A Storied History:
Industrial development – including water, coal, timber, hydroelectric power, bluestone and rail – played a significant role in Hawley’s past.
When the area was first settled (1700s), ice harvesting, logging and tanning were the primary forms of industry. Local timber was harvested and rafted down the Lackawaxen River (right through town) and then down the Delaware River to Philadelphia.
Canals and gravity railroads came next – transporting coal. Hawley bustled with docks, train and carriage repair shops, as well as ancillary businesses from stores to boarding houses.
With the arrival of the Erie Railroad in 1865, the usefulness of the canal and gravity railroad faded.
New industries blossomed around the many waterfalls in the area – including several fine glass cutting operations and numerous textile mills, including silk manufacturing. The imposing bluestone building overlooking town – today the Hawley Silk Mill – was constructed in 1881 as the Bellemonte Silk Mill, the largest bluestone building in the world.
In 1922-25 another cycle of growth began with the damming of the Wallenpaupack Creek to generate hydroelectric power. The resulting completion in 1926 of a manmade lake (Lake Wallenpaupack) became the basis for real estate and tourism development.
Today the lake and authentic small town charm provide residents with a great place to live and tourists a great place to visit.