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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Historic Hotels part of history

  • Wayne County has been home to many historic hotels. Many are still standing and many have been adapted for other purposes, while others are just a memory. A number of these venerable buildings were located in Honesdale.
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    Wayne County has been home to many historic hotels. Many are still standing and many have been adapted for other purposes, while others are just a memory. A number of these venerable buildings were located in Honesdale.
    The oldest hotel in Honesdale, and one of the oldest in the county, is the Hotel Wayne which was built in 1827 at the time the Delaware & Hudson Canal was being constructed. The original wood frame building was replaced by the brick structure that stands there today by simply enclosing the wooden building within the brick construction and razing the wooden structure upon its completion.
    The Allen House, which once stood at the corner of Church and Ninth Streets in Honesdale, has the distinction of being the first concrete building erected in Pennsylvania. It was designed and built in 1858 by Henry Heath who also constructed the Grace Episcopal Church in 1853. The hotel was owned and operated by Samuel Allen and managed by his sons Martin and W. R. Allen after his death. Martin Allen became sole owner in 1878 and operated it until his death in 1922 when it passed through a succession of owners.
    The cement for the construction of the eighty-five foot square building was brought to Honesdale by canal from the Rosendale Cement Factory at Rondout, New York. The mixture of cement and cracked stone was mixed on the ground and carried up ladders by hod carriers to form outer walls eighteen inches thick and interior walls a thickness of twelve inches.
    In 1881, Martin built a three-story addition on Ninth Street. The second and third floors of the addition were used as sleeping quarters and a portion of the first floor was occupied by local physician Dr. C.A. Dusinberre with a barber shop in the other part. The new addition allowed for the accommodation of 100 guests and its basement contained a bar with pool and billiard tables.
    Mr. and Mrs. George Petto were the owners of the hotel when it was destroyed by fire on November 5, 1978. The fire, which was one of the most devastating in Honesdale’s history, took the lives of twelve people. Investigation revealed the fire to be a case of arson and a drifter named Frederick Blady was convicted of setting the fire and sent to prison.
    Another historic hotel that is still occupying the corner of Church and Sixth Streets is the National Hotel, now Van Gorders’ Furniture Store. This large brick structure was erected in 1868 by William Weaver. The building was one of the largest single buildings constructed in Honesdale in the time period. An opera house with a large stage and two dressing rooms on either side occupied the second floor. The property included a brick barn that could accommodate 110 horses.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Coyne Hotel had its start on August 30, 1860 when Thomas Coyne purchased 12,500 square feet of property on the corner of Main and Sixth Streets from Sheriff William Turner. A dilapidated structure known as the Honesdale House which was located there was torn down and Mr. Coyne constructed the wood-frame Coyne House which he ran until his death in 1873 and his son Michael took over the business.
    On January 8, 1875 a fire that started in a building where the Wayne Bank now stands and spread south, destroyed the whole block of mainly wooden structures. Michael Coyne, like many others who suffered loss due to the fire, rebuilt the hotel with brick.
    The new three-story building measured 50 feet by 56 feet and had 43 rooms for guests in addition to a basement. The hotel was lighted by gas and the property included a commodious stable. About 1886 Michael Coyne sold the property to his brother-in-law, Patrick McGarry, whose wife ran the business after his death in 1888.
    The ownership of the building changed many times until W. T. Grant Company purchased it in 1951 and tore it down to build a store.
    The charming Park Hotel on Church Street overlooking Central Park was once the home of Attorney William Dimmick who constructed it in the 1850s. In 1923, the home was converted to a forty-room hotel with modern conveniences and a dining room that could seat 100 people. The proprietor was John E. Krantz. The hotel, purchased by August W. Hahn and Kathryn Lucas in 1977, has recently been sold.
    The farmhouse on the Lock 31 property along Route 6 in Palmyra Township that has been undergoing extensive restoration for the past few years was built about 1820 on a tract of land purchased by Jason Torrey, Abisha Woodward and Moses Killam. For several years they ran an extensive lumbering business from the frame house known as New Castle.
    In 1821, Killam sold the property to Russell Daniels and it was known as the Daniels Farm. Ira Daniels inherited the property after his father’s death in 1863 and lost it in a Sheriff’s sale to Ernst Hintze in 1878. The opening of the Delaware & Hudson Canal had increased the value of the property and Hintze successfully operated Hintze’s Hotel, which fronted on the canal for many years. Hintze even opened a store where the canal boatmen could tie up and purchase supplies. The lock tender’s house that was once on the property is no longer standing. Many years later, the house was once again being used as a private dwelling until it was purchased by the Wayne County Historical Society in 2001 and the ongoing restoration process was begun.
    On Saturday, August 24, the Grand Opening of the Canal Park will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 9:45 a.m. For more information please go to our web site at www.Waynehistorypa.org.
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