A Place in Time spotlights a significant cultural resource - a district, site, building, structure or object - entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

With abundant hardwood for fuel and sizable deposits of sand in its more than one hundred lakes, Wayne County attracted glassmakers as early as 1807, but it wasn’t until the closing decades of the nineteenth century that it became a center for glass production and, especially, glass decoration. Following the founding of Christian Dorflinger’s famous glassworks in White Mills in 1865, the industry in the county grew steadily. John S. O’Connor, superin­tendent of the cutting shop of C. Dorflinger & Sons for twenty-five years, established the J.S. O’Connor American Rich Cut Glassware Factory in Hawley in 1890. O’Connor patented several cut glass designs, among them “Rattan” (right) in 1892. The following year his company supplied the White House with “a full ser­vice of elaborate glass.”

Built of native bluestone on solid rock at the foot of Wallenpaupack Falls, the three-story factory building was large enough to accommodate O’Connor’s two hundred employees. Local historians have described the operation as “one of the most extensive glass cutting factories in the America.” The company spawned several glass cutting shops in and around Hawley. In 1902, O’Connor retired and his son, Arthur, moved the factory to Goshen, New York, and sold the building to Thomas Byron Clark, proprietor of T. B. Clark Company and Maple City Cut Glass Company in Honesdale, several miles to the north. Clark relocated the Maple City Cut Glass Company to O’Connor’s factory building, but later returned to Honesdale. The building then housed silk mills until 1987, after which it was rehabilitated as an inn. The J.S. O’Connor American Rich Cut Glassware Factory was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its association with a significant Pennsylvania industry.

Individuals interested in northeastern Pennsylvania’s glass industry should write: Dorflinger Glass Museum, Fred Suydam Dr., White Mills, PA 18473; tele­phone (570) 253-1185; or visit www.dorflinger.org on the Web. There is an admission fee.

 

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