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Irving Cliff & Gibbons Memorial Park

Off Cliff Street, Gibbons Park Road. Honesdale In 1841 a group of prominent New York City businessmen, its mayor Philip Hone, and author Washington Irving traveled by canal boat from Rondout, New York, to Honesdale. The large rock cliff 300 feet above the town so impressed Washington Irving that he deemed it necessary to climb to its summit. Later Philip Hone named the Cliff after his friend. In 1883 John Alden Wood began constructing a summer hotel on the summit of Irving Cliff. The four-story high, castellated-style building included elevator service. All 125 bedrooms had private bathrooms. Construction was completed in 1885. The Irving Cliff Hotel was scheduled to open on June 22. 1889, but burned to the ground the evening of May 28, 1889. The cause of the fire was never determined. Jennie Brownscombe (1850-1936). a well-known local artist, was born in a farmhouse just east of Irving Cliff. During World War II the local Pennsylvania Reserve Defense Corps Auxiliary used the Cliff for one of its training sites. Chiseled into the rocks and near the Cliff we find names and dates that relate to the past: H W B LANDIN 1854, Wm H HAM 1850, H F TORREY 1860, C E BEACH APR 7 1860, A P THOMPSON 1850, S WEED 1850, T A BAKER, and others. The Christmas and Easter holidays are commemorated each year with the illumination of a star or cross on the pinnacle of Irving Cliff. In 1955 Irving Cliff became the Gibbons Memorial Park. Frances Haag Gibbons gave the property to the people of Honesdale in memory of her husband Austin Flint Gibbons and his parents Dr. and Mrs. Peter S. Gibbons. No local landmark has been visited more than has Irving Cliff. For the past 160 years "going up to the Cliff." has held special meaning to many people - young and old alike.

Text by Marge Hook, Sally Eno Soden, and Sally Talaga

Line Drawing by William Amptman

From 1993 through 2008 the Honesdale National Bank published an annual wall calendar, each featured 13 historic sites. The sites were chosen and researched by a committee of the historical society and artwork was commissioned to Judy Hunt and William Amptman by the bank.

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.