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D&H Railroad

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“The Saga of the D&H Depot”


Written by Jane Marie Varcoe



The exact date for the building of the Depot is unknown though newspapers and histories give us many clues. In local folklore and stories handed down through generations, it is suggested that the first use for the building was a blacksmith and carpentry shop for the D&H. Everything had to be made by hand; tools, spikes, track and ties. Passenger service did not begin until the 1870’s so a shop is very likely. In “Toponyms & Trivia of NE Pa ” by Tom Klopfer, he states the Depot was built in 1857. The first we see the building depicted is on the county 1860 map. In an article in a Carbondale Newspaper in 1862 it states a “copious waiting room and office” was being added to the Depot and new wood shingles places on the roof. The “Early History of Waymart” written by Sandy Boguski for the Bicentennial in 1976, states the Depot was built in 1875, the same date as Waymart High School . What we do know is, the D&H Canal Co. was constantly building. On the 1872 map we see six buildings along the gravity track in Waymart, none of which is identified. So 1857 is the date we are focusing on, though the actual construction of the building could be much earlier. The D&H gravity railroad existed until 1899 when conversion to steam engine power was adopted. A seven mile loop was built from Farview Mountain to Canaan and on to Waymart as the heavy locomotives could not travel the steep gravity planes. The engines from Waymart then used the old gravity levels to Honesdale. In 1900 the D&H offered the Depot to the Borough for $125 and they would move it across the street and give them part of the plane. The Council agreed but in their minutes showed their anger when the dormers, hoists and ropes were removed and it appears they never paid the D&H. The building was then used as a meeting hall for the Council, a holding cell for drunks and unruly law breakers, the voting place for Waymart, community meeting room for different organizations and a garage. The Depot was little used and abandoned from the 1970’s on so a decision was made by the Bicentennial Committee to save the Depot. The WAHS was formally incorporated in 1994, its primary mission to rehabilitate the Depot. Granting sources were: the Enhancement Program of Penn Dot; the Department of Community and Economic Development; the PA Historical & Museum Commission; the Wayne County Rehabilitation Authority; the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority; the National Trust; the Pocono Mountain Vacation Bureau Beautification Program and the Waymart Council. Funding from these agencies fulfilled our mission. The D&H Gravity Museum and Train Car Shed is completed and will be a testament to future generations that a group of ordinary people cared enough to save our heritage.

 

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