Historical societies in the greater Wayne, Pike county area and other organizations interested in promoting the local heritage make up the Thomas Kennedy Local History Roundtable.

PALMYRA TWP. (Wayne) - Historical societies in the greater Wayne, Pike county area and other organizations interested in promoting the local heritage make up the Thomas Kennedy Local History Roundtable. The group met Sept. 9th at the old D&H Canal-era inn near Hawley, to see how they can further help each other’s shared mission.

About 16 people gathered at the D&H Canal Park at Lock 31, which is owned by the Wayne County Historical Society and host of an annual festival celebrating the 19th century canal. James Asselstine, Ann O’Hara and Juan Espino lead the Roundtable, which was founded by the late Tom Kennedy, who was a retired Wallenpaupack school administrator, avid historian and promoter of educating the young generation about local history.

Although by their nature, historians are interested in “yesteryear”- researching, understanding, preserving and teaching about what went before us, to do so effectively, history organizations are embracing the most modern methods. That includes social media.

Generating much discussion at the quarterly meeting was an idea raised by Henry Loftus, curator of Dorflinger Glass Museum, of hosting a joint Facebook page, where the public could find links to the various organizations’ web sites.

Keith Williams, manager of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVBS)’s Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, noted that a challenge with Facebook is keeping material fresh. S. Robert Powell, President of the Carbondale Historical Society, commented that Facebook has worked very well for him. He said he posts a photo each week and receives over 1,000 hits each time.

Loftus offered to pursue it.

They also discussed finding space in each organization’s newsletter to post items about what other historical groups are planning. The groups were also reminded to send their event information regularly to the PMVB for promotion.

Past-Port booklet

Additionally, the Past-port booklet has been found to be a success, and will continue. The full-color booklet serves as a guide to the 17 participating historical societies and other organizations promoting local history, with text, photographs and a guide map. The public is encouraged to make a game out of it by visiting each site, where the “past-port” is stamped like a passport. Visiting each site entitles the player to a gift prize, the winner picking one from the prizes contributed by each of the organizations.
A second, improved edition of the booklet has just come off the press. They are available for free at the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, Chamber of the Northern Poconos office in Honesdale and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce in Milford.
Grant funding was discussed, to pay for another printing of the booklet. 2018 will be the third season for the Past-port booklet.

History books

Two of the local historical societies have recently published books.
Jeanne Brown, Director of the Greene Dreher Historical Society in South Sterling, introduced Diane B. Smith who has written a book, Mills on the Wallenpaupack. This 248 page book goes into detail about the sawmills and other mills that were powered by the Wallenpaupack Creek in the 1800s and early 1900s, on the South and East Branches.

Carol Dunn, Director of the Wayne County Historical Society, spoke of their new book published for the 100th anniversary of the Society in 2017. “History of Wayne County in 100 Objects & The Centennial History of Wayne County Historical Society” serves both as a guide to the Society’s major new exhibit, and details the 100-year history of the Society, which is based in Honesdale. The Society history was penned by County Historian Peter Becker.