NEPA Scene Staff

Learn history of ‘Heynabonics: How We Talk in NEPA’ at Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 20

Learn history of ‘Heynabonics: How We Talk in NEPA’ at Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 20
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From a press release:

Whether you grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania or you’re just passing through, there’s no denying that locals have a particular dialect in the Valley.

Jokingly referred to as “Heynabonics” by the hilarious comedy video by One Laugh at Least and the Community Film Project that went viral in 2007, the quirky language of the region will be explained in a lecture hosted by the Luzerne County Historical Society called “Heynabonics: How We Talk in NEPA” on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

The event, which is free for LCHS members and $5 for nonmembers, was originally going to be held at the Historical Society, but due to an overwhelming response from the community, it has been moved to the nearby Osterhout Free Library (71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre). It appears that everyone wants to learn a couple two tree tings.

Tickets are going fast, so to reserve a spot, call 570-823-6244, ext. 3, or e-mail

William Butkiewicz will discuss his in-depth research into the notable and particular “Valley dialect.” Find out about the origins and evolution of what was voted by USA Today as “America’s Second Most Prominent Accent.”

The Luzerne County Historical Society museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free for members, $5 for nonmembers, and $3 for children. Exhibitions currently on view at the museum include “Let’s Go Shopping! Stores of Yesteryear” and “Native Americans in the Wyoming Valley.” “The Battle of Wyoming at 240: Revolution on the Homefront” opened on Sept. 7.

On Feb. 11, 1858, a group met at the Old Fell Tavern in Wilkes-Barre to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first known successful burning of anthracite coal in an open grate by Judge Jesse Fell. During the ceremony, General E. L. Dana suggested the founding of a historical society. A resolution passed unanimously, and the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society was incorporated in May of 1858.

By 1877, the society had acquired rooms in the Odd Fellows Hall and was able to open its collection to the public on Friday evenings. It later added a meeting room and library, and memberships and donations increased.

In 1882, Isaac Osterhout directed that space for the society be included in the free library that was to be established under his will. The Osterhout Free Library trustees voted to erect a separate building behind the library to house the collections of the society. The money was appropriated, and the building opened in 1893.

With the acquisition of the Swetland Homestead in 1958 and the Bishop Library in 1971, the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society reached its present stature.

The society maintains a museum and library for the collective memory of Luzerne County and its environs. It records and interprets the history, traditions, events, people, and cultures that have directed and molded life within the region.

Its mission to this day is to preserve and promote the collective history and heritage of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Photo by Hank Rogers