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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  •  History stories liked in England

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    To the Editor:
    As a long sighted reader from across the pond (no, not Skinners Pond) but Good Old England, the country that made the sister engines of 'Agenoria' and the 'Stourbridge Lion', I must congratulate you on your recent editorials that brought back many happy memories for me of my time in your area.
    Way back in 1828-9 'Old England' played a most important part in the development and thus Historical Geography of the Honesdale and Hawley areas. The 'Stourbridge Lion', built in Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, close to Birmingham, was sent to the USA and was the first steam locomotive to run on the 'iron rails' at Honesdale almost by accident since the other steam locomotive bought by the D&H, a Stevenson loco named 'America' had previously been steamed whilst raised on blocks in a New York warehouse. Now the rest is History! But why was it called 'The Stourbridge Lion'. I never did find this out whilst in Honesdale, then stumbled upon a possible answer. When it was being assembled the person responsible for painting the boiler noticed some indentations on the boiler front that reminded him of the face of a lion and he subsequently painted a lion's face on the front! As good an explanation as I can find!
    During my time at Camp Skycrest, I spent many, many happy hours walking along the D&H canal in Hawley and White Mills, through undergrowth to discover numerous structures that were once buildings and bridges. The route was fairly obvious, although hidden at times but must still offer great possibilities for "tourist development" providing that it is cleared, sign-posted and publicized. Wikipedia gives Hawley a fine write-up mentioning the Bellemonte Silk Mill, but no mention of the D&H Canal and its significance in the development of your fine town.
    During my vacation from University in 1968-9, I visited a forgotten & overgrown industrial site at Morwellham Quay, in Devon, UK. The site was a wilderness, the old Grand Quay basin completely infilled with rocks and mud that had been colonized by Marram grass and other marsh vegetation, whist the loading areas of the quays was covered with couch grass and brambles totally hiding the Victorian tiled Quays. Beneath the vegetation and infill were the rotting hulls of Victorian barges, mining tubs, rusted rails and mooring bollards.
    Long gone was any obvious indication of the19th century prosperity of the area, or the population that once had lived and worked here. This was a ghost town held in a cocoon of undergrowth. However, with a little capital investment and much hard work over a period of a couple of years, the site was transformed into a profitable revenue provider as a working "Industrial Museum" which can be viewed in the web pages of your favourite search engine for "Morwellham Quay", or for a similar site near the birth place of the "Stourbridge Lion" at "Bliss Hill" or "Blists Hill" in the West Midlands close to Birmingham, UK. These are now award winning Industrial Archaeological sites that draw tourists to their respective areas. Could Hawley, Pa be listed and spoken of alongside these established giants? The potential is there and you are currently giving a clear outline for a philanthropist and financial backer to grasp! Good Luck!
    Page 2 of 2 - I read the News Eagle at least twice a week, keeping in touch with all your news. Indeed, reading your weather reports often give me a "long range" forecast for our own weather that often follows 7 days later. I thank you for the good weather that you send but not for the storms and cold winter weather!
    Thanks for your excellent Newspaper,
    David Wright,
    Bristol, UK.

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