This year's Historic House Tour, associated with the 2017 Hawley Winterfest, takes a close look at Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Canal Lock Houses dating from the 1820s.

HAWLEY  - This year’s Historic House Tour, associated with the 2017 Hawley Winterfest, takes a close look at Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Canal Lock Houses dating from the 1820s.

On Saturday, December 9, participants will have a chance to take a self-guided tour of four of these houses. When the D&H Canal was in operation, these houses served as residences for the lock tenders. They allowed the canal boats passage through the gates as the canal varied in elevation along its 108 mile route.

There were 108 locks between Honesdale, PA and Rondout, near Kingston, NY on the Hudson River. The canal operated from 1828 to 1898, with its chief purpose to haul anthracite coal to market. The lock tenders were vital to the operation. Only remnants of the canal exist today, along with some of the structures and granite snubbing posts alongside the locks, where ropes were used to steer the boats into the lock or to tie them up for the night. The houses on this unprecedented tour offer a rare opportunity to see where this crucial aspect to the region’s historic economic foundation played out.

Start at the Canal Park

There are actually five locations to visit. The tour begins at the D&H Canal Park at Lock 31, which is owned and managed by the Wayne County Historical Society one mile west of Hawley, along Route 6. The first annual Canal Festival was held here in 2013. Although the lock house no longer stands, participants will meet at the c. 1820s Daniels Farmhouse, which served as an inn for canal families and crews, and provided a canal store. Situated next to the lock and the lock house, the inn provided rest, refreshment and a social gathering place for the canal crew and community alike.

While at the Canal Park, hear about its history and tales, and become oriented to the experience as you take this journey back in time, map in hand to the four sites down the canal.

What to expect

The historic properties will be festively decorated for the Holidays. Hear the stories of years gone by from the owners who have preserved these sites and made it their own.

Houses along the tour stretch from just past Hawley, along the canal and Towpath Road in Lackawaxen Township, Pike County. Towpath Road is a highly scenic route along the widening Lackawaxen River. The road follows the path of the canal and towpath, where horses and mules at one time pulled the canal boats.

Look for remnants of the stone walls of the canal and locks along the way. Stop to think that the entire canal as well as its associated gravity railroad which carried the coal from the mines to the canal terminus at Honesdale, was built by hand labor. Irish immigrant workers were hired by the company to build the canal in the 1820’s. The canal was widened in later years to accommodate larger boats.

Along the way you will be visiting Lock House 24, Lock House 22, Lock House 21 and Lock House 19.

To respect their privacy, the names of the owners and exact locations are not being announced beforehand.

Each of the locks were recognized by local names, perhaps easier to remember in the canal days, than keeping track of numbers.

Lock tenders may have changed during the 70 years of the canal operation, but a couple references that have been located associates the following names and geographic designations with these locks: Lock 31 Weir (or O’Han), “Newcastle”; 24 Frank Daniels (or Pat Harrison), “Punch Camp”; 22 Mike Harrison, “Narrows”; 21 “Field Bend” or “Narrows” and 19 Abe Rowland, “Snyder’s Eddy”.

Hours, tickets

The D&H Canal Park at Lock 31 will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., where tickets may be purchased. A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to the Wayne County Historical Society to benefit Canal Park at Lock 31.

The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and are available for advance purchase at the Hawley Silk Mill, Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, the Hawley Library, Teeter’s Furniture, and the Wayne County Historical Society in Honesdale.

Hawley Winterfest

For more detailed informationon Hawley Winterfest, call the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center at 570-226-2141 or pick up a Hawley Winterfest rack card.  For a complete schedule of events and continuous updates, visit www.HawleyWinterfest.com or follow Hawley Winterfest on Facebook.

Hawley Winterfest is presented by the Downtown Hawley Partnership, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the high standard of living that the community and tourists enjoy. For more information, visit www.visithawleypa.com.  

The event is made possible through the generous contribution of local sponsors, donations, volunteers, participating residents and merchants, and the 2017 Winterfest Committee.