"Whitehaven is situated at the head of the Lehigh Navigation, and some eight or ten miles above the commencement of the coal formation. Its trade is therefore confined to the running of lumber; and this, judging from the number of sawmills in the place, and its vicinity, and the immense quantity of board piles that, for several miles above it, literally line the banks of the river, must be extensive."
1844 passenger on packet boat heading for Mauch Chunk
Josiah White serves as a fitting namesake for the town of White Haven. White's Lehigh Canal linked coal from the valleys to the lucrative markets and transformed this logging settlement into a thriving community in Luzerne County.
Nearly 100 homes, stores, hotels, boarding houses and even fine restaurants put mid-19th century White Haven boldly on the map. Five doctors tended the sick. Two lawyers managed the town's legal affairs. Two milliners offered White Haven women choice in fashion.
Railroads followed the canal and in the early 20th century carried tuberculosis patients to the private and public sanatoriums that took advantage of White Haven's fresh air.
Today, the river remains the focus of the town. White Haven is a popular access for boating and fishing on the Lehigh, designated
one of Pennsylvania's Wild and Scenic Rivers.