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No Deal to Fix New Deal-Era Stone Wall

MOSCOW — Plans to preserve a piece of history in Lackawanna County have fallen through.

PennDOT officials say it will cost too much to repair a stone wall in Moscow built after The Great Depression.

The stone wall along Church Street in Moscow shows its age. What you may not see is its history and the workmanship behind it all. Ken Carling of Spring Brook Township, a mason by trade, has admired that wall and others like it all his life.

“You have got to figure no equipment, hand laid, I don’t know where the labor came from you have to assume it was cheap labor. But, a lot of work went into them,” Carling said.

The labor actually came from the Works Progress Administration, or W.P.A., an organization born from President Roosevelt’s New Deal meant to give people jobs after The Great Depression.

The Church Street wall was hand-built in the late 1930’s but parts of it have crumbled in the past few years. Moscow Borough Council members hoped to preserve it using grant money. But, PennDOT officials now say the work will be much too costly.

You’ll find the work of the Works Progress Administration all over our area. From Moscow, to Blakely, to route 435 in Elmhurst Township where there are 4 W.P.A. walls. Some of the walls are better preserved than others.

PennDOT officials said other walls are farther from the road, so they have held up better over all these years.

The fact the wall on Church Street is still standing though is reason to preserve it, according to lifelong Moscow resident Eleanor Morrison.

“I think they are wonderful, look at all the years they held up. I wish they would repair them but this is a different age,” Morrison said.

PennDOT officials said there are no plans to tear down the wall. But it will have to be removed if it becomes a safety hazard.

But folks in the Moscow area of Lackawanna County said the wall still stands, though crumbling, for a simpler time when hard work was done by hand.

“There’s no replacing them, you will never see anybody build another wall like that,” Carling added.


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