Once construction of the Delaware & Hudson Canal began, there was an immediate need to provide housing for the superintendents overseeing the project as well as the multitude of men working on the actual construction of the canal. Charles Forbes built the first public house in Honesdale in 1827 on the corner of what are now Park and Main Streets. This two-story wood frame building, measuring about 50 by 100 feet with a livery stable in the rear, was known as the Forbes House. Later known as the Wayne County House (or Hotel), it provided accommodations for the superintendents of the canal company as well as a number of travelers, and was a popular stage coach stop. The hotel served as the first Post Office in Honesdale in 1829.
Honesdale became a Borough on January 28, 1831, and on May 13, 1831, the hotel was the setting for the election of the members of the first Honesdale Borough Council. David Tarbox was elected the first mayor, with D. B. Wilcox as his assistant. The council members were: Thomas T. Hayes, Russell Spencer, T. N. Vail, Alanson Blood, Elam Woodward, and Isaac P. Foster were elected High Constable. On May 16, 1831, another meeting was held at the Wayne County Hotel to elect officers of the first Borough Council. Thomas T. Hayes was elected president of the Council with Zenas H. Russell as Treasurer. John F. Roe was elected to serve as Town Clerk; Charles Forbes was Street Supervisor; Alonzo Bentley was chosen Clerk of the Market and Leonard Graves was Collector.
The Wayne County Hotel had numerous owners through the years. In 1840 Charles Forbes rented the Hotel to Henry Dart, who purchased it five years later, and it remained in his possession until 1857. The subsequent owners have been J. B. Hazleton and J. B. Eldred. In 1866 the Hotel was purchased by Henry Ball from Sussex County, NJ, and sold in April of 1891 by his widow, Mrs. Henry Ball, to John H. Weaver. Mr. Weaver purchased the Hotel for the sum of $10,000 and in 1892, erected a three-story brick structure around the wood frame building. Once the brick shell was complete, he razed the wood frame building and completed the construction with brick.
The Hotel had a series of owners through the years. Among them are: Jacob Lampart, who purchased it in 1930; Robert Fives owned and operated the Hotel from 1947; and by 1981 James J. Bresset took possession of the Hotel. In 2009, the current owners brought new life to this historic landmark by extensively refurbishing the interior space while retaining the original architecture of the structure. Each of the 20 guest rooms has been charmingly redecorated, and the ground floor still has the classic entrance lobby graced by an impressive staircase. The spacious dining room features the original twelve-foot high brick walls topped with decorative tin ceilings.
The renovation earned the Hotel Wayne the Wayne County Historical Society Preservation Award in 2009.