HONESDALE—Demolition began Tuesday Morning, January 23, on a trio of historic buildings, one of which housed Eddie's Garage, the 1932 family car dealer and repair shop which grew over the last 86 years into Edw. J. Schwarz, Inc.
Due to the buildings' historic prominence, “...today is sentimental and bittersweet,” stated Edw. J. Schwarz President Wendy Schwarz-Malti, a third-generation family member to work the business.
Despite the emotional quality of the decision, Schwarz-Malti noted demolishing the buildings was ultimately necessary as they had been derelict for some time.
“That house is just full of memories,” noted the sitting company president. “It is amazing to think that out of that tiny little garage, here we have a 12-car showroom and second-, third-, fourth-generations of the family working.”
More than just a business site, one of the buildings being removed belonged to founder Edward J. Schwarz and his wife, grandparents to the sitting president.
“The main thing I remember about that house is the porch. Our family gatherings were always up on the porch, ... the whole family would always be out on the porch, and you could overlook Willow Avenue …,” said Schwarz-Malti. “That was just our nostalgic place.”
She also reminisced about going to work with her father at age eight. She would assist with the garage's soda machine, one of the first in Honesdale.
“I used to help my grandfather restock the soda machine and count the change,” she explained.
Not to lose the entirety of the location's historic quality, the automotive dealer hopes to preserve an original exposed brick wall belonging to the Gukenberger Brewery, the business which preceded Eddie's Garage in that location.
“We are attempting to leave that part of history for Honesdale,” she said.
Once the space is cleared, a process which Schwarz-Malti estimates will take about a month to complete, the dealership plans to utilize the space for additional parking.
Schwarz-Malti extended her thanks to Reinfurt Excavating, Inc. for their services in demolishing the buildings.
A history of the business
When Eddie's Garage opened in 1932, it housed space for about one show car and three to be worked in the shop, estimates Schwarz-Malti.
According to an Edw. J. Schwarz, Inc. press release, it is the oldest family-owned -and-operated dealership in Wayne County.
The garage became a Buick Dealer in 1940.
It then acquired Pontiac from Vannie Williams in 1976, Oldsmobile from Eddie Narvid in 1980 and GMC from Dick Palmer in 1988.
The release states the original shop survived a flood four years after opening and another in 1942.
The building also withstood a shop fire in 1976.
A new car showroom and service/parts department were built in 1986 and a new truck showroom was added in 1994.
They had a complete GM facility renovation upgrade in 2013.
“There's a lot of good history, good memories,” said Schwarz-Malti. “We're proud that it's still going. We are now 78 years with General Motors.”
She further stated, “We're grateful to have the hardworking group of employees that we do … We couldn't obviously do it without them.”
The CEO also noted the last of the second-generation Schwarz family members are John Schwarz and Gladys Welsh.
“They have spent their entire lives here,” she said.