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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Local History: Pat Monaghan & the Erie Garage

  • HAWLEY - A long time contributor to the Hawley community was Patrick Henry Monaghan, who with his family left a long time mark. Monaghan served as Hawley Fire Chief when a blaze wrecked the former Borough Hall and fire station in 1952. He was well known as proprietor of the Erie Garage and Chevrolet dealership which occupied the building now known as Borough Hall, across from Bingham Park.
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  • A long time contributor to the Hawley community was Patrick Henry Monaghan, who with his family left a long time mark. Monaghan served as Hawley Fire Chief when a blaze wrecked the former Borough Hall and fire station in 1952. He was well known as proprietor of the Erie Garage and Chevrolet dealership which occupied the building now known as Borough Hall, across from Bingham Park.
    His grandson, Bob Monaghan, a Hawley native and retired US Army Lt. Colonel living in Portland, Oregon, supplied much of the information for this article.
    Known as "Pat", his parents were Patrick J. and Elizabeth J. Monaghan, and were from Ireland.
    Patrick H. Monaghan was born July 29, 1887 in Kingston, NY. He married Emily M. Spring on June 20, 1916 at St Philomena Roman Catholic Church, Hawley. She was was born on January 16, 1889 in Stairway, Pike County.
    They had four sons, Michael J.; James L.; Patrick H.; Francis E. and a daughter Mary, who died as an infant.
    Wangum Cut Glass
    The Monaghans were in the cut glass business in Hawley. In May 1910 Pat's brother Michael Monaghan, along with his business partners, opened Wangum Cut Glass. It was a union shop. The block building sat at the corner of Wangum Avenue and River Street. Pat and his other brothers James and Francis were each glass cutters. Pat's glass work was known for its rose pattern.
    Wangum Cut Glass closed in 1924.
    The 1925 Hawley directory lists the parents Patrick and Elizabeth living at 204 Church Street; he was a laborer. Francis lived there as well. James and wife Emma lived at 301 Keystone Street. Michael and wife Mary lived at 313 Chestnut Avenue. By this time, Michael was associated with Beckert Knit Goods Co.
    Family memories
    Pat and Emily Monaghan lived at 407 Wangum Avenue, near the corner with Church Street, on the way to the Catholic cemetery. They raised five children, Joseph, Robert (Sr.), Alice, Evelyn and Edward.
    During the Great Depression, Pat and Emily raised a garden out back and fed as many as 12 to 15 school children who came to them for something to eat. Bob Monaghan said that he learned this from Frank Kelly who was manager at the Acme Market in Hawley, and one day told him he was one of those kids.
    Grandfather Pat would hunt deer for venison, and grandmother Emily did a lot of canning.
    Robert Monaghan Sr. also worked at the Erie Garage. He served in World War II, where he was shot down on his 13th mission over Belgium and was captured by the Germans. He was held at Stalag 17, the camp made famous by the daring escape by several prisoners, what became a major motion picture, "The Great Escape."
    When Robert was rescued and arrived home by ship, his parents and Aunt Alice met him at Philadelphia. They didn't recognize him, as he was so thin.
    Page 2 of 5 - Robert's brother Joseph also served in World War II; Edward served in the Korean War.
    After the Russians invaded Poland, in the 1950's a family of Polish refugees came to Hawley. Pat Monaghan had purchased a lot next to their home which had a small house on it. He planned to let the refugees live their rent free but the family insisted on paying what they could.
    Bob Monaghan is the son of the late Robert H. and Jane Monaghan and was raised at 212 Wangum Avenue, about a block and a half from his grandparents. This was Grandmother Emily's homestead, built in 1904 by Joseph and Margaret Spring. The house was in the Spring and Monaghan families until it was sold in 2010.
    He has fond memories of sitting on Grandpa's swing and watching a storm come. He would run home and try and beat the rain.
    The Monaghans were active at the Catholic church. Bob reminisced about those days of coming back from church and having Sunday dinner with the grandparents. Grandmother Emily put out the old china. Stories were shared. Manners were well kept.
    In those days, breakfast and dinner was always family time, Bob recalls. "No subject was off limits," he said. The children were free to go to their elders for advice, without fear.
    Grandfather Pat also made ice cream; Bob remembers turning the crank.
    Sometimes they would go to Lake Wallenpaupack to catch fish with bamboo poles. Bob and his siblings had a lot of cousins to play with. The family had picnics. Their grandfather was a "big family guy," Bob said.
    Grandmother Emily had a BA from Bloomsburg State Teachers College and had taught at the Rowland School. She used to help her grandchildren with their homework.
    Borough Hall burns
    For a short while, Pat Monaghan was the Borough Police Chief. That was before George Krause's long career as head of the one-man police department.
    Pat was the fire chief for many years. The most notable fire of the period was the great destruction on October 18, 1952. While Hawley Fire Department was attending a Fire Prevention parade in Honesdale, a blaze broke out at Borough Hall, which was located on Spring Street (Route 6) just around the bend from Main Avenue.
    The fire consumed Borough Hall and the fire station (Company #1) located in the building, and engulfed two houses next door. One of them was the home of Police Chief Krause and his wife. Everyone safely escaped from the inferno.
    Bob remembers going downtown with his mother to watch the fire. He says that the heat could be felt from Church Street. Bob also later served as a volunteer Hawley fireman.
    Erie Garage
    In the mid-1920's the Monaghan brothers opened the Erie Garage. This followed the closing of the cut glass factory in 1924.
    Page 3 of 5 - The garage was put up across from what would later be developed as Bingham Park. The street was newly opened, connecting the Lackawaxen River bridge with Hudson Street, and was simply known as "New Street." At that time, the Monaghans owned the entire parcel along the river from what is now Borough Hall, to the property line of what is now The Settler's Inn.
    An ad in the 1927 for Erie Garage listed Firestone tires and accessories. Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oakland cars were sold and serviced.
    Stopped burglars
    An account in the Sept, 19, 1933 edition of The Wayne Independent tells of a couple daring burglaries at the Erie Garage.
    Saturday night, Sept. 16, there had been a second break-in at the garage; four local men were quickly nabbed by police.
    The account states that Joseph Monaghan, son of Pat Monaghan and one of the owners, came by at 11:55 p.m., returning from a dance in Hawley. Joseph saw a man fooling around the gas pumps in front of the garage, holding a can. Joseph shouted at the prowler.
    When Joseph reached the garage he saw a flashlight moving about inside. "He took to his heels to summon help," the reporter penned.
    "The lad reached a handy cigar store with a phone and called Chief of Police George Krause," the story continues. Krause summoned aid from the State Police. Private Sherman Spotts arrived and met with Pat Monaghan, who Joseph had also contacted.
    The garage had already been looted and the culprits had escaped. Roads around Hawley were searched. At about 3 a.m. Pvt. Spotts and Pat Monaghan observed a suspicious Dodge sedan near the Hawley Community House.
    They followed the Dodge- Monaghan was driving- attempting to get ahead of the car. Finally at the railroad crossing near the bridge across from the Erie Garage, Monaghan pulled in front of the Dodge and it was stopped.
    Inside were the four men charged with burglarizing the garage. A search of the Dodge revealed the loot: 20 packages of cigarettes, cigars, flashlight batteries and some candy. One of the men arrested was on parole from Eastern Penitentiary for larceny.
    "Joseph Monaghan was commended for presence of mind," the report states.
    The first burglary occurred April 13, when a state policeman saw two men wheeling the safe out the front door. The report says matter-of-fact that the men "were shot and captured by the state police."
    A third man, who had served as the lookout escaped, but was subsequently captured by police in Washington, D.C.
    Circus, ball games
    Bob recalls Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to town every summer for quite a long time, renting the land next to the Erie Garage.
    Bingham Park was established in 1929; the bandstand was erected in 1932. The ball games in the park were a big attraction. Bob said they had a good view from in front of the garage, although sometimes they would sit in the covered grandstand right across the street from the garage.
    Page 4 of 5 - He recalls as a boy watching the game on Sunday afternoon, sitting on Grandpa's lap. There were wooden chairs put out in front to enjoy the game. Someone would come over from the park with a tin can to collect donations for the team.
    Among the players Bob remembers are "Snoz" Miller and Bucky Buckingham. Bucky could belt the baseball beyond the bandstand.
    World War II vets made up the teams.
    Pat's brothers Mike and Jim went into delivering coal and then delivered fuel oil under the name of Erie Oil Company They were located next door to the Erie Garage. This was eventually sold to Sun Oil Company, and today Sunoco gas station is located there.
    Pat was recalled as a good community-minded businessman. A photo was shared of a presentation by Pat and his son Robert of a car to the Hawley High School for use in teaching driver's education.
    Grandson Bob recalls that the new Chevys arrived by the Erie railroad. He would watch as the new automobiles were swung off the rail cars.
    A few years after World War II, Bob's father Robert Monaghan (Sr.) came back to Hawley and ran the garage and dealership. Pat's health was failing due to a heart condition.
    Pat died on May 20, 1958. Emily lived until March 8, 1978.
    New Borough Hall
    The business was sold in the early 1960's to the Cadilac Chevrolet dealer in Honesdale.
    Following the 1952 inferno, Borough Council was temporarily meeting in the Post 311 American Legion Hall on Church Street.
    In 1964, the Borough purchased the Erie Garage for its new home. The fire department moved there as well.
     Robert and Mary Monaghan had five children, James and Richard who were twins; Daniel and Robert (Bob). James and Richard are deceased; Daniel lives in Reading, Pa.; Patricia who lives in Phoenix, AZ and Bob is in Oregon. James' wife Ann lives in Hawley.
    Maley's
    Their family also owned the popular Maley's Swimming Hole at the far end of River Street along the Middle Creek. Wangum Cut Glass Company, which was owned by the family, was at the end of the short walk to the place where generations of Hawley kids have gone to swim. Bob's family homestead sits next to the factory site.
    Bob recalls the many happy days at Maley's. The Red Cross held swimming lessons there. A concrete pad was put in for a diving board. Rocks and sandbags were used to create a pool for swimming.
    His mother said he learned to swim there before he could walk.
    The Marble Hill bridge crossed the creek at this point, and was washed out in the 1942 flood.
    In June of 1967, Bob's brother Daniel, who was 11, rescued a 14-year old girl from possible drowning at Maley's. Daniel reached her and lifted her from the water. He and his brothers Richard (15) and James (13) brought her to shore. Their mother, who was a nurse, contacted the girl's mother and took her home.
    Page 5 of 5 - Bob is trustee of the estate. A few months ago, The narrow strip leading to the swimming hole was donated to Hawley Borough for the purpose of keeping it for public recreation.

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