823 Church Street, Honesdale The simple Victorian architecture of the George Whitney house is symbolic of the early years of Honesdale. A deed of 1858 reveals the sale of Lot 49 on Second Street, "upon which there is a dwelling house and other improvements" by Joseph Walton's widow and children to Ezekiel Wood. In 1865. Ezekiel Wood and his wife sold to Allis Whitney, father of George Whitney. In 1929, the Whitney family sold the house to Fred Rickard. Highlights for Children, nationally known children's magazine, purchased the building from his daughters in 1978. The Whitneys were owners of the Whitney Livery and Exchange Stables located in the large stone building across the street. They advertised "both open and closed carriages for weddings, funerals, and extra occasions, with twenty head of well-groomed horses." Major George H. Whitney was active in borough government and in the organization of Company E, 13th Regiment of the PA National Guard, where he held every position from private to major. He went to the front with his company during the Spanish American War. He is best remembered as leading every Honesdale parade on his handsome snow-white charger. The horse was also trained to answer the fire bells, and would race to the firehouse upon hearing them. The beautiful brick house was extensively renovated when it was bought by Highlights. Exterior paint was removed and the interior adapted to editorial offices. A large two-story addition was built in the back, totally in keeping with the lines of the house. Thc full-width porch ornamentation repeats the delicate lace-like patterns of the verge boards at the eaves. Bracketed columns and balustrade accent the porch. The windows on the first floor front are floor to ceiling, six paned, with two arched panes above. The paneled door has the same detail. From the old chestnut stair newel post and banisters to the cherry floors of the addition, the editorial office of Highlights for Children shows the fine craftsmanship and loving care that make it a glowing example of the creative reuse of old houses.
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.