- The Wayne County Historical Society (WCHS) is pleased and proud to announce the long anticipated Grand Opening of its 16-acre Canal Park at the site of the Delaware & Hudson Lock 31.
It will be on Saturday, Aug. 24. Located one mile north of Hawley on Route 6, the 9:45 a.m. ribbon cutting will mark the public opening of the park phase of the project and will kick-off the Society’s First Annual Canal Festival, a day-long celebration chock-full of fun, interesting and unique activities for all ages.
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, history buff or just curious about all the recent activity at the site, plan to drop by between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to join in the excitement.
Live (and lively!) canal-era music will once again fill the air along the canal “towpath,” provided throughout the day by the band Poison Love with fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass and percussion, as well as Steve Jacobi’s ever-popular Fiddlin’ Around.
Additional Canal Festival highlights will include exhibits by the National Park Service depicting what life was like on the canal and how the locks and boats actually worked.
A variety of organizations will be on hand to provide informative displays and demonstrations including the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, the Lackawaxen River Conservancy, Wayne County Arts Alliance and more.
Local historian Tom Kennedy will lead several guided towpath walks and will relate some of the history of the D&H Canal and the Lock 31 site as it may have been during its heyday of the 1820s to the present.
Richard Pawling, “History Alive,” will also be on hand to present a canal-oriented program. All of the programs, entertainment and displays throughout the day are free and open to the public.
Tom Colbert, WCHS trustee and chairperson of the overall Towpath project views Lock 31, the Canal Park, and the Daniels house as, “a premier and significant destination not only for Wayne County but for the entire Northeastern region.”
Page 2 of 3 - Elaine Herzog, WCHS president and active with the PA Route 6 Heritage Communities program, adds “the opening of the canal park is just the first public celebration; we have had many, many behind-the-scenes victories to get to this point and we have countless individuals who have offered up resources in terms of volunteer hours, expertise and funding to thank for making the day we have planned possible. We hope more folks will see the value in what we are doing here and what this special place has to offer.”
No festival would be complete without refreshments, and food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the day.
Visitors will also want to visit the Canal Store as well as browse among the selected area vendors offering locally grown fresh produce, herbs, maple syrup and handmade wares. Carriage rides will also be available the day of the festival for a nominal fee.
The Canal Park is just one part of the Historical Society’s plans for this site.
In addition to the trail/recreational features, an interpretive living museum is another goal of the overall project. Remnants of the canal bed and towpath as well as ruins of various agricultural and outbuildings are a visual testament to the site’s historic past.
While stabilization of the circa 1820s house at Lock 31 is complete, much work remains in order to welcome visitors inside the two-story structure, which was originally referred to as New Castle, and later, the Daniels Farm.
When completely restored plans are for it to be known and interpreted as The Daniels Farm at New Castle.
Part of the Festival program will also include documents and displays depicting work that has been completed at the property, as well as historical research about its past owners and occupants for a period spanning nearly 200 years.
The Wayne County Historical Society main museum is headquartered in Honesdale at 810 Main Street in the circa 1860 Delaware & Hudson Canal Company Office.
Additional information about the first Canal Festival may be found at www.wchs-lock31.org, or www.waynehistorypa.org You may also call 570-253-3240.
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