Digital Exclusive: Historical home undergoing long-awaited renovations

Digital Exclusive

WYOMING, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Sweatland Homestead holds important historical value for the Wyoming Valley and now, a major renovation will help it continue doing so for years to come.

“Places like the Swetland House, places like the Nathan Denison house, they show us the road map that got us to where we are,” Mark Riccetti Jr., Director of Operations and Programs for the Luzenre County Historical Society.

The Swetland Homestead, located on Route 11 in Wyoming was built in 1803 by the Swetland family.
Ricetti Jr. says the family had a huge impact on the surrounding county.

“The Wyoming Valley wouldn’t look the way it does today without them,” Riccetti said.

But the 217 year old house is in need of a huge pick me up. That’s why a restoration project estimated to cost a half a million dollars is underway at the historic home.

“We’re finally getting started with this. We’re going to replace the roof and you can see he’s scraping and sanding, so then they will some restoration work, replacement work on some of the wood and then they’ll paint,” Mary Walsh, the interim Executive Director of the Luzerne County Historical Society, said.

This year has brought many unexpected challenges, causing delays in the restoration.

“We were hoping to start in April but then COVID hit,” Walsh said.

“It was frustrating cause we were so close. We were all ready, all the I’s were dotted all the T’s were dotted…” Riccetti said.

Then as life took a step back into normalcy, the Historical Society decided to begin ordering materials.

“When we were ready to order, it was now hurricane season. So you know how do you justify taking away supplies from someone who is rebuilding their house?” Riccetti said.

The restoration was finally able to begin, but Walsh and Riccetti say they’re already looking forward to the homestead’s reopening.

“Keep your eyes peeled. The house is going to look a heck of a lot better. And hopefully in the spring between the renovations being done and hopefully we’ll have a vaccine and we’re going to hit it hard with tours and events next year. We want everyone to come out,” Riccetti said.

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