Building Community through the Arts: The Belin Arts Scholarship

“I am so grateful to the members of the Waverly Community House Board of Trustees, and the Waverly community, who have given so generously their time and effort to bring forth this scholarship in memory of my father (Peter Belin, 1963).”

In the last blog post, we featured Peter Belin Jr. who , through his dedication to the capturecommunity, the arts, and the desire to memorialize his late father, created the Belin Arts Scholarship. This endowment was first awarded in 1964 and has gone on to benefit talented individuals for decades; it has provided awards to men and women from various different backgrounds and regional areas, engaging in a multitude of disciplines such as: painting, music, dance,literature, architecture, printmaking, and more. This year, as we enter into a new era of development for the Belin Arts Scholarship and Foundation, we remain dedicated and committed to continuing the vision of Peter Belin and his amazing gift to the community on behalf of his father.

The Belin Arts Scholarship

On July 6th, 1961, Ferdinand Lammot Belin passed away; Mr. Belin, who was a lifelong lover of the arts, as well as an active community member, remained very passionate about beautification efforts and became involved with many different restoration projects throughout his life. F. Lammot also remained very devoted to the Waverly Community House and its mission. One of the most significant examples of his dedication to the Comm came in 1958 when he facilitated a much appreciated expansion of the auditorium in memory of his beloved wife Frances Jermyn Belin who had passed away in 1945. After his death 16 years later, his son Peter continued the memorial tradition that helped create the Comm so long ago in 1919 by giving back to the community in remembrance of a loved one; this time, the arts remained the focus of commemorative efforts. This gift, initially labeled the F. Lammot Belin Memorial Fund, would go on to evolve into a sustained benefaction, with those awarded spanning in age ranges, geographical locations, and cultural boundaries. The Belin Arts Scholarship, as it was later called, would go on to become one of the most coveted awards for artists to obtain in pursuit of their respective vocations.

In October of 1961, a series of meetings between Peter Belin Jr. and the Waverly Community House Board of Trustees would take place; these gatherings were held in order to determine how best to honor the late F. Lammot. Due to his love of the fine arts, it was later suggested to offer some sort of monetary award to artists through the Belin family and the Waverly Community House. Shortly thereafter, a special committee was formed to primarily focus on this scholarship and its development; the very first F. Lammot Belin Memorial Fund Committee meeting consisted of: Mrs. W.L. Chamberlin, Mrs. William M. Dawson, Mr. F.P. Christian, Mr. F.T. Dolbear, Mr. A.D. Hemelright, and Mr. C.W. Belin (as indicated on committee letter, 1962). In 1962, it was officially determined that a definitive scholarship be offered to artists involved in various disciplines to pursue their crafts under the direction of funds provided through the endowment. Thus, the Belin Arts Scholarship was born; the very first description of this award is described as follows: “Patron of the arts and artists, collector and creator, his love of beauty will benefit all…now, and in the years to come. The F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship has been established to honor the memory of a great man and a loving father, by his son, Peter Belin.”

Belin Arts Scholarship: the Early Years

Soon after the scholarship was conceptualized, applicants were encouraged to apply for the 1964 cycle; Dr. John Bourne, Chairman of the Scholarship Administration, Howard Hyde, Chairman of the Selection Committee, and Leigh Woehling, President of the Comm’s Board of Trustees also took their time to search for talented individuals through the region who were also urged to apply. The very first winner of the scholarship, Carol Leah Jones, was a pianist from Scranton, PA who planned on continuing her craft with the hopes of eventually becoming a concert pianist. Miss Jones showed much promise to the committee as she also expressed her desire to continue her education at the Manhattan College of Music upon reception of the award. After Carol Jones, John Hyer was presented with the award in both the 1965 and 1966 cycles; Mr. Hyer was a vocalist and recent graduate of Wilkes College (University) who later went on to attend the Julliard School of Music to receive his Masters Degree in Vocal Pedagogy. Of the Belin Arts Scholarship, Mr. Hyer exclaims: “I couldn’t have gone to Julliard without it! It opened doors for me in such places as Aspen, Colorado and it made things better in my whole career.” From Miss Jones’ first win and Hyer’s dual awards, it became clear that this scholarship was fulfilling its intention– it was bettering the lives of recipients and allowing them to grow and evolve in their careers and lives.

The endowment’s first year concluded with 32 total applicants; this number continued tojs-2 grow exponentially each year as word of the award circulated around amongst those involved in the fine arts discipline. From 1964, until the present, the Belin Arts Scholarship has continued to grow and evolve to benefit the arts and artists everywhere; over the years it had funded the arts of: architecture, drama, music, literature, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and more. What began as a memorial vision, has become so much more; as we approach a new developmental period in regards to the scholarship, we look forward to all of the new ways that this gift can continue to touch the lives of talented individuals everywhere.

Quotes from Belin Arts Scholarship Recipients: 

Barbara Harbach (1970), organist: “The Belin Arts Scholarship allowed me to experience art and culture at a high level that would’ve taken a number of years to achieve without it.”

Robert Reese (1971), painter: “Without the Belin Arts Scholarship, I could’ve never realized the professional boundaries I have, it was a blessing of huge proportions. I have told many people over the decades about this wonderful Foundation that came to my aid. It prompted me to paint very large, to make connections, and to be invited to exhibit at various museums and to lecture at many universities.”

Roosevelt Newson (1978), pianist: ” The scholarship served as a professional launch pad for me and opened the door to professional management.”

Barbara Hopkins (1984), flutist: “The Belin Arts Scholarship enabled me to complete my Master’s Degree at the Mannes College of Music without taking any loans. This was an enormous advantage in later years as I was able to spend more time practicing for auditions instead of working a retail job paying loans.”

Karen Blomain (1986), writer: “The scholarship allowed me to accept a fellowship at Columbia University. It opened the wider world of poetry, of writing and publishing, and provided me the opportunity to study with major writers of our time.”

Mark Chuck (2006), sculptor: “Having these means at my disposal has immeasurably aided me with my goals as an artist and I am most grateful for the Belin Family’s generosity. The award has greatly contributed to my local and regional recognition as a ceramic artist.”

The aforementioned quotes are indicative of simply a few expressions of gratitude from those grateful for all that the Belin Arts Scholarship has provided them both developmentally and professionally. For over 50 years, this award has gone on to make its mark regionally and nationally with its wide range of possibilities. This year, we enter into a new phase of development for the Belin Arts Scholarship with its expansion into the F. Lammot Belin Arts Foundation; this extension will also include the much anticipated Belin Film Festival. This event is scheduled to commence on October 14th and is set to last throughout the entire weekend with multiple locations participating in the efforts to bring community awareness and recognition to independent films and filmmakers at a national level. For more information on this exciting and groundbreaking event you can obtain information below. As the Belin Arts Scholarship and Foundation advances, we remain deeply dedicated to continue to provide the community with new opportunities with every passing year.

Belin Film Festival Information:

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!

Tennis Court Transformation: Ice Skating at the Community House

Over the years, the Waverly Community House has always managed to provide
its visitors with innovative ways to enjoy themselves in their free time; this was especiallycapture2 evident in January of 1967 when the Comm became one of the first facilities in the region to provide residents with the opportunity to partake in ice skating with their friends and family members. In the winter of that year, Waverly Community House Executive Director Edgar Jones came up with the idea to transform the courts while speaking with many community members who mentioned that there were little to no venues featuring an active ice rink; after much thought, Jones who had served as Scranton’s former Superintendent of Recreation, inventively suggested implementing such a facility at the Waverly Community House. Upon approval from Comm staff and Board of Trustee members, Mr.Jones consulted with the Weather Bureau and local cemetery custodians in order to ensure that the ground was of the desired temperature and condition for feasible use. A prefabricated plastic liner, cut into strips was then submerged into water and placed into a freezer for a week to ensure that it would be adequately frozen. The strips were then used to cover the then 126 by 66 foot tennis court. This converted tennis court was a huge development at the Comm and enabled residents to enjoy the rest of their winter in a new, fun filled way. “This is just too good to believe,” Jones stated as he discussed the successful venture.

Winter ice skating hours at the Waverly Community House took place daily from 1pm- 10pm and were yet another way that the Comm has continued to captivate and engage its visitors.

Recreational Dedication: Extra Curricular Activities at the Waverly Community House

“As we plan and develop the activities of the Waverly Community House, keeping in mind the importance of laying the right foundation for the children and young adults, we cannot go far astray. We wish to help them through wholesome activities to become keener mentally and sound morally.” (Gertrude Coursen, 1930)

As September approaches, we are reminded that the start of the traditional school year is beginning. With that in mind, we thought it fitting to explore how the Waverly Community House has not only been innovative with regards to their educational programs, but with their recreational activities as well. The Comm has always been dedicated to holding both instruction and leisure hand in hand with the intention of guiding the younger generations towards  developing into balanced and well rounded individuals. Special activities and clubs have always been prevalent and the Comm has consistently served as a gathering space for children and young adults to enjoy themselves and interact with one another. As we explore some of the earlier recreational programs, it becomes evident that the Waverly Community House remains dedicated to making these opportunities available to children and adolescents in the form of various programs designed to enhance physical and mental development.

In the 1920’s-1950’s, the most popular youth programs at the Comm included a number of Girls Hiking Club 1933different activities; most were designed and created by Community House staff with the intention of accommodating a number of different interests. A quote from the 1929 Clubs and Classes Bulletin indicates this as follows: “You may find that there is a wide variety of activities that are scheduled at the Waverly Community House. This is necessary in order to meet the needs of many different individualities.” Recreational programs on this list included:

High school basketball: The Comm opened the doors of its gymnasium to allow Waverly High School use of its facilities for both practices and home games. Basketball practices often took place on evenings during the week and games were very well attended; there were also tournaments held at the Comm for fun. The basketball schedule was posted in the Lobby; this activity continued into the 1950’s.

Boys & girls game hour: Games played during this time included cards and ping pong, among others. During this time the Canteen would serve hot dogs and many other snacks for the children to enjoy.

Storytelling: Storytelling hour was most often attended by younger children on Saturday mornings; during this time, children would gather around Gertrude Coursen and various other special guests and enjoy the readings of different books. This was very similar to the Comm’s current Storytime offered in the Family Room.

Acting club: The Acting Club was primarily designed for high school students and often culminated with a production, much like the All about Theatre program offered today. Productions held by the Comm’s Acting Club included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Blame it on Sandy, and many others.

Folk dancing: Irish Folk dancing was popular among high school girls and was considered by all as a form of physical education. It was primarily taught by an instructor from Scranton with costumes designed by Mary Brooks Picken from the Women’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences; productions and festivals were held at Nay Aug Park.

Sewing: Sewing class took place on Tuesday afternoons at 3 pm in the Scout Room; girls from ages 15-17 enjoyed making items such as dresses and embroidered garments under the direction of instructor Cora Carpenter.

Physical education class: Physical education was considered to be very important for teenagers and classes were held in the auditorium; tumbling, baseball, wrestling, boxing, balancing and singing all made the list of designated activities suited to serve as adequate exercises.

Camping/ hiking club: This club was formulated with the intention of making outdoor recreational opportunities available to young adults. It was well received among both boys and girls and many camping and hiking trips took place during the spring and summer months. Popular locations visited included Lake Tingley near Harford and Camp Archbald in Susquehanna County.

As demonstrated with the above list, the clubs and classes at the Comm revolved around aJr Sports Club 1929 number of different interests and needs; they were also at full capacity on a monthly basis as many local adolescents looked forward to enjoying themselves outside of the traditional school setting. It also gave them a chance to interact with many of their existing friends and to also form new relationships as well. Ultimately, the Waverly Community House provided recreational opportunities in the form of a unique, safe, and comforting setting and was very popular among both children and parents. Although some of those particular programs may not still be in use, the Comm has many current activities designated for children to enjoy outside of their traditional school atmosphere. These include but are not limited to: Comm Camp, art classes, dance camps and classes, and many others.

One of the Comm’s latest developments is the Comm Kids After School Program. This program focuses on providing children with a dynamic,safe, and entertaining setting to attend after school; under the direction of a talented and dedicated staff, local children interact with their friends, do their homework, and participate in fun projects and activities. It is also state licensed and serves as a full fledged child care center which corroborates with the Comm’s mission to “enrich the lives of individuals and families in the region by providing educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities.” The Comm Kids After School program is relatively new however it has become very popular for parents seeking to supply their children with a safe place to gather during after school hours. This program is one of many new demonstrations of progress that the Comm has made over the years in order to keep up with the current needs of the community it serves.

As previously discussed, the Waverly Community House has continued to evolve and develop to suit the current needs of the community. The Comm is unique in its ability to do so while remaining dedicated to its mission statement created in 1920. As we approach the centennial anniversary, these past programs reflect and complement new activities with the same purpose and meaning with the needs of the community at the forefront of all operations. For more information on the Comm Kids After School Program, you can find the registration form on our website.





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: – For information related to the scholarship. – 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.

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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)