Welcome to the Wayne County Historical Society, home of the full-size replica of the Stourbridge Lion, the first locomotive to run on commercial track in the United States.
Our Main Museum and museum shop are housed in a building built in 1860 as headquarters of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company. The D&H Gravity Railroad, which carried anthracite coal from the mines of Lackawanna County to Honesdale, met the D&H Canal directly behind the building. The canal carried the coal from Honesdale to Rondout, New York, on the Hudson River.
The Marjorie Smith Glass Gallery connects the 1860 building with the Jason Torrey land office, headquarters of one of the county's earliest entrepreneurs. Four additions built to house our expanding collections and research library complete the 810 Main Street complex in Honesdale.
The Research Library offers access to WCHS' extensive archive including books, reel-to-reel microfilm, genealogy files, and over 12,000 searchable photographs. The microfilm collection can be viewed with a state-of-the-art View Scan III reader.
Some of our permanent exhibits include:
Movin' Energy: The History of the Delaware and Hudson Canal 1828-1898 is housed in the addition built in 1993 for the Stourbridge Lion replica, the centerpiece of this award-winning exhibit. The first locomotive to turn wheel on commercial track in the United States made its first run here in Honesdale. A D&H passenger gravity car, the Eclipse, with its hand stenciled ceiling and beautiful carved wood interior, and a paymaster's buggy share the floor space with the Stourbridge Lion replica.
Faces in Clay with historian Vernon Leslie's 4,600-plus archaeology collection as its basis, interprets the Native American history of the upper Delaware Valley. A number of important features of their lifestyle, hunting and gathering techniques and social customs are highlighted. In addition, Vernon Leslie's life's work is interpreted and a 17th-century dugout canoe can be viewed to the accompaniment of the soothing sounds of the river and forest.
Wayne County's Glass: Window Panes to White House Crystal includes 156 pieces of glass all produced in Wayne County from the 1820s to 1980s; more that a dozen tools used in the production of glass; cutting's stones and brushed; and several rare photographs of glass workers and the various cutting "shops" in the county. Representative pieces from the Bethany, Honesdale Glass and Honesdale Decorating, Hawley, Dorflinger, T. B. Clark, Hatch & Clark, Vetter, Maple City, Owanda, Irving, Clinton, Keystone, O'Connor, G. Wm. Sell, Kranz & Sell, Linke Companies, and more are on display. The work of Herman Neugenbauer, Louis Rickert, Ray LaTournous, C.C. Hook, and John Murphy, can also be seen.
Children's History Lab includes stations about Native American way of life, European homestead with a child-friendly kitchen and garden; introductory genealogy kiosks with access to websites, "gravity" and "geology" hands-on experiences.
At the Wayne County Historical Society Museum you can explore our extensive permanent collection that includes the D&H Canal, Gravity Railroad, Lenape, and Dorflinger Glass. You'll also experience new exhibitions and programs that reflect a fresh view of traditional and historical works from our historically rich County. Visit us today and explore our history!
Call the museum for more information regarding our new exhibits, programs, and special events. 570-352-3240
Museum has handicapped parking and accessible front entrance. Throughout the museum the exhibits are featured on ramp walkways, and the second floor is easily accessible by elevator. All doorways accommodate wheelchairs.