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The Wilkes-Barre Glass Negatives - Part 3

Paul Holbrook and I go back many years and his images have captured not only my heart and mind, but the attention of thousands of people across the country.

The images below are all from Paul Holbrook's glass negative collection unless otherwise noted. Used with permission.

When Paul began posting the images from his Wilkes-Barre glass negative collection, I almost couldn't help myself. I was pulled into the scenery, the hint of stories waiting to be told and the faces of people and families that I longed to identify.

The family below is believed by Paul and I to be the family of the photographer. Who were they? The little boy was seen many times in the images of the glass negatives.

Where did they live? Where did they work? Did they have a good life? What happened to the boy?

He appears in several photos with a little girl who I assumed is his sister.

Did she have a happy life? Is the photographer the father in these images as I assume?

One of the first pieces of the puzzle that I try to solve to identify a family in a series like this one, is to narrow down where they lived. We already knew there was a very good chance that they were from the Wilkes-Barre area.

Followers on Paul Holbrook's Facebook page, identified the houses seen in this image:

Both homes are still standing today on Center Street in Plymouth, PA.

Photo accessed online at Google Maps, street view:

I researched both families who lived in these houses in the early 1900s and neither were a match for our photographer.

I was able to find another home from the glass negatives:

From the same collection. Accessed on eBay, sold images.

It's the historic Wadham homestead on Academy Street in Plymouth.

Today, it looks very different. The current home has been added on to on both sides.

I might be convinced that the original Wadham Homestead was razed and this new apartment building was put up in its place. I walked around and saw the home from different angles. The front and back additions had a barn shape, but the middle section had a steep, pitched roof, just like the picture of the Wadham home. I assumed this must be it. However, William Lewis, a man from Luzerne County who owns an estate sale business, reached out and said he believed the house next door was the former Wadham homestead. I didn't take these pictures - they were accessed on Google maps (street view):

It wasn't easily recognizable, as the entrance used to be on the side, and a porch facing the street had been added.

However, I traced the deeds back and found where the large house on the corner that I first thought was the Wadham house was built in the 1960s. Therefore, I do believe the house pictured above, with the front porch, is the historic Wadham home, built circa 1820.

The Wadham estate was also not the home of the photographer and his family. I realized that the photographer was simply taking photos of homes he admired, or visited. But even these were a clue. By tracking his movements, the large circle that had once encompassed all of Luzerne County was now closing in.

Stay tuned!

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251 views5 comments

5 comentários

Thank you for the commentary on this fabulous area that has touched my heart!


The last picture you have is pictured on Wikipedia as being the Wadhams homestead


I have been following a long on the Holbrook posts. I was born and raised in Nanticoke PA, not far from Plymouth. I'm wondering if it's a possibility that these negatives could be from the collection of Ace Hoffman photography.


Paul Holbrook
Paul Holbrook
28 de mar.

For fun for me to see your research bringing my pictures to life! Thanks so much. It's gratifying to see them identified and the locations as they look today! Keep going!


Douglas Morgan
Douglas Morgan
27 de mar.

The photos of the town are fantastic!

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