Water Gap National Recreation Area
Most visitors associate the recreation area with picturesque landscapes, the
scenic Delaware River, and a variety of outdoor activities; only a few know
about the park's connection with philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy.
The park's link to these academic fields is the building now known as
Peirce House, the former residence of America's most eminent philosopher,
Charles Peirce (pronounced Purse) Peirce and his wife Juliette called the
home Arisbe, after one of the Trojan cities in Homer's Iliad. Arisbe is
located just outside Milford and now houses the recreation area's Division
of Research and Resource Planning. Charles Peirce, who was born in 1839,
lived at Arisbe from 1887 until his death in 1914 and did some of his most
important work while living there.
Peirce has been described by some as America's Leonardo
DaVinci. Like DaVinci, Peirce's interests and skills spanned the entire
intellectual world. Peirce produced ground- breaking work in the world of
philosophy with his theory of pragmatism. He was an inventive cartographer,
and made contributions to the disciplines of astronomy, psychology, logic,
chemistry, meteorology, and geodesy (mapping the earth's surface.) As if
his achievements in science and philosophy were not sufficient, Peirce
also was an actor and wrote short stories and plays.