P. & L. finished the lake. In 1951, the chamber expanded its outreach and added “Lake Wallenpaupack” to its name.
The Chamber’s first Wallenpaupack Information Bureau opened on Route 6 in 1955. The Lake Wallenpaupack Association bought the Bureau in 1956. In succeeding years, the two organizations partnered in promoting the lake area.
Editions from the winter of 1965 discussed plans for a winter carnival on the ice of Lake Wallenpaupack, sponsored by the Association. It was part of a Pocono-wide celebration promoted by the Pocono Mountain Vacation Bureau (today, Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau). It was planned March 4-5-6.
The Chamber also participated, by hosting a casual-dress Carnival Ball held at the White Deer Inn, Hawley (today known as The Settlers Inn).
There was also a Winter Carnival Queen pageant, the queen also known as “Miss Stretchpants.” The Hawley winner would be a finalist in the Poconos’ “Miss Stetchpants of 1965” contest, held at Mount Airy Lodge.
Just when the Association was dissolved and the Chamber took over its responsibilities, has not been discovered.
Lots of memories
A Facebook post asking for memories of the Reddy Kilowatt marker contest brought a flurry of responses, with enough warm memories to melt the ice and give Reddy an early dip. Several are recorded here:
Ron Gillette, who lives in Florida now, supplied a color picture of the Reddy Kilowatt marker, taken by his father, Albert Gillette. Ron said that he appears next to the marker. It was taken around 1970 to 1972, when he was 12 to 14. He said they were ice fishing that day.
“I remember we would enter the contest each year to try to guess the day and time he would take the plunge, but we never were close that I remember,” Ron said. “Thanks for using the photo, my Dad would have been proud to have seen it in the paper.”
Wally Paupack in 1985
The Reddy Kilowatt contest lasted a few years when it was ended. In 1985, however, the Chamber of Commerce restored the contest with an eight for snowman named “Wally Paupack.” Businesses supplied awards. Wally first broke through the ice on March 1, 1985 at 2:40 p.m.
Some years of course, there was no contest since the winter was too warm and there was not enough ice.
Known as the Chamber of the Northern Poconos since 2014, a few years ago the Wally Paupack contest was stopped. In 2018, however, it was renewed. Businesses again donated prizes. The marker was put under video surveillance both for security and to monitor just when it took its plunge. It was anchored in ice with a flashing light (for safety) and a buoy/rope for retrieval.
Wally Paupack the Snowman, which was in view of the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, went swimming on February 27, 2018 at 1:54 p.m.
Debbie Murray Remember it well! One of highlights of winter in the Hawley-Honesdale area!
Irwin Bridget I remember driving up past the lake to see if my guess was right. Always a fun time!
Russ Burnett Remember it well ....I had worked for PPL in summers when a college student back in 70s ...
Tamara Weist He was taken a few times if I remember
Stephen Wilson - I think we had a picture of Ready Kilowatt in our year book 1969 lake echo. (John Nichols supplied a photo of this.)
Bob Cartwright He was 18' tall. York county historical museum has a similar one on display
RON GILLETTE: (3-6-2018)
Hi Peter, that photo was originally taken by my father, Albert Gillette. That’s me standing at the bottom of Reddy. You can enhance the photo if you’d like, it’s from a slide negative from probably around the late 60’s-early 70’s. I remember we would enter the contest each year to try to guess the day and time he would take the plunge, but we never were close that I remember. Thanks for using the photo, my Dad would have been proud to have seen it in the paper. Thanks, Ron
The picture was taken around 1970 to 1972. Ron was somewhere from 12 to 14. They were ice fishing that day.