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Honesdale is the county seat of Wayne County, Pennsylvaniamarker and is located 32 miles (52 km) northeast of Scrantonmarker.

Honesdale is located in a rural area that provides many recreational opportunities including: boating, fishing, hiking, hunting, skiing, biking and rafting.


1890 panoramic map of Honesdale
Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was named in honor of Philip Hone, who was a former Mayor of New York and president of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. Honesdale, which was originally known as Dyberry Forks, was laid out in 1826 and incorporated in 1831.

Birthplace of American Railroading

Honesdale is home of the first commercial steam locomotive to run on rails in the United States, the Stourbridge Lion. On August 8, 1829, the Stourbridge Lion started in Honesdale, ran three miles to Seelyville, and then returned.

The Stourbridge Lion was owned by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company (D&H). D&H transported anthracite coal from mines near Carbondalemarker to the New York Citymarker market, via Honesdale and Kingston, New Yorkmarker. Coal was moved by rail from the mines to Honesdale, and then by a 108-mile canal journey to Kingston, and then by river barge to New York City. Before steam locomotives were used, D&H moved the coal from the mines to Honesdale via a Gravity railroad.

The Wayne County Historical Society Museum contains a full-scale replica of the Stourbridge Lion, and is home to many interesting photographs and artifacts. This museum is in a small brick building on Main Street, which was once the D&H Canal's company office, and is where the Stourbridge Lion began its inaugural run.

The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce hosts Rail Excursions and Historical Tours, during summer, fall and Christmas season. Your first step onto the vintage train cars takes you back into history, because you board at the site of the D&H's Canal boat basin.

Parts of the original Stourbridge Lion are on display at the Baltimore B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland


Honesdale is located at (41.574214, -75.255966).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.8 km²), of which, 4.1 square miles (10.7 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.20%) is water.


In 1900, 2,864 people lived in Honesdale; in 1911, 2,945 people made it their home; and in 1940, 5,687 lived there. As of the census of 2000, there were 4,874 people, 2,166 households, and 1,251 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,182.9 people per square mile (456.8/km²). There were 2,414 housing units at an average density of 585.8/sq mi (226.2/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.64% White, 0.66% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.78% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.89% of the population.

There were 2,166 households out of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the borough the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 83.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 65.4 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $28,201, and the median income for a family was $40,336. Males had a median income of $30,103 versus $22,061 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $17,404. About 9.8% of families and 14.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.

Local Business and Media

The community has little industry beyond the remnants of a once thriving population of family owned dairy farms.

The local daily newspaper, The Wayne Independent, was established in 1878, and emphasizes local stories. The Wayne Independent publishes issues Tuesday through Saturday. The Weekly Almanac, also a medium for local news, was begun in 1990 and ended in 2009. It published every Thursday. The Weekly Almanac's last paper was on January 8, 2009.

The local radio station is WDNH broadcast on 95.3FM. In addition to local news, events, and weather, it plays a selection of adult contemporary music.

The local hospital, Wayne Memorial, recently completed a multi-million dollar expansion project.

Places and Activities

Honesdale hosts the annual Wayne County Fair, starting on the first Friday in August. The Fair spans nine days and draws thousands of visitors. It features typical country fair events like horse racing, tractor pulling and livestock exhibits.

The children's magazine Highlights for Children was founded in Honesdale. It maintains its Editorial Headquarters in Honesdale, despite relocating to Ohiomarker.

Honesdale High Schoolmarker is part of the Wayne Highlands School District. The school's sports team is the Hornets. The school is located on the top of Terrace Street and overlooks the town of Honesdale.

Honesdale was home to the Roman Catholic St. Vincent's Elementary School, located on Cliff Street. The school closed its doors at the end of the 2008-2009 school year after the enrollment dramatically declined from 227 in 2004-05 to only 88 in 2008-09.

Honesdale has many Victorian age structures, and is dominated by tall church steeples and a memorial park near the courthouse. Current zoning laws do not require building remodelling to remain historically accurate.

Irving Cliff, 300 feet high, overlooks the town, and offers a compelling view of the confluence of the Lackawaxen River and Dyberry Creek. Irving Cliff is named after author Washington Irving, who was greatly impressed with its view. The cliff contains a 50 foot electric framework, for a Christmas Star and Easter cross, that is visible for miles during holiday nights. Fireworks are shot from the cliff for July 4 festivities.

The Honesdale Roots and Rhythm Music and Arts Festival is held throughout Honesdale on the third Saturday in June. The main stage is set up along Court Street playing to festival goers in Central Park. Artists and food vendors are lined along the park on 9th and 10th Streets. Several other stages are set up throughout the town offering music all day. The festival was established in 2006.

Notable people

Honesdale in popular culture

  • The movie Wet Hot American Summer was filmed at Camp Towanda near Honesdale during the spring of 2000. The film is a comedy starring Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, and Molly Shannon. It was directed by David Wain and written by Wain and Michael Showalter (who also stars in the movie).
  • Honesdale is the location for many kids camps, such as Camp Moshava,Camp Seneca Lake, Camp Towanda, Camp Equinunk, Camp Blue Ridge, Tyler Hill Camp, Indian Head Camp, Camp Cayuga, Trail's End Camp, Camp Watonka, Bryn Mawr Camp, Camp Wayne, Camp Raninu, and Summit Camp; other camps are nearby, such as Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Camp Lavi, Camp Nesher, and Camp Morasha. Many of the campers come from the New York Metropolitan Areamarker, the Massachusettsmarker are, New Jerseymarker or the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area.
  • Schrute Farms, the Bed and Breakfast beet farm belonging to Dwight Schrute on NBC's popular sitcom The Office is listed as a Honesdale establishment on
  • Honesdale is mentioned in the opening scene of the movie "The Ten" starring Paul Rudd of Wet Hot American Summer.
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight is a 1996 action thriller film which stars Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson. Geena plays a Honesdale schoolteacher/wife/mother who suffers from amnesia, and who eventually learns that she was a trained assassin before losing her memory. Although Honesdale is mentioned in the film, the film was not actually shot in Honesdale.
  • Blue Valentine, a movie starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, started filming in Honesdale and the surrounding areas in the spring of 2009. The movie is currently scheduled for release in 2010.



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