The town of Honesdale was begun in 1826 by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. It was to be the terminus of a canal designed to carry coal by barge to the Hudson River and on to the New York City market. In just a few years an area of swamp and hemlock forest became a busy canal port. The two parcels of land on which the town was sited met in an east-west line across the center of the public square. The borough was incorporated in 1831. The land for the park was donated by Jason Torrey and by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in 1834. A wooden fence enclosed the square for many years. "The Wayne County Herald" of October 4, 1848 notes that "the crowd gathered for the hanging of Haris Bell, clambered on and collapsed the wooded park fence." In the 1850s the local militia held occasional military reviews in the park. The name change from public square to Central Park seems to have occurred during this period. [center]The Fountain in the Park[/center] The fountain in Central Park was built in commemoration of our nation's centennial. The Ladies Monumental Association that had raised funds for the Civil War Memorial statue reorganized in 1876 as the Ladies Centennial Fountain Association. For the next three years the women asked Wayne County residents for $1.00 subscriptions, sold food and sponsored plays and lectures. They finally raised the required $1,100. The fountain was formally presented to "the Common Council for the village" on July 3, 1879. A parade and festival celebrated the event. Cut into the stonework of the fountain are the words: [pre]1776 Memorial 1876[/pre] In 1993 the Zabady family of Ellen Memorial Health Care Facility gave a new copper fountain designed to fit into the original stonework. The gift was a memorial to Margaret E. and Toffy G. Zabady. [center]The Monument in the Park[/center] At the beginning of the Civil War a group of local women formed the Soldiers' Aid Society to make uniforms for departing volunteers and to sew hospital supplies. In May of 1865 the women proposed that a monument he built in Glen Dyberry Cemetery to honor the war dead. By June of that year the group had reorganized as the Ladies Monumental Association of Wayne County and had resolved to raise funds for a monument to "our fallen heroes." A site was chosen in Central Park and a statue of a Union soldier in the position of old-time parade rest was chosen. The statue was made of Quincy marble and the pedestal faced with bronze tablets hearing the names of the 353 Wayne County men who had died of wounds or disease during the conflict. The monument was one of the first Civil War memorials erected in the state and was dedicated with appropriate ceremony in 1869 by Pennsylvania Governor John W. Geary. It reads: [pre] 1869 THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY THE LADIES MONUMENTAL ASSOCIATION OF WANE COUNTY TO THE MEMORY OF OUR DEAD WHO FELL "THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE. AND FOR THE PEOPLE, SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH"
This page was one month of the calendar and was made possible through the Wayne County Commissioners and a Tourism Promotion Committee’s Tourism Grant.