September 30, 2022
(Photos and memories from September 12, 2013)
Honesdale, Pennsylvania, has been a working man’s town for 200 years — that’s how long they’ve been mining anthracite coal around here. It looks a little like Kentucky because the town’s center is nestled in a valley along a stream surrounded by steep Appalachian hillsides.
Overlooking Honesdale is Irving Cliff, named for writer Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”), who loved the spot.
In 1883, the Irving Cliff Hotel was built at the summit but was destroyed by fire in 1889. It was not rebuilt. In its place, the town constructed a 30-foot “Winter Star,” which shines at night over the city. Until recently, the star was replaced by a cross during the 40 days of Lent, but this practice was discontinued after a First Amendment challenge.
More photos of the Lackawaxen River as it flows through Honesdale:
Honesdale is often cited as the “birthplace of American railroading” because it was the home of the first commercial steam locomotive run on rails. In 1829, a locomotive named the Stourbridge Lion rolled down some newly built railroad tracks here, testing whether a steam engine railway could haul coal from the Honesdale’s mines down to the Delaware and Hudson Canal, connecting to the town of Kingston, New York, and New York City. The system worked very well.
Below are two historical signs explaining the significance of the Stourbridge Lion and the Delaware & Hudson Canal.
Honesdale was laid out in 1826 around two parallel streets: Main Street and Church Street. Obviously, Main Street was meant for commerce, while Church Street was reserved for quieter pursuits. Even today, most businesses occupy lots on Main Street, while over eight different church buildings stand up and down Church Street.
Here are some of the church buildings that line Church Street in Honesdale. Most of the major Protestant denominations are represented.
Honesdale’s Catholic Church is not on Church Street but is ne. This larger church replaces an older Catholic church that once graced Church Street.
This is Honesdale’s Main Street business district, including the police department, and the Honesdale National Bank building, Hotel Wayne, and the Limerick Irish pub:
Honesdale’s large downtown park is along the center of Church Street. It includes a fountain, shade trees, grassy areas for dogs to play, and a tall statue honoring Wayne County’s contribution to the Union victory in the Civil War.
The 1880 Wayne County Courthouse lies behind the town park. This is a two-story structure built of red brick.
Below: Displays hanging inside the Wayne County Courthouse, including a portrait of Revolutionary War General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, for whom the county was named.
A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.
All photos were taken by the author on September 12, 2013
My lifetime hobby is traveling to all of America’s county courthouses, and each month I post about a visit to a scenic or interesting county seat. It’s a hobby, and donations are greatly appreciated to help cover my costs.
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