In the late 18th century, pioneers moving west through the woodlands of northeastern Pennsylvania found a place where three creeks converged. They settled there and built a sawmill, eventually rafting lumber down the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers to Philadelphia. The first child of the settlement was born in 1812 and the first store opened in 1827. The following year the Delaware & Hudson Canal, running from Honesdale to New York, was completed and anthracite coal began moving on barges along towpaths to the New York markets.

From the 1840s to the 1860s the area experienced great prosperity. The Pennsylvania Coal Company completed a gravity railroad as another route to connect the coal mines and the canals. People were employed at the transfer docks, in train car and repair shops, storehouses and other business places. At first the town was known as Paupack Eddy. It was renamed the Falls Port, then Hawleysburgh in honor of Irad Hawley, the first president of the Pennsylvania Coal Company. In 1851, the name was shortened to its present name, Hawley.

With the arrival in 1865 of the Erie Railroad, use of the canal and the gravity railroad declined. The basin of the canal system was filled in and became a playing field. In 1929 the Albert W. Bingham family donated the land to the borough as a park that now bears the family's name. Other industries succeeded Hawley's lumber and coal beginnings, including fine cut glass and silk and textile mills.

Another cycle of growth and prosperity began for this community in 1925. In that year, the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company dammed the nearby Wallenpaupack Creek for hydroelectric power and created the largest man-made lake in the state. Hawley's back yard became a new resource for recreational and business opportunities that continue today.


Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP)