December 17 2004

Press Release: 150th Anniversary Fund Raising Luncheon

On Sunday, October 3rd, starting at 00 PM a grand old Wayne County building will celebrate its 150th birthday with a gourmet luncheon, and tour to benefit one of the owners’ favorite non-profit projects. The Delaware & Hudson Canal Company’s former office, at 720 Hudson Street, Hawley, will be the site of a sit down gourmet luncheon of balsamic and oregano roast chicken or sautéed tilapia with tomatoes, onions and thyme; roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips; fancy green with sweet and spicy beets and goat cheese. Dessert is a choice between Palm Beach brownie or tart tarin (caramelized apple tart. The dinner includes wine, soft drinks, and dessert beverage all for $35 per person. Proceed from this benefit will go toward the Wayne County Historical Society’s Towpath to Trail project, the creation of a 16-acre canal park and living history museum one mile west of Hawley on Rt. 6.

The building has a rich history. In the early 1850s the Pennsylvania Coal Company Gravity Railroad from Port Griffith was completed. It was then necessary for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Co. to have a weigh lock in Hawley. The D&H building was constructed in 1854 as an office for the Canal Company Paymaster. The clapboard structure was later transferred to the Erie Railroad and sold in 1949 to Harold and Grace Finch. During the 1980s and 1990s there were several owners. Alan Kehoe and Thomas Colbert, who bought the property in 1997, have carefully restored the house and planted new gardens.

Constructed on a steep hillside overlooking Lock 30 and the Weigh Lock, the office was surrounded by the Lockkeeper’s house, the harness shop, and the mule barn. Old stonewalls between the house and the canal bed are reminders of its original use.

The house is a smaller version of the D&H Canal Co. Office in Honesdale that is now the home of the Wayne County Historical Society main museum and research library. Paneled doors lead into a center hallway with a dining room on the left. It is fourteen feet in width, length, and height, a beautifully proportioned space. The large living room is across the hall. The windows, oriented to the east, south and west, result in a house full of light. An enclosed porch across the back of the building overlooks the Lackawaxen River and Hawley. Gardens and hand-dug ponds enhance the scene. A former outbuilding is now a garden house.

The building adjoining was one the Max A. Munzel Knitting Company factory and is now Tom Colbert’s art studio. It glows with his bright canvases of local scenes. The canal and the railroad are gone, but the proud owners of this historic building have adapted it beautifully to the new century.

Anyone who enjoys old buildings, seasonal floral decorations, local history, delicious food or supporting a local non-profit’s project should send their check for $35.00 per person to WCHS, 810 Main Street, Honesdale, Pa. 18431. Please include you entrée and dessert selections. Tickets can also be obtained at that address Wednesday through Saturday, 00 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday noon to 00 pm, and at the Looking Glass Gallery, 229 Main Avenue, Hawley before Wednesday September 29th. Seating is limited. Call 253-3240 if you have any questions.