Community Member Feature: Henry Belin Jr.

Once again, we are thrilled to announce that the Scranton Times has chosen to report on yet another individual who remains near and dear to our hearts, Mr.Henry Belin Jr. Like George M.D. Lewis, Mr. Belin is featured as part of the series: 150 People who made Scranton Great; the article discusses his involvement with various businesses & organizations in the Scranton area. Mr. Belin was a dedicated businessman & philanthropist in the local community, and as previously disclosed, the inspiration behind the Waverly Community House.

Henry Belin Jr. was born September 23, 1843 at West Point, NY where his father, Henry Belin Sr. had been stationed at the US Military Academy. As a young adult, Henry Jr. attended Yale University, from which he graduated in 1863; after commencement, Henry began his career with the E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company where he later became president.

 

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In 1870, Henry relocated his family to Scranton where he continued to work for the DuPont Company. He remained president of the company until his death in 1917.

In addition to his involvement with the powder manufacturing facility, Mr. Belin was affiliated with a number of other businesses and organizations such as: the Scranton State School for the Deaf, First National Bank, the Cherry River Paper Company, & the Scranton Lace Company, to name a few. In fact, his role at the Scranton Lace Company later went on to influence the Comm’s emphasis on recreation. While serving as director of the aforementioned company, Henry Belin placed great value on the notion of providing his employees with leisurely activities to engage in outside of the workplace; such activities included: bowling, baseball, & basketball. In providing these kinds of opportunities, Mr. Belin believed that his staff would have a healthier, happier mindset, making them more productive within their respected professions at the company. This concept was quite effective & innovative, especially considering the time period; consequently, Henry Belin was well respected & highly regarded by his employees.

Henry Belin Jr. continued to serve his community in some capacity until his death on Christmas Day in 1917. After his passing, his family later went on to honor his commitment to recreation & philanthropy by creating the Waverly Community House. Mr. Belin remains remembered & honored here at the Comm through our various programs & events held for the public. Through dedication to civic spirit & engagement, the recreational gift continues to give back to the community that meant so much to Mr. Belin & his family.

The Scranton Times article on Henry Belin Jr. can be found here: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/150-people-who-made-scranton-great-henry-belin-jr-1.2016532

 

Welcome: The Waverly Community House Archives

Welcome to the Waverly Community House Archive Blog, a site dedicated to sharing the historic Special Collections held at the Waverly Community House. Our goal here is to share bits and pieces of our history by providing access to many of the documents, photographs, and other hidden gems stored in the South Wing’s Archive Space. Please feel free to make comments, ask questions, and make suggestions for materials that you would like to see featured on this blog.

In our first post, we thought it fitting to focus on the Belin family & their generous gift to the community of Waverly in 1919.

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Belin Family, Waverly PA, 1902

In 1917, after Henry Belin Jr.’s death, his wife & children wished to commemorate and memorialize his everlasting spirit and dedication to the community of Waverly. Through careful consideration, the remaining family members thought it fitting to establish a place designated for community recreation, education, and civic engagement. Thus, in 1919, the cornerstone to the Waverly Community House was laid; the building officially opened its doors to the public in 1920. It soon became affectionately known as “the Comm,” and residents from the region became fond of the space which provided refuge from the stress of daily life. Early events & programs held at the Comm included: the Annual Fair & Farming Exhibition, Kindergarten classes, Boy & Girl Scout meetings, moving picture shows, and many more.

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The Waverly Community House

In 1927, after Henry’s widow Margaretta passed, the remaining children added two additional wings onto the building’s structure in memory of their mother. Various other elements & structures have been added to the Comm throughout the years in memory of other family members & loved ones.

Through its tremendous spirit of dedication, the Waverly Community House has served the region for decades, and will continue to do so due to the loyal board members, donors, staff, and volunteers who preserve & maintain the building & its everlasting significance in the community.

For more on the Comm’s history, check out our website: http://waverlycomm.org/history-2/