Wayne County, Pennsylvania

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Wayne County Courthouse is located at 925 Court Street, Honesdale PA 18431; phone: 570‑253‑5970.


Created on March 21, 1798, from part of Northampton County and named for General Anthony Wayne. Honesdale, the county seat after 1842, was laid out in 1827 and incorporated as a borough on January 28, 1831. It was named for Philip Hone, president of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. Earlier county seats included Wilsonville (1799‑1802), Milford (1802‑1805), and Bethany (1805‑1841).

Part of the Pennsylvania lands claimed by Connecticut settlers, eventually supported by their government until 1786, this area was also contested with Indians in 1755‑1757 and again in the Wyoming Massacre campaign of 1778. At a high altitude and originally heavily forested, Wayne yielded lumber which was floated down the Delaware. This was the first industry. The county was soon found to be good for grazing livestock. Originally not thought to have any coal itself, Wayne profited from being on the route of the coal carrying Delaware and Hudson Canal and its railroad extension from Honesdale to Carbondale. Philip Hone from New York was an early developer. In 1829 the first locomotive to run in North America, the "Stourbridge Lion," ran in Wayne County. Christian Dorflinger came from New York to White Mills in 1865 and built a glassmaking complex. He died in 1915, and his factory closed in 1921. Dairy farming and poultry are important but have declined since 1980. Farms today occupy 30 percent of the land. The county includes the very northeastern tip of the Northern Anthracite field. Mining was profitable from the late nineteenth century until about 1946. Sharing with Pike and Monroe Counties the phenomenal residential growth, produced by immigrants from New York and New Jersey arriving since 1975, the county's economy is now shifted toward tourism, health services, and home construction. Many new dwellings have gone up, mostly outside the old community centers. [1]

Beginnings [2]

Formed March 21, 1798; named for General Anthony Wayne. A picturesque, mountainous section, possessing more lakes than any other county in the state, some over 2000 feet above sea, ranging in area from 3 to 358 acres, many of them well stocked with bass, perch, pickerel, and other fish, while the whole county abounds in trout streams. From north to south is a wonderful expanse of scenery; Fairview, altitude, 1500 feet, on the Moosic Mountain, near Waymart, includes, in its panorama, the distant Catskills; from the southern roads, extended views are also enjoyed. A beautiful drive follows the Wallenpaupack Creek (slow water) passing the Falls at Hawley, meeting place of the Paupack Indians; good roads continue to Milford and the Water Gap, or to Gouldsboro, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. On the road from Honesdale to Carbondale the path of the old Delaware & Hudson Gravity Railroad may still be traced.

Early industries were hunting, lumbering, and tanning; now the modern creamery is an important factor, also stock raising and agriculture. One hundred years ago a small colony of Germans settled a half mile west of Bethany and started a glass factory, utilizing native sand and clay; from 1847 to 1861 window glass was manufactured at Tracyville; in 1865, Christian Dorflinger built large factories for manufacturing and cutting glass, at White Mills, five miles south of Honesdale; glass-cutting factories are now numerous in the county, and gold decorating of glass has been introduced among Wayne's industries.

  1. Wayne County, 2012, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, www.phmc.org, accessed May, 2021.

  2. Archambault, A. Margaretta, ed., A Guide Book of Art, Architecture, and Historic Interests in Pennsylvania, John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia, 1924


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