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Good Neighbors Since 1806
Waverly was founded in the late 18th century by settlers from Connecticut and was originally called Abington Center. In 1853, it was established as a borough within Pennsylvania; since there already was a place named "Abington" located near Philadelphia, the town was renamed Waverly after Sir Walter Scott's novel of the same name, popular at that time. The borough, located within Lackawanna County, gave up its charter in 1920, because of the high cost to upgrade its main street to a state highway, and became part of Abington Township. On November 2, 2010, township residents voted to change the township's name from "Abington" to "Waverly Township,'"
The earliest settlers built cabins in Waverly around 1800. The Philadelphia and Great Bend Turnpike (now Main Street) was chartered in 1919 by the Pennsylvania Legislature along The Warriors' Path. Started in 1820, this turnpike was completed in 1824. During this time, the first three houses which were not cabins were built. In 1828, the Wayside Inn was built, and the first doctor, Dr. Andrew Bedford, set up practice and built a house which stands today on Main Street (North Abington Road). The first general store was built in 1830, followed by a second inn and tavern in 1832. A building boom ensued during the years 1847 through 1890, during which time Waverly was a profitable small-scale industrial center. 1850 through 1880 was the heyday of Waverly's industrial era. Farmers and dairymen shipped their goods to New York City; iron foundries flourished, and numerous retail establishments, including greengrocers, bakers, a drugstore, dime store, hardware store, lumberyard, and harness shops, thrived. In 1880, the railroad was laid five miles from Waverly, and the prosperity of the town faded.
During the mid-19th century, Waverly was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Escaped slaves and freedmen found a sympathetic population in Waverly, and some settled in small houses built by a local farmer and sold to them. The freedmen also built the AME Church, which is in use today as a private residence. It is one of five churches in existence in 1872, three of which still stand and are still active congregations.
The Waverly Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.