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Delaware & Hudson (D & H) Canal - Towpath to Trail Project
On November 5, 1998 one hundred years had passed since the last boat of anthracite floated down the D & H Canal from the coalfields of northeast Pennsylvania to the Hudson River. The canal and the gravity railroads that fed it, with all their picturesque vitality, have receded beyond living memory. Year by year nature and human activities erase this 124 mile long, civil engineering achievement, built over three years largely by hand. Despite its National Historic Landmark status, the rate at which it is being destroyed increases due to the uncontrolled commercial development along Pennsylvania Traffic Route 6, which follows the canal’s former route in Wayne County.
Responding to the public’s interest in the canal’s physical remains and recreational trails, the Wayne County Historical Society (WCHS) formed the Towpath to Trail Committee in 1997. The committee’s goal was to establish the first (in PA) public greenway on a section of the former D & H Canal. Since then WCHS has acquired a mile of canal/towpath including Lock 31, Lock 31 House, and the adjourning 16 acres.
With acquisition complete the writing of the following planning documents were then started:
- Restoration and Interpretive Plan for Lock 31 House (circa 1820's) for use as a living canal history museum
- Master Site and Greenway Plansfor Lock 31 House’s surrounding 16 acres owned by the WCHS and the feasibility of extending WCHS’s existing trail
Grant funding was then obtained in the spring of 2006 for the required archaeological study of the 16 acres and the immediate restoration needs of Lock 31 House. It is hoped this part of the project will be completed in the fall of 2006 or in 2007.
Volunteers are always needed for grounds maintenance and related projects. Please contact WCHS at 570 253-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to become a Towpath to Trail volunteer.
In February 2009 we were notified of our successful Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission's Keystone Historic Preservation Grant application for $72,781. This grant will match a previously awarded Penn DOT grant of $116,350. Together they will fund the immediate restoration needs of lock 31 house, as defined in the Historic Structures Report prepared by architect John Bowie. Hopefully, the required archeological study report will soon be accepted by the State and restoration of the lock house will begin this summer (2009).
Spencer Steam Tractor RestorationPresentation:
Stourbridge Lion Live Steam Model
In spring 2007 the museum acquired a 1/8th size (1 1/2" scale) working model of the Stourbridge Lion. Originally designed in Canada, the model changed hands until Robert Eastman acquired the model. In the mid 1990's he was returning from a model steam meet in New England when he stopped in the Matamoras, PA rest area where he saw the Wayne County Historical Society's display with a picture of our Stourbridge Lion replica. Not knowing the true history of the larger version of his model he drove to Honesdale to learn more. There he met with Sally Talaga, the Executive Director of the museum, and showed her his model.
Mr.Eastman sold the 'Cub' to the museum in the spring of 2007. During most of the year the 'cub' along with tender is on display in the Movin' Energy exhibit next to the life size replica. A display case made by Bill Mamber features a hand crank which moves the model back and forth on track showing the intricate workings of the rocker arms and pistons.
Occasionally the 'Cub' escapes the eye of its larger sibling and starts to breathe fire again. With the guidance of the Pennyslvania Live Steamers of Collegeville PA the volunteers have learned how to maintain, fire, and run the 'Cub'. Dozens of onlookers have inquired about the Lion and our museum. Our goal is to stir interest in the Lion, its history, and technology while at the Live Steamers and other live steam meets. Current volunteers working on the maintenance and running of the 'Cub' as we've come to call it are Fred Murray, Bill Mamber, Paul Talaga, and Bob Hutchinson. Below are pictures and videos of the 'Cub' during PA Live Steamers visits and work parties in Honesdale.
Interested in helping with our ongoing projects? Check out the calendar for upcoming events or contact the museum!
Right cylinder under repair
Parking brake engaged
Ready to light!
Fire for the first time in 10 years.
Bill Mamber posing next to the engine.
Paul Talaga getting pulled by the 'Cub'!
Firing on stands.
Bill Mamber monitoring engine.
Motion was sustained for 1.5 hours.
Good fire and good pressure.
View of interior tubes. (Actual Lion did NOT have tubes)