Cross Overlooks Milford: Can it Stay?

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MILFORD -- A religious symbol that's stood for decades may have to find a new spot to shine during the Easter season.

A Christian cross has been lit every spring in this part of Pike County.

It turns out the cross is currently on public land, and despite calls to light it up, the cross may stay dark this year.

If you look down Main Street in Milford and up to the top of a steep incline, you can barely make out the metal frame of that cross.

It also doubles as a star during the Christmas season and has been lit every season going back to the early 1900s. Now, the property it's on has new owners and it's uncertain if the cross can stay.

The cross is high atop what's known as The Knob overlooking Milford.

Folks say the framework dates back to the 1930s. Lights make out the shape of a star in winter and a cross in the Easter season, but that could change.

"I can't see anything wrong with it. I'm sure there's other people that don't see it that way. They may get offended a little bit because it doesn't represent their religion," said John Galasso of Milford.

Many people in and around Milford are hearing the fate of the Christian cross is up in the air. The Lions Club, which makes sure electricity is running to The Knob and maintains the display, doesn't have a permit yet.

After so many years, the National Park Service took ownership of the property in 2015.

"When I'm driving into town, I always loved seeing the cross, and it's a wonderful sort of light shining down on Milford," said resident Maryann Ruby.

Whether it's the star or the cross, the symbol has been a part of Milford for a long time. The Lions Club was able to get a permit for the star but so far, it's unclear if it can get permission for the cross.

"I have to say, I also felt it was definitely a Christian message. We do have other people that live here," Ruby added.

A petition to allow the cross on The Knob has gained roughly 1,500 signatures online and plenty of people want to see the Milford tradition remain.

"It just is peaceful," said Susan Fontaine of Dingman Township. "I don't understand why anyone would want to take it down. It's been part of this community for a long time and I don't know anyone that complains about it. It's Milford. To take it away would be very sad."

"I'm quite sure it will be missed," said Galasso. "There's people from all over that come here to see that at Easter and Christmas."

A spokesperson for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area says the Lions Club withdrew its permit application for the cross but would not get into specifics.

"Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area did not deny the Milford Lion’s Club’s special use permit application.  The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area staff received a special use permit application on March 3 from the Milford Lion’s Club to erect a lighted cross on the parcel of land known as Milford Knob.  On March 22, the Milford Lion’s Club voluntarily withdrew their special use permit application.  I refer you to the Milford’s Lion’s Club for additional information about the withdrawal of their application.

"The area known as Milford Knob was privately-owned land until prior to October 30, 2015, when it was then transferred to the National Park Service.  Milford Knob is subject to National Park Service rules and policies.

"Special Park Use Permits authorizes activities that benefit an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large: and that require written authorization and management control in order to protect park resources and the public interest."

Kathleen Sandt
Public Affairs Specialist
National Park Service
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

The president of the club tells Newswatch 16 the park service told him if the Lions requested a permit for the cross, it could end up losing any future permits for the star as well.


  • Concerned Christian

    It’s terrible that they want to remove them. All the other religions and the ” Freedom from religion” groups have more rights than christian people. If you don’ t like them, than don’t look at it. It’s unfair to take them down. People are getting a little too petty about things. What about the people who like the star and cross? Obviously it doesn’t matter because they are more worried about ” freedom of religion” groups and all other religions than they are about christian people. This country was founded on Christianity. But as we see that has not lasted! It is a shame. We all need to stop being petty .

      • Concerned Christian

        Sorry 1 word error. If you don’ t like it, don’t look at it. It’s for the people who DO want it. Like I said Christians have NO rights anymore. Shameful!!

  • Tomtom

    I pray all sides work together and come to a fair conclusion to the problem. God bless all involved in situation.

  • You Sound Ridiculous!!

    Just MOVE IT!! The Freedom FROM Religion Groups will make sure it never lights up again. Better yet, REPLACE it with an AMERICAN FLAG!! If Milford folks were so concerned about this “tradition” you so speak of, than someone would have bought the land prior to it being signed over to the Park Service to ensure it would always light up each Holiday Season for whatever you are celebrating.
    Symbols really have no meaning..they mean whatever you believe it does..its an individual belief.
    This is why I’ve decided to look towards Buddhism/Hinduism and get away from Christianity..people are just too harsh…never any religious wars..Everyone is happy in their own skin, the world around is forever is what you make of it.

  • Common Sense

    The land was GIVEN to the Park Service. The Park Service knew of this arrangement prior to accepting this gift… they are going against the community that so generously shared this site with the State.
    Way to go, libbies……any idea why nobody likes you???

    • Libs Are Hate

      Every Single Thing Is being Taken Away From Americans. Osama Bin Laden couldn’t have dreamed up such a mess that he has created now.

  • Don

    that decision to not light the cross offends me. I am offended that i will not see that this Easter season. I win, right ? Oh, that’s right, i have to be part of that religion that blows themselves up. and whine about something, in order for that to work. That same religion that has terrorized the world for decades that our multi-cultural elites and media try to ignore. Great decision. One more tradition gone

  • sj

    Very upsetting that they are thinking about taking this tradition here in Milford away. Just so tired might offend people what about the rest of everyone’s rights that believe in a little of faith.We all should be ashamed of ourselves if we can’t keep traditions. Our country any more is so divided instead of working together and not taking away traditions that we have had here in our country…

      • Silverfish Imperetrix

        Nothing is ‘imposed”. You don’t have to look at it or even acknowledge its presence. You atheists sure spend a lot of time fighting something that doesn’t exist in your minds.

      • Tim

        Imposing?!? Who is imposing their religion on you? Milford is a town with dozens of churches, but not one mosque or Jewish temple (that I know of)… this is something the MAJORITY of our RESIDENCE want. This is a classic example of big government overreach, ignoring of local tradition and culture, as well as political correctness gone too far.

      • JessicaInWilliamsport

        Tim, it is “imposing” by using public land that EVERYONE’S tax dollars pay for. The person who gave it to the park service was likely aware of the unconstitutionality — otherwise he/she would have sold the land or willed that small section in perpetuity to the Lions. Since that didn’t happen, one can only assume that the person didn’t really care one way or the other.

  • K^3

    Keep the cross burning (I mean lit up) all year long. As a “club member”, I can say we’re tired of left wing oppression.

  • WTH

    “I have to say, I also felt it was definitely a Christian message. We do have other people that live here,” Ruby added. Who cares and fine then~THEN NOBODY can celebrate their religion!! “other people” need to get over it.

  • Myssi Cesanek

    What is happening to our country? No longer allowed say the Pledge of Allegiance or celebrate Christmas in schools. We have child molesters/rapists/murderers on every news cast and many more lurking in the night. Taking BINGO away from elderly who have lived their lives thru darker times than this. They paid their taxes and should be able to enjoy their BINGO! People complaining about a CROSS in Milford. Why? I’d like to hand out a mirror to every person in this country because we need to focus on bettering ourselves and adjusting our lives to better serve our communities. Stop taking time to bring others down. Instead reach out a hand and lift someone up!

    • doug francisco

      Yes reach out and help others. That’s great compassion is wonderful. Just stop religion. It’s garbage.

      • Silverfish Imperetrix

        Religion comforts people and gives a moral compass where the law doesn’t. If you haven’t noticed yet, the further we turn away from God the worse society becomes. Worry about your own garbage or you’ll be up to your neck in it before you know it.

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