Mt Pisgah Altare In Beaver Springs, Pa.
On a clear day, Cryan said you can see "about 8 counties from here".
It was Gordon's idea to forgo a contractor and bring in local residents to construct the site. This was no easy task, as Cryan wanted it built in Old Testament form, as described in Deuteronomy 27:4-7. That means no iron tools were to be used, and that it was to be built of stones.
Gordon enlisted Wilmer Shank, a man he knew to be good at working with concrete, to build the altar. Shank had no former experience working with mountain stone, but took on the challenge. Construction took place from May to October 1979 and the altar was dedicated in June of 1980. The total cost was $10,000.
Over the years, Cryran has planted more than a million trees on the property. In 1981 he was named Pennsylvania Tree Farmer Of The Year, for his efforts here.
"I wanted to make this look nice, so in 1969 I planted over 300,000 trees, and since then I have over 1 million trees on this property." he said.
Cryan left it to Gordon to name the site, the only stipulation being that Cryans name could not be included in the title. Mount Pisgah is also the name of a mountain ridge of ancient Moab, now in Jordan, northeast of the Dead Sea. Deuteronomy 34:1-3 tells us that it was from it's summit that Moses viewed the Promised Land.
"I bought the land with the intention of building this spot so people would have a place to come on Easter Sunday" Cryan was quoted as saying. "I had really hoped more religious services would be held here though." Cryan never envisioned the site as a place for weddings, but his wife did, and she was correct - over 700 weddings have been held there.
From 2006-2010 the site had many problems with vandalism, which were costly to fix. But Cryan continued to remove the graffiti, and keep the property open to the public.
The land, enrolled in a federal land trust prior to 2014, but continued to be owned and maintained by Cryan. He opens the area to hunters, hikers, nature lovers and for hundreds of weddings and religious services. Reservations for the altar are now handled through the Beaver County Fair Association.
A 2014 article in the Sunbury Daily Item tells of Cryan's fight to have the land removed from the county tax rolls. At the time the article was written, he paid over $8,000 a year in taxes, split between Snyder County, the Midd-West School District, and Spring and West Beaver townships.