HONESDALE—Promenaders in Honesdale's Central Park may have recently noticed a plethora of colored banners blowing in the breeze.
Pausing to peruse the panels, park-goers are greeted by a blast from the past as famous faces, locations and monuments from Honesdale's history smile down from the light posts.
Some notable figures include the Maple City's namesake, Philip Hone, General Lyman Lemnitzer, Irving Cliff and others.
Twenty in total, the banners are a Greater Honesdale Partnership (GHP) passion project four years in the making.
“It actually came about in a board meeting for GHP back in 2015,” said Patti Bursis, one of the prime movers behind the project. “It's been a long time coming.”
Bursis explained she and Steve Firmstone broke ground on the idea four years ago as part of the Banner Committee as a way to highlight important facets of Honesdale and draw attention to the park.
“We originally talked about doing both sides a historical figure,” said Bursis. “I felt it was too much. I wanted the banners to accomplish more than just history. I wanted it to add some color to the park.”
The idea broke ground with a preliminary historical list and design ideas, but was put on hold until this year.
“I would pull it out myself here and there, and do a little bit of work on it,” said Bursis, noting the prep and design time she put into the project was all donated. “This year I decided I am making sure that we get these up.”
When the project got the green light this May, Bursis was joined by Kim Fisch and Jeff Hiller to help check the historicity of all the figures.
Bursis noted other assistance in bringing the project to fruition came from Brian Batten, Terri Henderson and Carol Dunn from the Wayne County Historical Society.
Bursis also wished to thank Honesdale Borough Department of Public Works for their assistance moving some signs on one of the light posts to accommodate its banner.
In assembling the list of those who would appear on the banners, Bursis explained finding 20 notable figures was easy as she and everyone involved in the project had grown up in the area hearing stories about the likes of the D&H Canal, painter Jenny Brownscomb and professional billiards player Ruth McGinnis.
Overall, the hardest part “...was trying to condense some of the information,” she said, noting Kim Fisch was instrumental in that effort.
Seeing the project completed, Fisch stated, “It's wonderful to have the myriad experiences of Honesdale attributed here fas a catch point to further explore.”
Project co-initiator Steve Firmstone likewise noted, “I'm proud to see them up and I hope that the business community continues to support the GHP so the GHP can expand this type of work. It's a bit of history. It's a bit of art.”
Terri Henderson added, “I hope people stop and read them, and get a feel for the rich history in this town.”
The last few banners are expected to be up in the near future.
All 20 figures will remain visible in the park until November, at which point they will be stored over the winter to be rehung in April.