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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Sad chapter for historic Honesdale

  • A sad chapter in Honesdale history took place on Friday morning.
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  • A sad chapter in Honesdale history took place on Friday morning.
    The Historic Henry Stone house on Court Street came crashing to the ground early in the morning.
    The house, built between 1846 and 1850, has been a historic sight for residents and visitors ever since.
    About 20 years ago, Wayne County purchased the house and has owned it since. It was a storage building for many years and also housed the food pantry.
    But now it is rubble.
    Work crews had a big crowd of onlookers Friday morning as the house came down in large pieces. It was amazing to see just how quickly such a huge house can be brought to the ground.
    Some in the crowd were simply interested observers. Others were people who care about history and were sadly watching history come to the ground.
    The entire episode is sad in many ways.
    It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like to see historic buildings preserved. It happens all across America.
    However, even Sally Talaga of the Wayne County Historical Society acknowledges that not all buildings can be saved. She wishes they could but is a realist.
    In this case, she may be right. However, we will never know because the county commissioners decided it was going to come down. What they didn't decide to do many years ago was at least try to sell the historic home.
    Talaga said many people felt if the county sold the property for a very reasonable price, a group of lawyers might be interested in buying the place and investing the funds to restore the building and make it functional again.
    This seems like a reasonable proposition. Let's face it, many lawyers are in a position to be able to spend that kind of money.
    And with the county courthouse right across the street, it would be a great location for offices. There are other old homes around the area which house legal firms and other businesses.
    Though the county has said there are no plans for the lot at this time, it would seem logical its future will be a parking lot. There's no question parking is a hot issue in Honesdale. It's especially a tough issue for folks who work in the downtown area where parking is limited.
    But is tearing down a historic home to make a parking lot really worth it?
    Maybe.
    It may be that was the only recourse left.
    But we will never know because our county commissioners never tested the market to see if someone might be interested in buying and restoring the home.
    Page 2 of 2 - The positives of that far outweigh any parking issues.
    Any time a property can be restored it means taxes are collected and it simply keeps the historic ambiance of the downtown area. It would have meant someone is paying an electric bill, a garbage bill and more. That's money back into a struggling economy.
    Maybe that's all just pie in the sky thinking because the house was deemed unsafe. But many houses deemed unsafe have been brought back to life.
    All of this is now water under the bridge because the house is gone and a parking lot is on the way.
    That's a sad chapter in itself.

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