200 Years of History & Community

Eaton Township Celebrates Its Bicentennial

Eaton Township was incorporated in the summer of 1817 in what is now Wyoming County. Nestled alongside the Susquehanna River just across from Tunkhannock, Eatonville residents and the surrounding community are looking back to their past and ahead to the future as they prepare for a Bicentennial celebration on July 15. “You’re only 200 years old once, so we want to do it right,” says Township Supervisor Randy Ehrenzeller. “The great thing is the community pride that developed from planning this, and we want to display the pride of Eaton Township.”

Uncovering the past proved to be very rewarding for Eaton’s residents, as bicentennial committee member Betsy Green notes. “Our main impetus is keeping the whole celebration historical; we found a lot of photography and stories to go along with it.” Green and the committee are also excited about the featured historical demonstrations that will take place throughout the day, portraying how home goods, agricultural products and various crafts were created throughout Eaton’s history. “It is such a lost art, I feel like young people can really get something out of seeing how things were done back then,” explains Green. Vintage farming equipment, tractors and classic cars will all be on display, and many of the event’s vendors will also reflect the town’s history and culture.

Visitors can expect a wide variety of activities. The Bicentennial celebration will have six bands, a community cookout, vendors from across the county, a strawberry shortcake social, hayrides, square dancing, performances by a local playhouse, self-guided history tours, a Native American storyteller, kids’ games and transportation in between all points of interest. Most of the day’s events will take place along Route 29 in Eatonville, with many businesses within the township hosting different aspects of the festivities.

In addition to the area’s history, Green also emphasized the importance of this event to Eaton’s present and future. “The township itself has a growing business district, as well as beautiful rural areas,” she states. The Bicentennial plans on showcasing everything the township has to offer, even encouraging older members of the community to come out and share their stories. Visitors can meet residents such as 86-year-old Dick Macialek and his son Rich, whose family’s legacy in Eaton Township dates back to the early 1900s— as do some of their photographs! “My father found a shoebox full of them in a house they were cleaning out,” Rich says. “He stumbled upon them, it was a lucky catch.” He says the photos were dated with handwritten inscriptions on the negatives, highlighting events such as the construction of the old steel truss bridge that once crossed Bowman Creek in Eatonville. “There are a lot of families that have been here for a pretty long time,” says Rich about the Eaton community. “We’re sharing them [the photos] with everyone so that we can pass them on.”
Betsy Green and her fellow organizers are thrilled to share this celebration with Northeast PA. “Through this whole venture, we’ve all gotten excited over things that we’ve learned about the history of our area from putting pictures together. We had a clue, but we’ve discovered so much more,” says Green. The Bicentennial celebration takes place Saturday, July 15 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 570-836-3725. – Joseph Letcher