Cocktails and Community: Tennis at the Waverly Community House

As the summer begins to wind down, the Waverly Community House will prepare for its annual community event– Cocktails for the Courts. This fundraiser, held on the back lawn of the Comm, has been in place since 2009 and continues to attract more visitors with every passing year. The gathering initially began in order to facilitate the raising of funds for tennis court maintenance; however, after a few short years, the mission of Cocktails for the Courts expanded to include the funding of all of the Waverly Community House’s beloved programs and activities. Although this latest development has transpired, the Comm Tennis Courts do remain at the forefront of the event’s focus, and have always been a very important part of the Comm’s history.JH Tennis

Ever since the Waverly Community House opened in 1920, the tennis courts have remained  a gathering space for community members. Every passing summer was filled with tennis tournaments and exhibitions meant to keep visitors active and entertained during the warm, long days. These early matches continued every year and eventually grew to become much anticipated events that promoted healthy rivalry and fun spirited competition among friends and neighbors in the Abington area. Over the years, categories of play have included: doubles, singles, juniors, and mixed events; at one time there were even parent/child tournaments at the Comm. Men, women, teens, and children were all encouraged to play and the courts soon became a beloved space for those of all ages. The Tennis Courts at the Waverly Community House became so popular that summer holidays were often marked by corresponding tennis tournaments such as: the Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day Championships. More recent events, such as the Bengt T. Nelson Junior Tennis Team Classic have also been orchestrated by the Comm in collaboration with organizations such as Birchwood Tennis and Fitness and the Scranton Tennis Club. This tournament was held in honor of local resident and tennis player Bengt T. Nelson and brought participants together to remember his love of tennis and his love of the Comm. All in all, the Waverly Community House Tennis Courts have served to bring community members together for decades through camaraderie, friendly competition, and community spirit– all of which encompass the Comm’s dedication to all who enter its doors.

This year’s Cocktails for the Courts will take place this Friday, August 19th from 6-8 PM on the Comm’s back lawn; it will include live music, hors d’oeuvres, and cocktails. More information can be found on our website and Facebook page. Come and support a great cause!

 

Capturing the Past: John Horgan Jr. Photographs the Waverly Community House

In the early 1920’s, shortly after the Waverly Community House opened, it was featured in a pictorial series by local photographer John Horgan Jr. Mr. Horgan was a pioneer in the field of anthracite photography and focused heavily on capturing scenes from the local region, particularly the Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties. His work also took him to areas throughout the world as he frequently visited locations such as: Alabama, Illinois, Mexico, and New York; nonetheless, it was in 1921 when he found himself at the Waverly Community House. In fact, Horgan’s photographs remain the earliest professional images to be taken of the building; they are also some of the oldest pieces in our archive collection. In a black leather-bound book addressed to the Belin Family, the photographs depict each and every room and space within the facility, most of which had much different uses than they do today. You can find some of Mr. Horgan’s images attached below:

Bowling AlleysBowling Alleys: The Bowling Alley & Billiard Room was housed in the current After-School Room; it provided hours of entertainment for Community House guests, especially on Saturday nights. Right now, you can find our Level 2 campers enjoying their final week of Comm Camp.Canteen- Post OfficePost Office & Canteen: The Post Office & Canteen was situated in the Lobby where our current Canteen remains. When WCH first opened, penny candy and various other refreshments were sold there. Today, the Canteen is still very much in use as many people enjoy eating lunch and socializing in the space.LibraryLibrary: The first library at the Waverly Community House was once where the current upstairs Conference Room is today. The Memorial Library has since moved into the South Wing and the Conference Room is now primarily utilized for staff and board meetings.LobbyLobby: The original Lobby was initially called the Main Hall; it was primarily used for meetings and socializing. Presently, the Lobby still serves as a gathering space and its decor is changed seasonally to enhance the mood of the Comm and to correspond with many events such as the Artisan’s Marketplace and the Greenhouse and Kitchen Show. Wading PoolWading Pool: The Waverly Community House did have a pool in the 1920’s, it was frequently used in the summer and the children remained very fond of it; Wading Pool hours were from 2-4 pm in the Summer to ensure that children would be adequately supervised.

John Horgan Jr. died in 1926, but he is remembered in our region as a prominent and innovative photographer; his images of the Waverly Community House’s earliest years reinforce that reputation and depict a building that has withstood the test of time and continues to enhance the lives of community members with every passing decade.

 

 

Community Member Feature: Ferdinand Lammot Belin

“Wherever F. Lammot Belin lived, he created beauty. How fortunate we are that the hand, mind, and heart of Lammot touched our community. Patron of arts and artists, collector and creator, his love of beauty will be a benefit and inspiration to all now, and in the years to come.” (Board of Trustees, 1961)

Today’s Community Member Feature will highlight Henry Jr. and Margaretta Belin’s seventh born child, Ferdinand Lammot Belin. F. Lammot, as he is so often referred to, has left behind a legacy which reflects upon his love of art, beauty, and community engagement. His memory and spirit lives on at the Waverly Community House in the form of many art programs and activities, and of course through the beloved Belin Arts Scholarship, which was created by his son Peter in order to memorialize his father’s everlasting dedication to both the fine arts, and the community he loved. The F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship has continued to benefit greatly talented individuals for over five decades and has become one of the most treasured endowments administered by the Waverly Community House.

Born in Scranton on March 15th, 1881, F. Lammot followed in the footsteps of his older FLB 1brother Paul by attending Yale University as a young adult; he graduated in 1901 with a P.H.D and returned home to Northeastern Pennsylvania to join his family in the pursuit of many business and philanthropic related endeavors. Businesses and organizations F. Lammot Belin became involved with included: the Scranton Lace Company, the E. I. DuPont de Nemours Company, Traders National Bank, and Wyoming Shovel Works, to name a few; he was also a member of Scranton’s City Council. In 1912, Lammot married Frances Jermyn Belin, who later went on to fund the salary of the Waverly Community House nurse during the organization’s early years. The couple also became involved with the development of the first Abington Heights High School, which began undergoing construction in 1926. The five-acre plot on Glenburn Road was donated by Mr. and Mrs. F. Lammot Belin and construction began that summer with architect George M. D. Lewis overseeing the development. The new building was tremendously advanced for the time period– a fire proof, brick structure, with well-lit, heated classrooms for the students to enjoy. This school lasted until the mid-twentieth century and was a significant undertaking, as well as a greatly appreciated asset to the students in attendance. A lifelong lover of art, F. Lammot Belin was also a founding Trustee and Vice President of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

In addition to the aforementioned ventures of Mr. F. Lammot Belin, he also made a career for himself as a Foreign Service Officer; as an international diplomat, F. Lammot’s work often took him abroad where he held diplomatic posts. Places such as Istanbul and Peking were temporarily considered home for him and his family as he continued on this professional path. Of his travels, F. Lammot still maintained that, “Waverly was the loveliest place on earth,” and that, “it would always be considered home.” His love for his beloved community was reflected in various ways, and still continues to touch the lives of those who enjoy the Waverly Community House and all its offerings today.


The F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship will be featured in detail in another upcoming blog post, but for now you can read all about it by visiting the following websites below:

belinarts.org – For information related to the scholarship.

flbaf.org – For information regarding the upcoming Belin Film Festival.

Community Building: The Waverly Community House Playground

“Much could be accomplished if we keep in mind that we want to educate through recreation. It is said that the children of Waverly know only “how to play.” I wish that I thought they did know how– Oh, I would feel much had been accomplished.” (Paul Belin, 1929)

As part of its mission statement, the Waverly Community House has always placed a significant amount of emphasis on the importance of recreation, especially as it relates to the children of the community. Consequently, it goes without saying that one of the most utilized spaces at the Comm is the beloved playground which is always encompassed with the sounds of laughter and amusement– especially during the warmer months. The cherished background of this structure also contains its own historic narrative, one that signifies the importance of working together as a community to construct a gift for all to enjoy.

The Waverly Community House’s playground has been around for almost as long as the Jungle Gym 1929building itself; shortly after the Comm opened, the kindergarten classes began utilizing the space for recreational playtime, an important component of their studies. The notion of physical education was weaved into all aspects of the curriculum and was reiterated by both the Belin family and the staff who  believed it to be crucial to a child’s development. The first playground contained a jungle gym, a slide, and swings; many children took great pleasure in using the space for playtime and continued to become well rounded both mentally and physically. Having a space for children to engage in physical activity was also a fairly innovative idea for the 1920’s and corresponded with efforts nationwide to promote the concept for children everywhere– once again, the Waverly Community House was ahead of the curve and remained a revolutionary institution in America’s ever changing landscape.

In 1990, the Waverly Community House entered into a new era with plans for a new playground; this time, the space was given a complete overhaul when more than 100 volunteers from the area worked together to build a wooden facility complete with more space for children to use for various entertaining activities. This new space was also built with the help of the Pennsylvania Recreational and Rehabilitation Grant and was given a dedication in the name of Robert S. Leathers, who devoted much of his time towards designing playgrounds in community areas nationwide. This playground remained in use for many years until 2011 when another tremendous community effort helped construct the space that remains in use today.

PGAfter nearly 20 years of use, and visible wear and tear, the cherished playground was in need of repair and necessary updates. Consequently, in 2011 the Waverly Community House’s “Playground Project” was launched. In August of that year, after months of organization and fundraising efforts, community members gathered at the Comm equipped with their tools and enthusiasm to help reconstruct the recreational area which many volunteers, both young and old, remembered fondly. The former structure was torn down board by board as many worked tirelessly to get the project completed in a timely fashion. Groundbreaking for the event took place on August 24th, 2011 and Waverly Township Supervisor Ron Whitaker commenced the gathering by remarking on the great turnout and eagerness displayed by those who devoted their time towards the project. Among those in attendance were: Comm staff members, Abington Heights football team members and students, college students, young adults, older residents and more; most of those partaking in the reconstruction had fond memories attached to the playground and were eager to help give it its much needed face-lift. Ultimately, more than 600 people came out to help with the project and the finished product is the current playground in use at the Community House today; the structure continues to receive routine maintenance throughout the year and remains a very important part of the Comm’s daily operation.


The Waverly Community House playground signifies the importance of what can be achieved through community engagement, dedication, and interaction. It is a testament of community building and undoubtedly remains a significant part of the Comm’s history.

Decades of Success: The Waverly Community House Antiques Show and Sale

” A September afternoon, an elegant day out, an experience…an opportunity. If its treasure you’re looking for, you will find it at the Annual Antiques Show and Sale at the Waverly Community House.” (Sunday Sun, 1991)

In the early 1940’s, the Waverly Community House began holding what would later become one of its most anticipated events– the Waverly Antiques Show and Sale. This show, deeply rooted in the Comm’s history, began as a “white elephant” style exhibition which only contained approximately 11 vendors. These initial dealers mainly traveled from the Northeastern United States to showcase fine items such as: china, glassware and furniture. These early shows usually took place during weekdays; additionally, guests were invited to dinner at one of the nearby churches after spending the day antiquing. The first show was held in 1943 and steadily evolved until the final exhibition in 2012.

Ant ShowAs with most events, the Antiques Show expanded in both size and scope over nearly seven decades at the Waverly Community House. As more vendors joined the Comm’s roster, items showcased also began to become more diverse and eclectic, suited to a broad range of styles and interests. Over the years, pieces featured in the show contained: silverware, dining sets, glassware, furniture, crystal, jewelry, art, knick knacks and many more unique objects for those attending to choose from. Another remarkable aspect of the exposition was the historic loan exhibit; each year, the show would feature a display consisting of genuine past antique materials in order to create a truly memorable experience. Interesting past loan exhibitions included: “Empire Period Bedroom Furniture (1950),” “the Victorian Drawing Room (1951),” Lilliputian Furniture and Antique Dolls (1966),” “Civil War Period Boudoirs (1973),” and “Costumes of China (1982),” to name a few. These fascinating exhibits undoubtedly added to the show’s vibrancy over the years and continued to draw many visitors.

CaptureAnother interesting aspect added as the Antiques Show developed was the implementation of “Waverly Walking Tours.” In the 1980’s, guests were encouraged to participate in a historic walk around the four blocks surrounding the Waverly Community House with tour guide William P. Lewis of the Lackawanna Historical Society, and in later years, resident and architect, Ned Connell. These tours were focused on both the history surrounding Waverly, and the architecture in the local area. With the addition of the tours, along with the aforementioned loan exhibition, attendees were able to obtain a genuine glimpse of the past, which remained complementary to the theme of the overall show.


Over the years, the Waverly Community House Antiques Show evolved and developed in many ways to suit the needs of the community and its guests. What began as a small weekday show, eventually ended as a full scale weekend event with a large number of both vendors and visitors alike; the small dinners held at local churches were also replaced with gourmet lunches and preview parties as the show started its final run. In September of 2012, the Waverly Community House held its last Antiques Show with nearly 70 years of exhibitions under its belt; the Community House staff, volunteers, and Board of Trustees ensured that the final show remained memorable and served to commemorate the first show which transpired so many years ago. Nonetheless, the Antiques Show remains a crucial element in the Comm’s history and served to influence many shows and events that later followed. Currently, the Comm is working on reinstating the Historic Walking Tours with the addition of some crucial information pertaining to the Underground Railroad, which was especially significant in Waverly; stay tuned for more information regarding this upcoming project.

 

On the Home Front: The Waverly Community House & World War II

“These are probably the most serious days that any citizen of this country has lived through since the Civil War. We feel that for the duration, our biggest task is the fullest cooperation with the Defense Effort– and to this end, we dedicate the use of every facility of the Waverly Community House and its staff.” (Community House Board of Trustees, 1943)

In the early 1940’s, the United States approached a time of significant political and social change with its involvement in the Second World War; after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, daily life throughout the nation was considerably transformed. As the country’s landscape dramatically altered, and as men and women left the tight knit community to serve in the United States Armed Forces, the Waverly Community House remained a symbolic structure of resilience for both those on the home front, and those serving the US. It was during this pivotal time in history that the Comm adapted to meet the needs of the community by adopting various new programs, events, and activities aimed at taking on America’s new landscape and providing various critical services to both the local region, and the country as a whole.


The Waverly Community House WWII Newsletter

Perhaps one of the most notable contributions made by the Waverly Community House during World War II was the Home Town Newsletter. As men and women began to enlist in the Armed Forces, they became stationed in different areas throughout both the US and abroad; it wasn’t long before those away from home began to miss their friends and families in their close knit community. In 1942, Waverly Community House Executive Director Robert Dixon, along with various staff members, created a monthly newsletter to alleviate some of the detachment felt by those away from friends and family. Dixon and staff worked hard to compile a list of names and addresses of those serving in the Armed Forces and soon began distributing the monthly newsletters to as many men and women as possible. It quickly became treasured among all who received it and was produced throughout the duration of the entire war.

The structure of the newsletter was revolved around keeping those “out of the loop” on community related events and relationships informed on all transpiring within Waverly and the surrounding areas. It was also designed to keep those at home up to date on those away from home; thus ensuring that no one ever felt entirely disconnected from one another. The “Bits from Home” section was devoted to all of the aforementioned events including but not limited to: engagement and wedding news, Comm related news, the weather at home, birth announcements, and other small town stories. Comparatively, the “Dots and Dashes from Servicemen’s Flashes” section aimed at providing those at home brief updates on those currently serving the country, often in their own words. Concluding each newsletter was a list of the addresses of those scattered around the world so that recipients could keep in contact with friends and family. Through these newsletters, community members near and far could still feel the companionship of their beloved friends and family members even during a time of conflict and instability. These publications also served as a boost to the morale of those who were stationed away and their fellow soldiers unfamiliar with Waverly became amazed at the closeness of the community.

NL 3

Quotes from the WCH Home Town Newsletters:

“This newsletter is the first of a series that your hometown hopes to issue from time to time. Its purpose is simple: to make you feel that you are the same vital part of the community that you always have been, to strengthen the ties with your friends in the service by keeping you informed of their location and activities, and to assure you that we at home firmly believe in the cause for which you are making sacrifices and undergoing hardships. We are determined to do all in our power to bring the War to a speedy and victorious end.” (Newsletter No. 1, 1942)

“Your prefect description in last month’s newsletter of Waverly in the springtime did make me homesick, yes. But, at the same time (and I hope this doesn’t sound as though I am blowing the patriotic horn), I felt that this was a description of the kind of home for which we are willing to fight.” (Richard Stoeckel, “Dots and Dashes,” July 1943)

“People didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about when I spoke of the Community House, and the picture in the latest newsletter was the solution to my problem. My fellow nurses here fell for the names of the boys and they are wondering if you will ever put their pictures in your letters.” (Barbara White, “Dots and Dashes,” Jan. 1944)

“My buddies had never heard of Waverly, PA before but right now, thanks to such things as the newsletter and the Christmas package, they know what and where Waverly is, and many wish they lived there.” (John Hull, “Dots and Dashes,” Jan. 1944)


gsIn addition to the treasured newsletter, the Waverly Community House remained devoted to serving the local region and country in various ways during the duration of the War; programs and activities were structured towards engaging the community to stay actively involved in efforts revolved around WWII. One example of such an activity was the salvaging of metal and paper for the war effort; notices titled “Salvage News” were distributed throughout the neighborhood encouraging residents to save and donate items such as: newspapers, magazines, license plates, metal cans and more. The local Boy Scouts would then assemble in the Comm Lobby and collect such items. Defense meetings were also held at the Comm and focused on the possibility of an invasion on United States territory. The Community House truck’s dinner bell served as an impending signal for the possibility of such an attack and staff member Joe Dixon often drove around completing test drills; this was designed to adequately prepare those at home for a possible invasion. The local Girl Scouts also became involved on the home front by knitting afghans, sweaters, and socks for soldiers under the direction of Comm staff. The Comm even had a bulletin board designated for defense activity postings to keep those informed and up to date on the latest events and programs. These were simply a few of the ways that the Waverly Community House stood as a symbol of resilience and companionship during a time of conflict and uncertainty.

As we all know, World War II ended in 1945; slowly but surely, life in Waverly went back to normal as those in the community uttered a sigh of relief for the end of the conflict. Daily operations at the Community House also returned to normalcy and the 25th Anniversary that had since gone past during the duration of the War stood as a reminder of the organization’s dedication to community members near and far. The Comm remains symbolic of that dedication and civic responsibility many years later as the nation is confronted with different concerns affecting the mindset of its citizens. As the Waverly Community House approaches its centennial anniversary, it is indicative of its everlasting mission to serve the community of all ages, throughout all stages of daily life.


Final Home Town Newsletter, 1945

“In bringing another newsletter to its close, we would like to extend to each one of you our sincere appreciation and congratulations on a job well done in the good old American way. We are mindful of the fact that many of you did not get into combat, which, of course, does not diminish in any way your contribution as we have learned that it takes the “teamwork of every bloomin’ soul,” to do the job that has been accomplished so successfully. May your future days in the service be very limited in number so that you can return soon to the life of peace that you have earned the hard way. All of us are waiting patiently to see you and to say, “Hiyah Fellow.” (Waverly Community House)

 

Celebrating Independence: July 4th at the Waverly Community House

Summertime is always full of activity at the Waverly Community House; the season is usually filled with: picnics, Comm Camp, tennis tournaments, and much more. This blog post will shed light upon the way that the Comm used to observe Independence Day, which was typically an all-day event celebrating the occasion. Patriotism has always been strong among community members and the Waverly Community House made it part of their mission to ensure that the nationalistic fervor thrived through Comm programs. In the summer of 1923, the Waverly Athletic Association began their sponsorship of the WCH’s annual Fourth of July picnic. The WAA operated out of the Comm and functioned as a social organization for community members; the Independence Day event was simply one of various gatherings promoted by the club throughout the year. Like many others, this occurrence quickly gained popularity among residents of Waverly and the surrounding areas and was highly anticipated every year.

The first Fourth of July celebration began at 9:00 AM on the morning of July 4th, 1923; the 4th Postervery busy day commenced with a tennis tournament which would last until finals that afternoon. At 3:30 PM, community members were welcomed to watch a baseball game in which married men squared off against single men in the fun filled event. After this, dinner was served followed by a dance, a bonfire, and fireworks which lasted well into the evening. This initial event was very popular among all who attended and plans were quickly set in motion for future celebrations. Over the years, the Fourth of July Reception at the Comm evolved to include activities such as: potato sack races, bicycle races, a 50 yard dash, a wheelbarrow race, and many more spirited competitions designed to engage the community. Thus, the Fourth of July became yet another instance in which residents gathered at the Comm to become enriched through recreational programs and events.

Although this particular event no longer takes place at the Comm, the Fourth of July celebration remains a historic demonstration of how dedicated the Flag 1Waverly Community House has been, and continues to be, towards meeting the needs of the community. In this case, residents were able to engage in lighthearted activities among friends while celebrating Independence Day. As always, this July is scheduled to be no different as the Comm prepares for the many activities and functions on our calendar; the first week of Comm Camp is also well underway. Current events to look forward to this summer include: the Comm Square Fair, art classes, tennis clinics, Cocktails for the Courts, and many more.

The Waverly Community House wishes everyone a safe and fun filled Fourth of July!

Community Member Feature: Paul Beck Belin

“We belong to the order of men and women who know that the ills, blights, limitations, disabilities, and curses from which human society suffers, can be greatly abated–and many of them entirely eliminated. Pessimism cannot paralyze our faith; petty and vicious factors cannot dim our optimism.” (Paul Belin, Annual Meeting 1927)

Paul Beck Belin, son of Henry Jr. and Margaretta, will be the focus of today’s Community PBMember Feature. As the couple’s oldest son, Paul emulated his parents in many ways, especially as it pertains to both business and philanthropy. Paul was involved in various community related activities and organizations. He also played a pivotal role in the construction of the Waverly Community House to which we are eternally grateful. Nonetheless, the legacy that Paul has left is one that is entirely his own; it is one of promise, hope, and optimism; these sentiments all live on through the Comm’s various programs and activities.

Paul Belin was born on July 26th, 1875; as a young adult, he attended both Yale University and Columbia University before embarking on a brief career in architecture. In fact, it was his knowledge on the subject, as well as his rapport with George M. D. Lewis that influenced family members to contract Lewis to facilitate work on the Comm. However, much like his father, Paul was more interested in business and in 1898, he began his career at the Scranton Lace Company as Treasurer and General Manager of the facility. He remained in that position until 1918 when he then took over as company President.

During his time at Scranton Lace, Paul quickly became known among employees as a generous and kind employer; this was much attributed to his interest in and concern for the general welfare of his staff. One of the most revered gestures associated with Mr. Belin’s benevolence came during an employee dinner in October of 1928; at a reception hall in Green Ridge, the company President personally distributed cash and securities amounting to more than a half million dollars to approximately 200+ valued staff members. This event became well known throughout the area and was significantly covered in all local media outlets; Mr. Belin’s actions that night became historic in nature and his staff members remained in awe of this kind deed. In addition to financially rewarding his employees, Paul Belin took great interest in the mental and physical well being of men and women working at the company. In the same manner as his father, Paul continued the tradition of workplace recreation with the implementation of leisure spaces throughout the plant; in these designated rooms, staff members enjoyed various activities such as; dancing, gymnastics, and socializing. He also opened up the pool at his estate, “Lenni” several days a week throughout the summer months for employee swimming, this idea was virtually unheard of at the time and added to his reputation as a generous innovator in the industry. These acts of kindness paid off for Mr. Belin in the form of employee loyalty; during his time at the plant, one of which transpired during the height of workplace strikes in America, the Scranton Lace Company remained one of few facilities in the area to never have a walkout. Under his leadership, the company prospered, and became known throughout the United States as a leading industrial enterprise.Scr Lace Bowling


In addition to his involvement with the Scranton Lace Company, it goes without saying that Paul Belin was a key contributor in the creation of the Waverly Community House. Along with his mother and siblings, Paul remained dedicated to preserving and memorializing his father’s memory in the form of the recreational facility. In fact, many of the early programs were heavily influenced by Mr. Belin and he continued to be very involved with the Comm until his untimely death in 1930. A quote in his Scranton Republican obituary discusses Mr. Belin’s legacy as follows:

“There is profound reason for mourning the loss of this man of talent, outstanding personal character and personal growth; this man who year after year placed on the altar of public use and quiet charity so large a share of the success won by himself, this man who combined energy of action with deep thoughtfulness. He did his duty to all, and he measured his duty by standards so generous that those in the sorrow of bereavement may find consolation in the honor in which his memory will be held.”

Paul Belin’s memory lives on at the Comm not only in the form of our programs and activities, but also in the spirit of community and giving, which is first and foremost in our purpose.

Celebrating the Past: The Waverly Community House’s 60th Anniversary Jubilee

“Sixty years after its dedication in 1920, the Waverly Community House thrives– only one in a handful of such facilities still in existence in the United States today. One needs to spend only a short amount of time on any weekday afternoon in the Community House Lobby to feel the deep rooted sense of stability fostered there by the close fellowship of people of all ages–a scarce phenomenon in today’s fast paced, fragmented society.” (Abington Voice, 1980)

In the summer of 1980, the Waverly Community House held a week long celebration to honor the anniversary of its official dedication ceremony, which took place in 1920. The commemorative ceremony was in the form of a week long arts fair and ran from June 15th- June 22nd, with multiple events scheduled for both adults and children to enjoy. On June 15th, the gathering kicked off with a watercolor demonstration by well known artist Valfred Thelin who was also a signature member of the American Watercolor Society. Other events and programs included: an organ recital given by Barbara Harbach and Jack Hennigan, a “program of music and song,” presented by Thomas Fallon, John Hyer, and Roosevelt Newson, a “words and music” presentation given by Christine Donahue and Richard Wargo, and various additional performances and exhibitions aimed to honor both the arts, and the talented local artists who participated in the event.

DedicationThe occasion’s final day contained a “Rededication Ceremony,” during which, a speech was given by Captain Peter Belin regarding the Waverly Community House’s extraordinary historical significance. This service was followed by an old fashioned band concert, reminiscent of the performance by Lawrence’s Band during the 1920 dedication. The Waverly Community House was also added to the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places in 1980, which made for a very special birthday present. Local newspaper publication, “The Voice” produced an 8-part series on the Comm, its history, and the anniversary celebration which served as a fitting conclusion of the festivities.


The Waverly Community House’s 60th Anniversary Celebration is simply one example of Happy 60ththe institution’s dedicated staff, Board of Trustees, volunteers, and valued community members gathering together to honor the historic cornerstone of the community. As the centennial anniversary of the 1919 laying of the Comm’s cornerstone approaches, this post serves as reminder of how much the Waverly Community House has meant, and continues to mean to the treasured members of our local community.

 

 

 

 

Community Member Feature: Margaretta Lammot Belin

“The Waverly Community House is a magnificent gift to Waverly by Mrs. Henry Belin Jr. in memory of her husband who passed to rest on Christmas Day, 1917. The monument is worthy of Mrs. Belin, whose annual benefaction for years in furnishing the finances for the community picnic at Lake Winola during the summer season, had already created an affection for her by the people of Abington. (Historic Abington, Alfred Twining 1920)

Margaretta Lammot Belin, wife of Henry Belin Jr., holds a special place in the history of the Waverly Community House. As the opening quote from historian Alfred Twining would suggest, Mrs. Belin was affectionately beloved by community members in the Abington area due to her generosity and kind spirit. Her philanthropic nature prompted her to establish the Waverly Community House, not only to memorialize her late husband, but to also bestow a gift to the community she cherished immeasurably. This gift continues to benefit the public today in a multitude of ways through camps, classes, events, and various other programs designed to engage local residents.

Margaretta Elizabeth Lammot was born in Delaware in 1846 to Ferdinand Fairfax Lammot and Marietta Allen. She married Henry Belin Jr. in 1868 in Wilmington, Delaware; the couple then relocated to the Scranton area in 1869 where Henry acquired the directorial position at the E.I. DuPont de Nemours facility. It was in the Scranton area where Margaretta became involved with another organization that deserves historical recognition– the Hahnemann Hospital. Before her involvement in the establishment of the Waverly Community House, Margaretta, along with a group of 14 other women were behind the creation of the Scranton based hospital. In 1897, the medical center was Margaretta Belin Portrait 2founded, and in 1905, it officially began operating out of a rented building in the city. In the hospital’s early years, Mrs. Belin donated a large sum of money towards its creation; she also funded and created the organization’s home for the school of nurses. Hahnemann later evolved into the Community Medical Center, which is now the Geisinger Hospital; it remains the city’s leading medical care facility today. This is only one of Mrs. Belin’s early philanthropic endeavors for which she will forever remain notable; a quote from her obituary in the Scranton Times described her accomplishments as follows: “Her acts of kindness give expression in manifold ways of her nature, and have endeared Mrs. Belin to a legion of friends. The liberality of her contributions in aid of numerous enterprises have occasioned the highest praise from all benefiting, and the people at large who have learned to regard Mrs. Belin as a woman of noble character.”


Margaretta Belin’s spirit lives on through various establishments in the local area; she will especially remain significant at the Waverly Community House due to her enormous contribution of not only a memorial building, but a community vision that has continued to thrive for nearly a century.