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Historic canal house and property to be restored

August 14, 2012

The old historic Delaware and Hudson Canal (D&H) lock house that sits on Route 6 between Hawley and Honesdale—a replica of a former age now gone—will have the facelift it’s been needing for a long time.

The D&H Canal, which connected Honesdale—a coal hub in the 1800s—with Rondout, NY on the Hudson River, delivered barges laden with coal down to New York City. The canal was one of the first major engineering feats of its kind in America.

The two-story building, with its only remaining canal lock, served as an inn for travelers on the canal. The Wayne County Historical Society now owns the house, 10 acres and a mile-length canal bed and towpath.

This is the 11th year in which the society has been slowly working to begin restoration.

“The vision is to create a living history museum,” said Sally Talaga, executive director of the society.

To help restore the old house and canal lock, the society has received one grant and is attempting to complete the work for a second grant from PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (H&MC).

“We have three projects going here,” Talaga said. “First, there’s the $30,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that will pay for the creation of a parking lot with two driveways, a handicap access and a grey stone path to the house. Second, with volunteers, we are going to scrape and paint the house. And third, we have a $183,000 matching grant from PennDOT and the Historical and Museum Commission to work on rehabilitating the foundation and the house.”

There is a kicker, however. In order to get the full grant, the works has to be finished by the end of the year.
“We may not make it,” she said. Already, the granters have given the society two extensions. “The whole process of approvals takes time, and institutions work slowly.”

Talaga said that the society needs more volunteers to work on scraping and painting the house. “We will work every Saturday from 9 a.m. to about 12 noon,” she said. “We welcome volunteers and very much need them.”

Those who wish to volunteer should contact the society’s email, wchs@ptd.net, or call 570/253-3240.