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Van Gorder's Furniture

Sixth & Church Sts., Honesdale The southwest corner of Sixth and Church was the site of the first house in Honesdale, a plank cabin built by pioneer settler Samuel Kimble. He had bought 152 acres of the Indian Orchard Tract from Mordecai Roberts, Jr. in 1823. Kimble's northern boundary was an east-west line through what is now Central Park. In 1827, having been told that the proposed canal basin would be built south of his land and that the canal would ruin his planned farm, Kimble sold 100 acres to Maurice Wurts, Delaware & Hudson Canal entrepreneur. That land became the southern half of Honesdale. In 1868 William Weaver built the National Hotel on the site. The large brick structure had 27 rooms and an opera house on the second floor. A stable for 110 horses was built next to it with a second story access from the livery to the hotel. In 1929 the Athens Silk Company bought the hotel and it was for some years a silk mill. Ralph Van Gorder of Beach Lake purchased the building in 1938 to house his growing used furniture business, the Honesdale Furniture Exchange. Following the 1942 flood the Red Cross and the Salvation Army bought most of his stock to aid flood victims. Some years later the store was renamed Van Gorder's Furniture and all of the stock was new. Ralph's son Donald followed his father as owner, and his son Scott is now manager of both the Honesdale and Hawley stores. The progression of uses at this historic site, from cabin to hotel to silk mill to furniture store, demonstrates the ever changing climate of our town.

Text by Marge Hook and Sally Eno Soden

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.