“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 founded, 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.