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Honesdale's Centennial Block and Katz Bros. Department Store

Between 6th and 7th Streets, Main Street's East Side In 1871 W. Jonas Katz opened a store named W.J. Katz & Co. When brothers Samuel and Jacob joined the business, it became known as Katz Bros. Following the destruction of their store by fire in 1875, the Katz brothers joined other entrepreneurs in constructing new buildings on Main Street between 6th and 7th Streets. In 1910 the business was incorporated, and the following members were added to the firm: Samuel, Joseph and Leon Katz, I. Blumenthal and William Schloss. In 1892 the company purchased and enlarged the Weiss building, and a two-story addition was built in 1917. A grocery department became part of their business when the Lighthiser building was purchased. William Roos and Nathan Lewis were the last family members to own Katz Bros. Department Store. For 116 years it was synonymous with Honesdale. Its reputation included quality merchandise and excellent customer service. In 1987 it was sold to Dr Georgiu. He closed the store and sold the building to Vanguard Development. J.A. Wood, a New York architect, was hired to design the new commercial block in Honesdale (He was also the architect for the Wayne County Court House). The block between 6th and 7th Streets on Main Street's east side was completed in 1875, and became known as the "Centennial Block" in honor of our nation's one hundredth birthday. The following year, On July 3, 1876, approximately fifteen thousand people celebrated the centennial in Honesdale. The Centennial Block consists of multiple Italianate three-story brick buildings sharing a mix of architectural details, including segmental windows with decorative hoods and sills, and cornices with panels and brackets. Each building bears minor, but distinctive decorative differences. Three original bracketed Italianate storefronts are still visible at street level.

Text by Marge Hook

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.