This week we offer for our local history feature, a photo gallery from the 1977 Hawley Sequicentennial Parade.
Hawley, Pa., like small towns across America, appears to have always been ready for a parade. Across the decades we are aware of St. Patrick's Day parades- fitting for Hawley's Irish heritage; church-related parades including one marking dedication of the cornerstone for the new St. Philomena's church on July 22, 1900 and two ecumenical "March for Jesus" parades in the 1990's; military parades including a grand welcome home following the World War in 1919; Memorial Day parades; the 4th of July Parade, resurrected in 1966 following a long gap; a parade in 1916 for the Red Men, a fraternal society; and two parades marking Hawley's history in 1927, and in 1977.
There may well be many more. Anyone with information about parades in Hawley's history is asked to contact the writer. Photographs are most welcome.
Lorraine Bentley, whose roots include the Norwegian heritage of Rowland, Pa., shared these pictures taken July 23, 1977. We are thankful for dates and notations made on the back of the prints, which adds so much more interest.
On that fine sunny summer afternoon, Hawley citizens culminated a week-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the town.
How did it measure 150 years?
Although the settlement dates as far back as the 1790's when mill operations began at the base of the mighty Paupack Falls, the first known store in Paupack Eddy (as Hawley was then known) was not opened until 1827. At that time, the Delaware & Hudson Canal was also in preparation, which became the first major catalyst for growth in the community.
The Sesquicentennial of Hawley in many ways followed the pattern of the Centennial observance. The schedule for 1977 was as follows:
• Sunday July 17, church bells ring at 2 p.m. marking the start of the week celebration. Inter-faith service at 2:30, in Bingham Park.
• Monday, July 18, Coronation Day. The Hawley Sesquicentennial Queen and her Court were chosen in the auditorium at Wallenpaupack Area High School at 8 p.m.
Polka Jaks entertained on the festival stage.
• Tuesday, July 19, Ladies Day, 10 a.m, included a baking contest at 10 a.m. Period costumes were judged on the festival stage at 8 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 20, Youth Day, 10 a.m. in Bingham Park, baby, bicycle and pet parade.
There was a magic show with Uncle Ted from WNEP-TV through the day, and at 6 p.m. an All-Star Little League game.
• Thursday, July 21, Men's Day, 8 p.m. on the festival stage with judging of the beards.
• Friday, July 22, Senior Citizens Day, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. with a picnic in Bingham Park for the seniors.
Sesquicentennial Ball was held at 10 p.m. at White Beauty View Resort on Rt. 507.
Saturday, July 23, Parade Day and Homecoming Day. A "gigantic" parade stepped off at 2 p.m. From the photos, it appears the parade headed in both directions on Main Avenue.
Planning for the celebration began in July 1976 when Hawley Borough Council decided to mark the 150th anniversary. A public meeting followed on Sept. 14 at Borough Hall. Ann Morgan, who was Councilwoman at that time, was named chairperson.
She became president of the Hawley Sesquicentennial Corporation, which had a 17-member board. As part of the planning, a decision was made to publish an updated edition of the 1927 book on the history of Hawley. Richard Morgan and Shirley Morgan prepared the book.
Sitting on Council at that time was Richard Simpson, President; Robert Silsby; Helen Campfield, Secretary; J. Eugene Sheridan, Jr.; Dr. Robert Gummoe; Edward Gilpin, Treasurer and Ann Morgan. The mayor was John Crump.
Hawley Borough has 15 years to consider the town's Bicentennial celebration in 2027. There surely will be plenty of parade possibilities beforehand to lead up to the community's 200th anniversary.