Community Member Feature: Gertrude Coursen

“Community Houses are more or less a new idea in this country and we know that they have come to remain, for they meet a real human need. It is up to us and to others who are pioneers in this field of activity to set our standards and ideals high. These ideals can be made practical only with the help of each and all. The grown ups cannot do it alone, the young people cannot do it alone. If the people of the community continue to pull together, as they have begun, toward the goal of health, happiness, and service, this community will become more and more as one upon a hill, which lets its light shine in rich blessing to others.” (Gertrude Coursen, April 1926)

The Waverly Community House Archives would like to wish all of our readers a very Happy New Year– we have a lot of exciting events planned for 2018 and cannot wait to share them with all of you! Today’s Community Member Feature will be dedicated to Gertrude Coursen, a very ambitious, enthusiastic woman who remains present in spirit, especially through our Archive and educational programs at the Waverly Community House.

GC 2Gertrude Coursen was born in Scranton on July 16th, 1882; she was just in her late twenties when she began her career as Community House Secretary in 1920. In this role Miss Coursen, as she was known, supervised daily operations at the Comm; her tasks included but were not limited to: helping organize the Annual Fair, providing Annual Meeting reports, conceptualizing new programs, and much more. Although she was very passionate about all of her tasks, her greatest joy, evidenced in her archival recollections, was undoubtedly her role as kindergarten teacher. Coursen cared strongly about the children of the community and was constantly seeking ways to enrich their lives in both educational and recreational aspects. Likewise, as evidenced through her Annual Meeting reports, she was dedicated to conducting research in order to seek innovative ways to enhance the Comm’s Kindergarten program. From 1930-1931, Gertrude Coursen took a sabbatical from her duties at the Waverly Community House and spent several months studying social welfare work and traveling to other community houses throughout the country; some of the places she visited included New York City, Chicago, and areas abroad in Europe. While there, she observed kindergarten classes in order to determine how the Comm’s program measured up. In a 1931 letter, she assured the Board of Trustees that the curriculum, as well as the operations of the Waverly Community House as a whole, were as advanced as those in larger cities. When she returned, she remained passionate about her role as kindergarten teacher and she frequently sought out new ways to aid the children on their journey of becoming well rounded adults; her Annual Meeting reports were filled with quotes and research conducted from various publications such as the National Education Magazine. Throughout her time teaching, she not only focused on education, but insisted on dedicating ample time for recreational activities as well as evidenced in this quote from the 1932 Annual Meeting: “Children have a right to health, to normal growth and development, to security, and to the happiness which comes from true play.” Constantly striving to make the community a better place through education and recreation was a passion of Miss Coursen and it showed throughout her work as both Comm Secretary and Kindergarten Teacher; those who wrote of her in archival publications spoke of her, and the program’s success fondly and often. Henry Belin Jr. III, wrote of Coursen and the Kindergarten in 1938 as follows: “The kindergarten, under the direction of Miss Coursen, assisted by Miss Eynon and Mrs. Doud has maintained the usual high standard that we have been accustomed to in Waverly. It is a great satisfaction to all of us to realize that people from as far away as Scranton prefer to have their children attend the Waverly Kindergarten. Miss Coursen has ably carried on the duties which are required of her at the Community House, which has run smoothly under her able guidance.”

While highly successful in her instructional duties, Gertrude Coursen’s significance cannot simply be measured in that regard however; Miss Coursen was one of the first creators of what is now an entire archival collection housed at the Waverly Community House. Beginning in 1920, Coursen meticulously collected each and every newspaper article, photograph, and report regarding the Comm; she then organized them into scrapbooks arranged by date and year. These books were added to regularly until the late 1940’s when Coursen left and other methods of collecting materials by her successors began. The Waverly Community House Archive would not be complete without Miss Coursen and for that we are grateful. We will close out today’s post below with a memorable quote from her 1922 Annual Meeting report.

“We as a community have a big place to fill in serving– many other communities are hoping and working so that they may too have a community house. In a measure, they are looking to us. May we always remember that its the spirit which counts– that the Waverly Community House may be one of true happiness, example, and service.”


In other news, the Waverly Community House is currently accepting donations of materials in preparation for our centennial anniversary. If you have any memorabilia, photographs, news articles, or materials relating to the Comm and Waverly that you would like to donate, please contact us at: (570) 586-8191 ex. 7, or via email at We would love to be able to feature your memories in our centennial!

Community Member Feature: Gaspard D’Andelot Belin

“Gaspard D’Andelot Belin must be prominently identified with public affairs and movements for the betterment of Scranton and its people. He is dedicated to giving the most unselfish service to the community and many who know him speak of his devotion to his untiring efforts (Scranton’s most Interesting People: Scrantonian, 1927).”

Today’s blog post will be dedicated to the youngest Belin child, Gaspard D’Andelot Belin; born in 1888, Mr. Belin went on to leave his impression on the community through various business and philanthropic endeavors. He is remembered vividly in archival articles stored at the Waverly Community House not only for his involvement with the Comm, but for his intelligence regarding business matters and his dedication to charitable efforts.

Following his childhood, Gaspard D’Andelot Belin attended Yale University, subsequently gdagraduating in 1908. He began his career shortly after, starting as a silk mill worker at the Klots Throwing Mill in Carbondale, PA where he made just six dollars per week. After six short years, Gaspard became manager of the company showing dedication and perseverance in his career. He later joined the E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company of Pennsylvania, where he eventually became President of the Executive Committee. In 1946, Mr. Belin became president of Scranton’s First National Bank, the largest bank in the area. In addition to his business related ventures, Gaspard held many positions in the community as well; some of his other involvements included: serving as President of the Scranton State School for the Deaf, Trustee and Treasurer of the Community Chest of Scranton, and President of the Community Welfare Association. He was also an active board member on the Hahnemann Hospital’s committee. In May of 1931, he attended the dedication ceremony for the Waverly Community House’s two additional wings where he presented the second family donation of land in facilitation of the expansion.

Mr. Belin died in 1954, but is fondly remembered at the Waverly Community House for his determination, and dedication to community welfare. The wing expansion is simply one of the ways Gaspard D’Andelot Belin has given back to the Comm and Waverly.

Community Member Feature: F. Lammot “Peter” Belin Jr.

“My father died in July of 1961, and I am currently engaged in examining the possibility of setting up a scholarship in his memory to foster the development of scholars and artists in the field of fine arts.” (Peter Belin Jr., letter to Trustees, 1963)

The upcoming weeks here at the Waverly Community House will be full of activity as we prepare for the very first Belin Film Festival. To commemorate this exciting endeavor, a series of blog posts detailing the history of the F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship, and those who have contributed to its creation and success will be posted. In this introductory entry, we will discuss the gentleman who, through the love for his father, his community, and the arts, was able to conceptualize a gift which has continued to benefit talented individuals for decades. As we enter into this new phase of development for the Belin Arts Scholarship and Foundation, we are honored to have been able to sustain and expand this unique gift through the Waverly Community House, the Board of Trustees, and of course, the Belin Family.

F. Lammot “Peter” Belin Jr. was born on February 3, 1913 in Scranton, Pennsylvania tocapture parents Ferdinand Lammot Belin and his wife, Frances Jermyn Belin. As an adolescent, Peter received his education at schools in Switzerland and the US before graduating from Yale University in 1936. After graduating from Yale, Peter spent some time at the Paris Institute of Political Studies ( L’Ecole des Sciences Politiques) with the ultimate goal of entering into a career in diplomatic services. In 1937, Peter found himself on the ill-fated Hindenburg; he miraculously survived the disaster and went on to enter into 20 year career with the United States Navy. Just two years after the Hindenburg disaster, Peter married Mary Dickson Cootes; the couple became very active in local philanthropic efforts which later resulted in numerous contributions to organizations dedicated to the performing arts and historic preservation. Peter and Mary also became involved with charitable efforts to benefit many children’s hospitals in their local region as well. In 1960, Peter retired from the US Navy as Captain and correspondingly became very focused on continuing to serve the region in a multitude of ways over the next two decades. Consequently, after his father’s death in 1961, Peter became primarily dedicated to creating a gift to benefit the community in his memory. With the help of the very dedicated Board of Trustees at the Waverly Community House, the F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship was established; the first winner of the fund, Carol Leah Jones, was named in 1964 and the tradition has continued ever since.

Peter Belin died on February 23, 1982; however, he has left behind a legacy in the form of a memorial gift which has continued to benefit and encourage those with a passion for the fine arts to develop their talents in his father’s memory. As we enter into new territory within the realm of everlasting possibility for this scholarship, Peter Belin’s generosity and dedication remains at the forefront of our goals at the Waverly Community House.

The Belin Arts Scholarship, its mission, and its winners will be discussed in the next blog post, stay tuned!

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: – For information related to the scholarship. – For information regarding the upcoming Belin Film Festival.

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.

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.


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.



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:


Community Member Feature: WCH Architect George M. D. Lewis

Today’s issue of the Scranton Times features a segment on George M.D. Lewis; this article was written as a component of their series titled: 150 People who made Scranton Great, which focuses on those who have left an everlasting impact on the city. To follow suit, we thought now would be a good time to introduce the innovative architect & emphasize his contribution not only to the city of Scranton, but to the community of Waverly ,particularly with his role in constructing the Waverly Community House.

G Lewis

When the Belin family began discussing their plans for the proposed memorial to their recently deceased patriarch,they were initially unsure of how to actualize their vision. Discussions of a memorial park were suggested, however, son Paul Beck Belin thought that simply offering a space for outdoor recreation was limiting to the community. One night, the Belins met with George M. D. Lewis, who had just returned from fighting in WWI with Margaretta Belin’s grandson, Nathaniel Robertson. When the conversation turned to the memorial conception, Lewis, an architectural school graduate, had much to offer on the subject. A frequent reader of professional publications, George M.D. Lewis brought forth the idea of building a community house; this suggestion resonated with both Paul and his mother because it would allow the community to enjoy both indoor & outdoor recreational space. Consequently, the Waverly Community House was conceptualized, and plans were drafted by Lewis, who was more than eager to get his career started. The architect’s inspiration for the renowned design reflects heavy influence from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall & other federal buildings in the US.

WCH First Floor JH

WCH First Floor Plan

In the months following the initial dinner discussion between the Belin family & George Lewis, the Waverly Community House was constructed. Residents marveled at the building’s unique design & the amount of facilities that it offered such as: a post office, auditorium, bowling alley, and much more.

Shortly after Lewis started working on the WCH’s design, he began his career working with fellow designer Edward Davis. As discussed in the Scranton Times piece, he later went on to become one of the most innovative & distinguished architects in Scranton. He is particularly remembered for his contribution to the area’s architectural landscape transformation. Some individual buildings he is credited with designing are: the Scranton Times building, Hahnemann Hospital (now the Community Medical Center), & the Scranton State School for the Deaf, among many others. The Waverly Community House however, was Lewis’ first commissioned piece of work, which undoubtedly makes him an integral component of our history.

For more on Lewis, you can view the Scranton Times article here:

Sources: Classical Scranton: Davis and Lewis 1920-1943 (Josephine Dunn & Edward D. Lewis).