I just posted pics of the White Haven (Pennsylvania) library as it is today, nestled in a coffee shop (Coffeeworks on Main St in the basement of the old hardware store that only we old timers apparently remember.) See previous post. But this is where it will be this time next year when they finish renovating this building. The outside is quite impressive, isn’t it? This is called the Engine House Project and this is an effort to rehab a former Lehigh Valley Railroad engine repair shop into a multi-purpose library and Heritage visitor’s center.
It has been used for a few fund raising events and programs, but you can see the inside has a lot of work left to be done. check out the beautiful stone walls.
White Haven has a lot of tourist potential as it is in the center of an area that includes 3 state parks (Hickory Run, Lehigh Gorge [which took some of my land] and Nescopeck, all within 6 miles, the Gorge being within feet of the bldg) and welcomes over 400,000 tourists annually. Interstate 80 runs thru one side of the town and 940 goes thru the middle. White Haven is 4 miles from the NE extension of the PA Turnpike and is on the Lehigh River which separates White Haven from East Side, where my house is, on the East Side of the river. East Side is in Carbon County and somewhere in the middle of the river is the county line, with White Haven in Luzerne County which is known as “the Gateway to the Poconos.”
The library that will be housed inside these walls will meet the needs of children from Crestwood, Weatherly, and Hazleton school districts by providing hard copy resources, literacy programs and state of the art communications technology. But I bet people will miss the coffee! Think they will at least have an espresso machine???? a Starbucks vending machine????
Train and history buffs will appreciate the magnificent structure as it is believed to be the last railroad repair shop still intact in the Commonwealth of PA. I have known the building all my life and I am still impressed. It cleaned up good, as they say.
“Green” people will appreciate the fact that the building will be climate controlled with geothermal wells… a bit ironic (a double pun, that word) since the railroad was practically invented to move coal from the area and the coal was used to make iron that previously had been imported from England. Did you know the FIRST rails for the FIRST railroad were made out of WOOD? Funny, they didn’t last long. Did you know that people laughed when Josiah White tried to get people to burn those black rocks he found in these hills? They were very different from the coal found in England, big shiny black rocks that were slow to ignite, but burned much hotter than wood, hot enough to melt the ore to make iron. The railroad was first made to move the black rocks to the canal locks he built on the river. If you are interested, you might want to read a book that is both interesting and boring all at the same time on Josiah White, for whom the town was named. He was the founder of Lehigh Coal and Navigation and the Lehigh Valley Railroad – whose logo is on the building.
The Project is a true community, grass roots effort, with the White Haven Borough council members voting to purchase the building in 2002 in response to hundreds of signatures (including mine) asking them to do so on the community’s behalf.
The library has been in existence, in one place or another, for 13 years, most recently in the coffee shop, so you can imagine how exciting it will be to have ALL the books unpacked and on shelves and available to the public. You can learn more at www.whitehavenlibrary. Years ago, my step mother (a librarian) used to drive 28 miles one way to Wilkes-Barre to check out a stack of books to last her a week or so, to help her survive “this god forsaken back woods place.” This was back when she had just recently been evacuated from Saigon with the rest of the American dependents and found herself in the old family home. I guess it was too quiet for her… no bombs going off day and night, that sort of thing… sigh. Anyway, she started back then to push for a local library, but nothing happened for many, many years. She gave up and moved to Bradenton, Fla. Fortunately, others kept up the fight, but it has been a struggle. That ride over the mountains to WB was a rough haul in the winter! Trust me.
Train buffs will recognize the brick pattern in the parking lot. Anybody want to guess why it is there? What it once was? (that is a clue). Both the circle and the straight section????? See the tracks currently in use just a few feet from the parking lot and building, like mid point in the picture?