Changes Wrought by Flood

Brookfields Forced Out of Honesdale by Flood

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Crockery & Glass Journal

New York, NY, United States
vol. 41, no. 9, p. 35, col. 1 & 2


The New York Sun says in its Honesdale, Pa., correspondence:

"To the peculiar physical conformation of the country about this village in Northeastern Pennsylvania is indirectly due the fact that Wm. Brookfield is to-day Commissioner of Public Works of New York city. Honesdale lies in a charming valley, at the meeting of the waters of the Lackawaxen and Lyberry rivers. On the east a ridge rises in the sharp escapement almost from the banks of the Lackawaxen river, and is crowned by a perpendicular ledge of rock known as Irving's cliff. This striking feature of the village's environment overlooks the valley from a height of over 300 feet. It was named for Washington Irving, who was one of the distinguished party of excursionists who visited Honesdale by packet over the Delaware and Hudson Canal more than fifty years ago. In the party were John Jacob Astor, Philip Hone, for whom Honesdale was named, and other notable persons. A quarter of a mile back of Irving's cliff, and almost on a level with it, is a small sheet of water known as Bunnell's pond. The outlet of this was into Carley Brook, a precipitous stream that hurries from its high source to the level of the Lackawaxen River, a mile below Honesdale. Bunnell's pond by this stream became one of the feeders of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, the waters of the pond being conserved and held in storage by a dam at the outlet.

Sometime before the late war the father of Wm. Brookfield, now New York's Commissioner of Public Works, put up a glass factory near the mouth of Carley Brook. Early in the '60s one fall there came a spell of rainy weather, of which no one remembered the like. Rain fell without cessation for days, and the creeks and the rivers became roaring floods. The volume of water that rushed into Bunnell's Pond was too great for the dam at its outlet, and the dam gave way. The waters of the little lake, freed by the destruction of the dam, rushed to Carley Brook and down its steep course like an avalanche, sweeping everything before them. They not only carried the Brookfield glass factory away, so that scarcely a timber of it was ever found again, but destroyed the Brookfield residence, which was near the factory. The family, including the present Commissioner of Public Works, barely escaped with their lives. In a few seconds the Brookfield family was ruined.

Sometime afterward the elder Brookfield removed with his family to Brooklyn, where, with the aid of business associates and friends, he was enabled to establish the glass factory, which made his fortune. It is likely enough that but for the flood, Wm. Brookfield would have remained in Honesdale.


Keywords:Brookfield : James M. Brookfield : William Brookfield : Honesdale, PA : Flood
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information:Articles: 466, 467, 471, 476, 485, 545, 550, 1033, 1056, 1057, 4638
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 12, 2006 by: Bob Berry;