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4:15 min March 04, 2024

Hawley Silk Mill's America250PA Semiquincentennial Bell

A bronze Liberty Bell replica will unveiled to honor the history of the Hawley Silk Mill!

The Hawley Silk Mill is well over a century old, and it's one of the largest bluestone structures anywhere.

The silk mill is part of the American story, so much so that a rare bronze bell will be dedicated at the site in the fall of 2024 to mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States and the history of immigrant labor at the mill.

Hawley Silk Mill Bell - rendering

From overhead, the Hawley Silk Mill is impressive. Built in 1880, a textile factory powered by the powerful Paupack Falls and by the countless hands of immigrant laborers, women and children, integral to the American Story.

“It was essentially the male immigrant husbands working on the construction of the mills and the transportation, and it was the women and children that worked inside the mills and not always under the best conditions,” said Justin Genzlinger, CEO of Settlers Hospitality. “But the amount of output and manufacturing that occurred here with that largely immigrant labor fed a good chunk of New York City's elite with textiles, with glass, and for us to be the one to tell that story properly, it's quite an honor and a privilege.”

The announcement brought out a lot of dignitaries to the historic site which has been picked to be the future home of one of a handful of bronze Liberty Bell replicas across the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. America250PA is spearheading the 2026 year-long celebration of the Semiquincentennial.

“So these bells are bronze, permanent bells, and each bell is specific with an inscription specific to that historic site.,” said Cassandra Coleman, Executive Director of America250PA. “They will be here for generations to come.”

“To be one of the sites selected, you know, is definitely an honor. And looking forward, the two biggest things that will come out of this is it is yet another tourism opportunity for people to come visit and learn about our heritage. And also it will be a storytelling exercise for what really happened here 125 years ago,” added Genzlinger.

Nowadays, shops and salons, an art gallery and fitness center filled with the mill. There’s a brewery too and Lackawanna College’s Lake Region Campus. Plus professional offices and situated within a short drive to Lake Wallenpaupack and various Settlers Hospitality properties including The Settlers Inn, Silver Birches and the nearby Ledges Hotel.

Offering one more reason to visit and learn from history with the Semiquincentennial bell.

“So America 250 PA is thrilled at the opportunity for tourism across the commonwealth here in regions like the Poconos. We see all of the different programs and projects that we have, especially again, this one here as an opportunity not only to really educate folks regionally or across the Commonwealth, but nationally, internationally,” said Coleman.

In order to make the bell a reality, roughly $400,000 has to be raised to complete the project. The Wayne County Community Foundation is helping to reach that goal.

All in an effort to put the Hawley Silk Mill and its important American history on the map even more so.

“In essence, this will be a point of interest that'll be on every museum and every GPS thing to do along Route 6 and here in the Pocono Mountains. It will give us a nice excuse to celebrate the installation with hundreds of people this year, and then be one of the official sites to celebrate July of 2026 with thousands of people. And it'll be a nice little economic boost. And then it'll be here forever,” added Genzlinger.

To learn more about the bronze bell at the Silk Mill in Hawley, go to WayneFoundation.org and look for a link to donate.