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Way's Garden is a park in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and a remaining landmark from the time when Williamsport had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. It was donated to the city by J. Roman Way in 1913. It has since been maintained by the city of Williamsport. Today it frequently plays host to art shows and other similar events in the community

  • Way's Garden Circa 1930s, Northeastern corner
  • Way's Garden Circa 1930s
  • Way's Garden commemorative plaque

Joseph Roman Way was born in 1848 in Cecil County, Maryland but moved to Williamsport in 1871. He was a prominent figure in the lumber industry of Williamsport and a shareholder in the Pittsburgh-Buffalo company. In addition he was a member of the city's school board. He was a prominent citizen in the city of Williamsport. He purchased the property that would eventually become Way's Garden after the owner of a prominent local residence had passed away.

This residence was an enormous mansion known in the community as "the castle". It was nicknamed this because of the fact that it actually had spires, that made it look remarkably similar to a medieval castle. It was initially owned by noted architect Robert Faries who had personally designed the mansion. It was later purchased by John White. Way lived across the street from the mansion for a long period. The owner of the mansion John White passed away in 1890. Following that, rumors circulated regarding what was to become of "The Castle". There are conflicting reports as to the actual fate of "The Castle". Some say it burned down, while others say that Way had it torn down as it put his own house to shame. Others still, attribute the intent to use it as a brothel Regardless of the reason, as a philanthropic act Way donated the land to the city of Williamsport permanently, preferring a garden to yet another mansion.

For the plans of his garden, Way turned to famous Philadelphia landscape architect Oglesby Hall to design it. It was donated to the city of Williamsport by Way in 1913. For many years its roses were a prominent must see attraction in the city of Williamsport. Way passed away in 1937, leaving an endowment for the improvement of the garden. Unfortunately as the years rolled on the city of Williamsport's status as the lumber capital of the United States faded, and the eponymous millionaires of Millionaire's Row left the area and with less money coming in for the maintenance of Way's Garden, it began to decline from the lush garden and tourist attraction that it once was.

The garden is now overseen by the Way's Garden commission. They have made it their mission to continue to revitalize the garden in order to restore it to the landmark it once was for Williamsport. Part of this initiative has included the addition of a Pergola, and the hosting of art shows within the park, as well as the restoration of the wrought iron fences. These renovations and more have been achieved with the use of $250,000 worth of grants.

Way's Garden remains a relic of Williamsport's history, and a landmark of a bygone era.

Auken, Robin Van, Hunsinger Jr., Louis Williamsport: Boomtown on the Susquehanna. Arcadia Printing Company. Charleston, South Carolina. 2003

Maroney, Mark. “Way’s Garden pergola dedicated.” Williamsport Sun Gazette, June 7, 2017.

Maroney, Mark. "Upgrades Continue at Way's Garden". Williamsport Sun Gazette, March 22, 2017

Meckley, Thad Stephen. Williamsport's Millionaires Row. Arcadia Printing Company. Charleston, South Carolina. 2005.

Coal, Coke, Brick, Sewer Pipes, and Builders’ supplies. Pittsburgh-Buffalo Company: Pittsburgh, PA. 1911

“From Mansion to Magnificent Garden.” Williamsport Sun Gazette, August 20, 2016.

Genealogical and Personal History of Lycoming County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1906.

"Joseph Roman Way." Find A Grave. Accessed December 2nd, 2019

Meckley, Thad Stephen. Williamsport's Millionaires Row. Arcadia Printing Company. Charleston, South Carolina. 2005.

Annual Report of Williamsport School district for 1911 and 1912. Frank R Miller Blank Book Company. Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 1912.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Way’s Garden Official Facebook Page. Untitled. September 5th, 2015.

Way’s Garden official Facebook Page. Cover Photo. September 5th, 2015.

Way's Garden official Facebook Page. Untitled. May 24th 2016.