Deer fandom and crazy serendipity

If you’ve seen my most recent posts, you know that I’ve recently written a book about the Court House Deer of Wilkes-Barre. He was interviewed for articles in a local newspaper in the late 1800s and became quite a celebrity.

Postcard of Luzerne County Court House and its deer, ca. 1930-1945 (Wikimedia Commons)

While I was writing the book, I did research about the reporter who wrote the articles, Ernest Hanson. I found him on a page of the 1889 Wilkes-Barre city directory (see below):

Wilkes-Barre city directory, 1889 (

An address! I wondered if Hanson’s house was still in existence, so I googled “10 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre PA” and this is what came up on Google:

10 North Main Street, Plains PA (Google Maps, 2023)

When I opened and zoomed in on the street view, I was looking at what appeared a small garden center with a bunch of deer statues out front:

Great Design in Plains, PA (street view, Google Maps, 2022)

Deer statues? When I’m doing research for a book about a deer statue?

This is NOT 10 North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, but rather 10 North Main Street in Plains Township, 2 ½ miles away. This address doesn’t really exist in Wilkes-Barre anymore—the block where Hanson’s house was located, just off the Public Square, is now the location of the Richard Abbas Alley Center for Health Sciences, part of King’s College.

Even though it’s not where Hanson lived, I was still intrigued by the serendipity or kismet of finding deer statues at the same-ish address. I decided that the next time I was in Wilkes-Barre I’d go to “Great Design” in Plains to see the deer statues. Of course, seeing meant buying, and it took a little hunting to find just the right deer—not a hornless one, or a sitting one, or one who was gazing up at the sky.

I found him—my deer. I bought (adopted) him and I named him Hanson on the spot.

He’s made of concrete and about half the size of the Court House Deer, but Hanson the Deer was coming home with me to Virginia, to be my inspiration and a tribute to his fellow Deer on the courthouse lawn in Wilkes-Barre.

Hanson the Deer in front of Great Design and in back seat

When I arrived home with a concrete deer I the back seat, my dear hubby was unfazed—he’s used to my crazy ideas. He obligingly transferred Hanson from the car to his new home in our front yard.

Hanson, just out of the car and checking out his new surroundings

I thought he was cute, but not much like the Court House Deer in appearance, who is a bronze-color, life-size iron deer. So, I gave Hanson a makeover with some bronzy-brown spray paint (Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Paint & Primer, Flat Burnished Amber).

Hanson the Deer, before and after his makeover

Perfect! That’s exactly what he needed. Hanson of Virginia is now a proper tribute to the Court House Deer of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

The Court House Deer, Wilkes-Barre PA (2023)

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