Building Description J.S. O'Connor American Rich Cut Glassware Factory, Hawley Pennsylvania
Built on solid rock at the foot of the Wallenpaupack Falls, the J. S. O'Connor American Rich Cut Glassware Factory was constructed in the federal style complete with pedimented windows (and door, engraved with the construction date, 1890) and decorative cornice. The building is 160 feet long by 44 feet wide, three stories tall, with basement and sub-basement, with a later addition (to the rear of the building) of one story, 75 feet long by 40 feet wide. The 2 and ½ foot thick walls are built of native bluestone and contain ninety-three windows. The shed style roof, which slants from the front of the building to the rear, was made originally of slate, but has now been covered by an EDM rubber roof system. Located at the end of Falls Avenue in Hawley, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, the factory faces northeast. The Wallenpaupack Creek cascades eighty feet down the falls in the back of the building, then curves around the south side to flow along Falls Avenue in the front. The property is in excellent condition; the exterior is virtually unchanged since its construction in 1890 except for the addition noted earlier, built in 1926, and the construction of a lobby in front and decks in the back overlooking the falls, added in 1988. The interior has undergone major changes as the purpose of the building has changed from glass cutting to silk throwing, and now to use as an inn.
Sandborn Insurance Maps show the minor changes to the exterior of the building from its construction up to 1987. In 1892, it is a simple rectangle. On the 1897 map, a small (5x7) addition has been added to the rear, 'waste rm' is the notation; a bathroom had been installed on each floor. In 1926, after the conversion to a silk throwing mill, the one story 75 x 40 addition appears; more storage room had been required for the new enterprise. Then in 1988, with the conversion to an inn, a lobby was constructed on the front and decks overlooking the falls were built at the back at the south end of the building. Five windows were used to make doorways, lowering their number from ninety-eight to ninety-three. The roof was coated with a EDM rubber roof system. None of these changes or additions has altered the basic style of the exterior of the building.
The interior of the building has been altered much more extensively. The sub-basement, which once housed the turbines, now is used for storage; though evidence of the turbines still remains. The basement now contains the restaurant and kitchen, with side rooms built under the lobby in front and the deck in back on the south end. During the glass cutting period, the heater and the dynamo, which ran off the turbines generating 300-candle power of electricity, were in the basement. It was used for storage when the building was a silk mill. The first floor has been divided into a guest parlor, 11 hotel rooms, and a guest laundry; with housekeeping and maintenance rooms in the 75 x 40 addition. The lobby and deck additions are on this level. The second and third floors are used for 9 two-bedroom and 1 one-bedroom suites; each suite is on both levels and has a spiral staircase. The roughing and stock rooms and offices were on the first floor of the glass cutting factory; the designing, smoothing, and polishing departments on the second and third floors, with a showroom also on the third floor. The offices remained on the first floor of the silk mill; the remainder of the floor space on all three levels was open. None of the machinery remains; the turbine covers are the only surviving features on the interior that reflect factory use. The internal walls forming offices remain at the north end of the building (the space now used as a hotel room and the guest laundry); all other internal walls were removed for use as a silk mill, and many added for use as an inn. The support posts that once ran down the center of the building were removed and replaced with weight bearing walls, and the small set of stairs at the south end of the building taken out and a central staircase built during the conversion to an inn.
The stone walls making up part of the race which fed water from the creek to the turbines still stand between the building and the Wallenpaupack Creek.