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.



11 thoughts on “Capturing the Past: John Horgan Jr. Photographs the Waverly Community House

  1. This is amazing! I will post tomorrow morning, I know it’ll be a big hit. People love these!

    Thanks again,



  2. Thank you for posting these great photos that I can share with my children more about my home town. Today, by chance, I was describing the postal boxes in the Waverly Community House when it was still upstairs on the main floor during my childhood in the 1970s. I was sent into a nostalgic reverie when I saw the antique brass mailboxes in the Carlsbad Village Post Office in California near where we are vacationing. The distinctive Grecian key trimmed boxes with ten-point alphabetic star combination locks like the ones that used to be in the Comm led me to seek out the numbers of my extended families long-held boxes and twist my fingers to see if I could remember our own box’s combination. The Carlsbad post office has kept the beautiful brass mailbox doors, but replaced all the combination nobs with key locks. I had to explain to my children why I was spinning my fingers in the air and why the lettered stars were originally placed on the doors. Thank you again for sharing the history of Waverly!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Michael,
    John Horgan Jr. was an Anthracite-era photographer primarily based in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. He was most active in the early 1900’s, until his death in 1925. For more information, I would definitely suggest contacting the Anthracite Heritage Museum, they have done many exhibits on Horgan and have compiled a book on his work as well. They can be reached by phone at: (570) 963-4804.


    • Thank you Gia,
      I have been learning, somewhat slowly, his biography and photography art. The postcard I have is of a posed photo of 6 women, maybe sisters, or wives of miners (?) I will make contact per you suggestion.
      Thank you for your response.


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