Looking around Ledges Hotel it’s easy to see signs of the building’s illustrious past as the J.S. O’Connor American Rich Cut Glass Factory. While you’re here, visit the Dorflinger Factory Museum to see how Wayne County became the preeminent producer of luxury cut glass. Housed in a restored factory building, the museum in nearby White Mills is home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Dorflinger Glass in the world.
The Spark of Inspiration
In the latter 19th century and early 20th century, pieces made in the tiny hamlet of White Mills graced the tables of the most powerful people of the time. Dorflinger Glass was part of the place settings everywhere, from The White House to the palaces of Europe. It all began when Christian Dorflinger relocated his glassmaking business from Brooklyn, NY to White Mills, PA in 1862. The sleepy farm town was soon a hot bed of industry employing hundreds of workers and churning out the world’s finest cut glass. Many who were trained at the Dorflinger Glass Factory struck out on their own. J.S. O’Conner worked for Dorflinger for 23 years before establishing his own shop on the rock ledges overlooking Wallenpaupack Creek. It was a successful enterprise for many years and became one of the largest employers in Wayne County. O’Conner’s glass factory is now Ledges Hotel.
Breaking the Mold
You can see a restored cutting factory at Dorflinger Factory Museum. The 1883 bluestone building now offers exhibits and displays in a gallery-like setting. See authentic cutting and engraving tools, glass blowing equipment, a dining room table setup circa 1895 featuring Dorflinger Glass and the restored factory boiling room, which demonstrates how the factory was powered.
Gilded Age Glory
The light-filled space is the ideal showcase for a vast collection of Dorflinger Glass. Browse factory samples of presidential collections, which were part of every White House administration from President Abraham Lincoln to President Woodrow Wilson. Other highlights include the 1899 wedding service for William K. Vanderbilt Jr. and Virginia Graham Fair as well as a tableware service commissioned in 1919 by Canadian Pacific Railway for a visit by the Prince of Wales. Don’t miss the regulation-size cut glass baseball bat presented to local baseball legend Eddie Murphy during the 1913 World Series. There’s also an exquisite green cut-to-clear punch bowl set cut in Dorflinger’s Montrose pattern that dates to 1846. It’s one of only five known color punch bowl sets cut in this pattern.
Etched in Time
In addition to the permanent collection, the Dorflinger Factory Museum hosts special exhibits each year that feature rare pieces on loan from private collections. Plus, from summer through fall there is a Sunday afternoon lecture series. Topics range from art, and history to immigration and glass. Each fall the museum hosts its White Mills Brilliant Weekend. The event features lectures, a banquet and a glass dealer show and sale including five of the leading cut glass dealers in the country. The Dorflinger Factory Museum is open from Mid-April through mid-December. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 pm. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Guided tours are offered most days at 10:30 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.
The Lap of Luxury
A visit to the Dorflinger Factory Museum is the perfect accompaniment to a stay at Ledges Hotel. The preserved surroundings, vintage photographs, original sketches and displays of historic glass around Ledges Hotel offer a glimpse into the region’s heritage. Browse the accommodations and get away to a place with a storied past and bright future. Check availability and book today.