The first European settlers in Scranton were the Abbott brothers, who founded a gristmill here in 1786. In 1800 the Slocum brothers took the mill over and began a charcoal furnace for iron manufacturing. A post office opened in 1811 and the delivery address was Slocum Hollow.
It was still an area of de-centralized small businesses and modest communities in 1842 when William Henry, a native of Nazareth who had been operating a blast furnace in New Jersey, arrived with his son-in-law, Seldon T. Scranton. William Henry was a geologist and surveyor. He had previously visited the area and had discovered deposits of iron ore in the hills surrounding the Roaring Brook and Lackawanna River. Soon, Seldon’s brother, George W. Scranton, arrived from Connecticut; the Slocum property was purchased, and funds were secured from a number of venture capitalists for the construction of the Lackawanna Furnace. By 1846, the Lackawanna Furnace and Rolling Mills Company was producing nails for market.
Still more Scrantons began arriving. This time it was cousin Joseph, who was a successful Georgia merchant. The next year year, a U.S. Post Office was established in the town then called “Scrantonia” after the Scranton family. Also, during this time period the coal boom was in full swing and the first wave of immigrants from England, Wales, Ireland, and Germany was beginning to settle in the region.
Scranton, then part of Luzerne County, continued to grow until it surpassed the county seat, Wilkes-Barre in population and importance. Residents had long agitated for their own county; Brandford and Susquehanna counties had seceded from Luzerne with little contest. But losing Scranton - and its rich industrial taxbase - was a different matter. When a new State constitution in 1874 allowed voters of a proposed breakaway county to decide their fate, citizens of Lackawanna County voted nearly 6 to 1 in favor of creating Pennsylvania’s last county, ending a nearly 40-year struggle.
The growing importance of anthracite (hard) coal earned Scranton the nickname “Anthracite Capital of the World” and kept the city humming through the early 1900s. The declining demand for coal after World War II forced Scranton, earlier than other industrial centers, to endeavor to find ways to diversify its economy. Its Scranton Plan, a revitalization plan devised in 1945, has been used as a model for other cities in decline.
Our walking tour of the downtown area will encounter splashes of that rebirth while exploring the core of one of America’s great mid-size cities of the industrial age...
Lackawanna County Courthouse
200 Washington Avenue
When Lackawanna County was formed in 1878, the city block that now houses the Lackawanna County Courthouse was known as “Lily Pond” or Tamarack Bog.” The property was a dump for ashes and cinders and was used for skating in the winter. In 1879, the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company and the Susquehanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad and Coal Company donate the land as site for public buildings and a park. Isaac Perry of Binghamton, New York was awarded the commission for the new county courthouse. Perry’s design called for a Victorian Chateau-style built in the warm tones of the city’s native west mountain stone, trimmed in Onondaga limestone. Construction was complete in 1884. In 1896, local architect B. Taylor Lacey designed the building’s third floor, adding eclectic stylistic influences such as a steeply pitched hipped tile roof, wall dormers with scrolled Flemish parapets topped by broken pediments and urns, a dentillated cornice and pyramidal-roofed towers. The Lackawanna County Courthouse gained national attention in 1902 for its role as the meeting site for the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission’s sessions in Scranton. The Commission - appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt - met in the Superior Courtroom to hear testimony in America’s first non-violent federal intervention between labor and ownership. John Mitchell spoke on behalf of the mine workers and famed attorney Clarence Darrow represented management. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Courthouse received a re-design of the clock tower in 1929 and a two-story rectangular wing in 1964.
START AT THE 104-FOOT HIGH SOLDIERS & SAILORS MONUMENT AND WALK CLOCKWISE AROUND COURTHOUSE SQUARE.
Soldiers & Sailors Monument
Washington Avenue side of Courthouse Square
The Harrison Granite Company of Barre, Vermont directed the construction of this remembrance to Lackawanna County’s Civil War heroes, dedicated on November 15, 1900. The monument is about 104 feet to the top of the 14-foot bronze Statue of Victory brandishing a laurel wreath and sword. During a storm in 1967 the sword fell off the monument and was never replaced. The shaft bears the names of major battles and bronze plaques depict battle scenes. When the statue was first unveiled Ray Fuhrman, United States Navy, climbed a long rope - hand-over-hand, seaman style - to cut the ribbons on the draping.
William J. Nealon Federal Courthouse and Post Office
235 Washington Avenue
The present United States Post Office was constructed in 1930 and replaced an earlier federal building from 1894. Architect James Wetmore of Washington, D.C. designed the building in a Neoclassical style with Art Deco details. In 1999 the William J. Nealon Federal Building was completed on the site of the Old Park Plaza Building.
TURN RIGHT ON COURTHOUSE SQUARE ALONG LINDEN STREET.
Scranton Electric Building
507 Linden Street
Lansing Holden designed this Beaux Arts, eight-story building for the Scranton Board of Trade, precursor of the Chamber of Commerce, in 1896. In 1926 the building with carved stone front and copper-and-tile roof was sold to the Scranton Electric Company which erected the landmark “Electric City” rooftop sign. The designation was earned in 1886 when Scranton completed the first commercially viable, all-electric trolley system in America.
600 Linden Street, southeast corner at Adams Avenue
When the P.P. Carter Building, as the Ad-Lin (Adams & Linden streets) Building, was originally known, was constructed in 1896 it employed a Classical Revival/Commercial Style design not common among local commercial buildings of its era. Carter was selling axe and mining tools. Since then this pivotal downtown corner has been home to a printing company, sweet shop, bank & trust company, dance studio, advertising agency, bus terminal and newsstand. In 1928, the structure became known as Ad-Lin Hall. Aside from some general sprucing up in 1985, no major alterations have taken place on this building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
TURN RIGHT ALONG ADAMS AVENUE.
Grace Hope Mission
234 Adams Avenue
This is one of the earliest structures built on Courthouse Square, dating to the 1870s. It is typical of the early Italianate commercial buildings that once lined Scranton’s streets.
Stoehr & Fister Building
200 Adams Avenue, at northeast corner of Spruce Street
This white-tile, six-story structure was erected in 1923 for Stoehr and Fister, one of the largest furniture houses in Pennsylvania. not the detailed carvings of furniture-making elves on the band between the first and second floors. Today it houses Lackawanna County administrative offices.
150 Adams Avenue, at southeast corner of Spruce Street
Built by architect Lewis Hancock in 1911, this Gothic style building was designed with additional stories to match the height of nearby buildings. The additional stories were never constructed.
STAY ON ADAMS AVENUE TO LEAVE THE SQUARE, CROSSING SPRUCE STREET.
140 Adams Avenue
On this location in the 1920s an early parking garage was constructed for the Hotel Casey. it featured 18 terra-cotta medallions depicting roadsters from the era. When the original garage was demolished in 2005, the medallions were removed, restored and have been incorporated into the new garage facade.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO SPRUCE STREET AND TURN LEFT ALONG COURTHOUSE SQUARE.
Scranton Life Building
538 Spruce Street, at southwest corner of Adams Avenue
This eight-story Chicago Style building with Gothic accents was designed by Scranton architect Edward Langely for Scranton Life Insurance in 1916. Rich in detail and ornamentation, the repetition of pointed arches on the second floor creates a Gothic flair. The crenelated top with mounted eagles symbolizes the assurance of protection and strength of the firm.
150 Washington Avenue, at southeast corner of Washington Avenue
In 1896, Isaac L. Williams designed the Mears Building, Scranton’s oldest 10-story office building. its arched windows and stone facade suggest a Richardsonian Romanesque influence. the building was sold to many owners over the years and has been renovated many times.
436 Spruce Street, at southwest corner of Washington Avenue
This building was constructed in 1891 for Judge Alfred Hand as the Commonwealth Building. It was designed by Lansing C. Holding who gave his Chicago Style building Romanesque details with a flat roof with deep projecting eaves and decorative spandrels above and below bay windows.
The large bay window at the corner of the building caused great controversy in its day. When Scranton city planner Joel Amsden laid out the city streets he included a 10-foot setback rule so buildings wouldn’t take up too much sidewalk space. Judge Hand took advantage of an exception for porches and bay windows to create his massive extension to the building. Early tenants included the People’s National Bank and the J.H. Brooks brokerage firm.
201 Washington Avenue, at northwest corner of Spruce Street
Rite-Aid founder Alexander Grass was a Scranton native. The first Rite-Aid store opened in Scranton on September 12, 1962.
STAY ON SPRUCE STREET TO LEAVE COURTHOUSE SQUARE.
400 Spruce Street, at southwest corner of Wyoming Avenue
Built in 1891 by architect Frederick Brown, the bank was designed in the Chateauesque style with fine stone work and heavy cornice.
321 Spruce Street, at northeast corner of Wyoming Avenue
Constructed in 1896 as the Trader’s National Bank, this Beaux Arts style structure includes a unique corner entrance. The bank underwent major renovations in the 1930s to reflect the clean lines of the International Style.
326 Spruce Street, at northwest corner of Wyoming Avenue
Opened in 1895, the Hotel Jermyn was built by architect John Duckworth in the Neoclassical style. This hotel hosted famous performers of the Big Band era of the 1930s and 1940s, including the Dorsey Brothers and Glenn Miller. Note the carving of the Manhattan skyline surrounding the Spruce Street entrance tot he Manhattan Room Project, formerly the Manhattan Room cocktail lounge.
TURN LEFT ON PENN AVENUE.
149 Penn Avenue, at southwest corner of Spruce Street
This restrained Greek Revival residence was constructed in 1843 and is most significant when viewed in relation to its next door neighbor...
101 Penn Avenue, at northwest corner of Lackawanna Avenue
Built between 1923 and 1925, this upscale clothing store was constructed in the Chicago style. Samuel Samter opened his first store in Scranton shortly after arriving in town in 1872 at the age of 21. Samter Brothers, “Clothiers, Furnishers, Hatters,” operated in this location beginning in 1888 and closed in 1978.
CROSS LACKAWANNA AVENUE AND WALK INTO THE MALL AT STEAMTOWN. WALK UP THE STAIRS TO THE SECOND FLOOR, THROUGH THE FOOD COURT AND OUT THE BACK DOOR ONTO THE PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY.
Steamtown National Historic Site
Steamtown National Historic Site occupies about 40 acres of the Scranton railroad yard of the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, one of the earliest rail lines in northeastern Pennsylvania. At the heart of the park is the large collection of standard-gauge steam locomotives and freight and passenger cars that New England seafood processor F. Nelson Blount assembled in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1984, 17 years after Blount’s untimely death, the Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americana, Inc., brought the collection to Scranton, where is occupied the former DL&W yard. When Steamtown National Historic Site was created, the yard and the collection became part of the National Park System. The Steamtown Collection consists of locomotives, freight cars, passenger cars, and maintenance-of-way equipment from several historic railroads. The locomotives range in size from a tiny industrial switcher engine built in 1937 by the H.K. Porter Company for the Bullard Company, to a huge Union Pacific Big Boy build in 1941 by the American Locomotive Company (Alco). The oldest locomotive is a freight engine built by Alco in 1903 for the Chicago Union Transfer Railway Company.
WHEN YOU ARE READY TO RESUME THE TOUR RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO LACKAWANNA AVENUE AND TURN RIGHT. TURN LEFT ON WYOMING AVENUE.
117 Wyoming Avenue
The painted tiles on this facade are a fine souvenir of the Art Deco stylings of the late 1920s and 1930s.
Lewis & Reilly Building
114 Wyoming Avenue
Architects Edward Davis and George Lewis applied the classical base-shaft-capital structure of early American skyscrapers to this building, originally a shoe store, in the 1920s. Lewis & Reilly’s was co-owned by Jennie Lewis Evans, one of the first woman business owners in Lackawanna County.
Third National Bank Building
120 Wyoming Avenue
This Neoclassical Greek temple was built in 1918 for the Third National Bank of Scranton, known around town as “the 3rd.” The bank was founded in 1872.
The Globe Department Store
119 Wyoming Avenue
The Cleland Simpson Company purchased an 1870 building in 1878 to convert into a department store for owners John Simpson, John Cleland and William Taylor. It perished in a fire in 1889. The rebuilt emporium was designed in 1908 by Edward Langley and purchased by Charles P. Hancock. Hancock had worked as a clerk for Cleland, Simpson & Taylor before striking out on his own by opening the Globe Store in his hometown of Danville. When he migrated to Scranton, the Globe Store would gain local fame. It was one of the only stores of its kind in town, often compared to the stores of New York City with its large display windows, enormous selection with all of the latest fashions, and its restaurant, the Charlmont (later converted to cafeteria style restaurant). It always had elaborate outside decorations during the Christmas season. The Globe struggled to last through the 20th century but finally went the way of all downtown department stores and disappeared in 1994.
TURN AND RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO LACKAWANNA AVENUE AND TURN LEFT.
Scranton Dry Goods
409 Lackawanna Avenue, at northeast corner of Franklin Street
Jonas Long was the first retailer in this building, designed by Lansing Holden in 1897. I.E. Oppenheim purchased it in 1916 for his Scranton Dry Goods Company and soon expanded it to an eight-story Neoclassical tour de force that rivaled the finest department stores in the big cities of the Northeast. It was first to install escalators in the city. It had the first on-premises cold-storage vault for furs. It was the first store with a beauty salon, an air-conditioned tea room, a garden center,and an employees’ cafeteria. In the 1960s, “Scranton Dry” was bustling with 200,000 square feet of selling space. Scranton Dry Goods became Oppenheim’s but the upscale name couldn’t stave off the migration of shoppers to the suburbs and the grand emporium shuttered on November 1, 1980.
Bosak State Bank Building
434 Lackawanna Avenue, at southwest corner of Washington Avenue
Michael Bosak was born in 1869 in Austria-Hungary and came to eastern Pennsylvania at the age of 18 to work as a breaker in a Hazleton coal mine. Bosak became a clerk for several liquor merchants, saving enough to open his own liquor store in Hazleton and in 1893 started Glinsky’s Tavern in Olyphant. By 1907, Bosak was selling wholesale and opened the Scranton branch on Lackawanna Avenue. He acquired a shipping agency and established a bank in Olyphant that was known as “The Michael Bosak Private Bank.” In 1902, he was a founding partner of the First Citizens Bank of Olyphant, followed quickly by the Slavonic Deposit Bank in Wilkes-Barre and, in 1915, this bank. The warm stone building was designed by Edward Davis in a Colonial Revival style. His operations were such a success that he claimed the title of “richest Slovak in America.” His most popular spirit was Horke Vino, a bitter, port-based wine that was claimed to be a remedy for many ills, as was common at that time. The economic crash of 1929 stripped Bosak of his fortunes and his businesses faltered and closed in 1931. He died in 1937.
Scranton National Bank
108 Washington Avenue, at northeast corner of Lackawanna Avenue
The skyscraper rose in 1915, designed by Edward Davis in the classic Chicago School style of making a high-rise resemble a column with base-shaft-capital. it was the second home of the bank, originally named the Union National Bank.
Railway Express Agency Building
600 Lackawanna Avenue
This office building was built in 1908 for the Railway Express, a national firm that moved shipments of packages and freight quickly over freight lines like the ones behind its back door.
700 Lackawanna Avenue
This was the original headquarters and main passenger terminal for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. After passenger service ended in 1970 it was adapted for use as a hotel in the 1980s. Kenneth Murchison designed the command center in the Neoclassical style in 1907-08.
CONTINUE WALKING TO YOUR LEFT AS LACKAWANNA AVENUE BENDS INTO JEFFERSON AVENUE.
Scranton Gas & Water Company
135 Jefferson Avenue
This Beaux Arts structure was constructed in 1920-21 as headquarters for the Scranton Gas & Water Company by the firm of Edward Davis and George Lewis. Fish and dragon carvings on the facade represent the water and fire provided by the company. Davis and Lewis designed several important downtown buildings that transformed Scranton from Romanesque to Classical, ushering in a 20th century style of architecture in the city.
243 Jefferson Avenue, at southwest corner of Linden Street
Originally the Young Women’s Christian Association, the structure was built in 1907 in the Colonial Revival style. the building now houses students and offices for the University of Scranton.
Elm Park United Methodist Church
712 Linden Street, at southeast corner of Jefferson Avenue
This fortress of a building is really the welcoming home of the Wilkes-Barre YMCA. Wilkes-Barre architect Thomas Foster modeled the exterior after the palaces of medieval Florence, and the result is a fine example of the historical eclecticism popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Handsome interior tile work and details echo its Mediterranean influences. Foster, a versatile architect, also designed the Collegiate Gothic First Baptist Church on South River Street.
310 Jefferson Avenue, at northeast corner of Linden Street
This handsome building with rusticated base was built as the headquarters of the Glen Alden Coal Company in 1922 in the Neoclassical style. It is home to offices of the University of Scranton today.
Houlihan McLean Center
346 Jefferson Avenue, at southeast corner of Mulberry Street
This Victorian Gothic stone building was erected as the Emmanuel Baptist Church in 1910. It is now the Performing Arts Center for the University of Scranton.
TURN LEFT FOR A FEW STEPS ON MULBERRY STREET.
618 Mulberry Street
This is one of the first Art Deco apartment buildings constructed in the United States. legend has it that a Mr. Herold, a Navy veteran, worked with the architect to design this 1937 building to look like a ship.
RETURN TO JEFFERSON AVENUE AND TURN LEFT.
401 Jefferson Avenue, at northwest corner of Mulberry Street
Built in the 1870s, the Victorian-style residence of Colonel Austin Blair, son of a founder of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, was remodeled in 1910 to add the imposing Corinthian portico and a third floor ballroom, the better to host Blair’s swanky parties. The house was converted into a special events venue, catering facility, boutique hotel known as The Colonnade in 2006.
St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
425 Jefferson Avenue
James C. Cady created this French Norman cottage-style church for Scranton’s Presbyterian parish in 1886.
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
505 Jefferson Avenue, at northwest corner of Vine Street
In 1895 a stone mansion was constructed on this corner for Judge Albert Hand, whose business interests included, among other things, canals and water rights in the New Mexico Territory. In 1939 his heirs sold the property to the Greek Orthodox congregation who dismantled the house and reassembled the stones to form the present structure.
Lackawanna College Fitness Center
500 Jefferson Avenue, at northeast corner of Vine Street
This corner was the domain of John Jermyn, an Englishman who came to America as a youth and was a digger in the Diamond coal mine in 1847 at the age of 17. From those humble beginnings Jermyn would become one of the leading anthracite coal operators in Pennsylvania, developing mines at Dickson City, Scranton, Old Forge and elsewhere. He sold all but the Old Forge mines and by the time of his death in 1902 his estate was valued at several million dollars. The Diocese of Scranton built a Catholic Youth Center here in 1949 and it is now owned by Lackawanna College.
520 Jefferson Avenue
Charles Sumner Woolworth, brother of five-and-dime empire-builder Frank W. Woolworth, was brought into the business early on and helped guide it to prominence. “Sum,” as he was called made Scranton his home (the Woolworth’s was at 125 Penn Avenue) and base of operations for timber and railroad ventures. After Frank died, Charles followed him as president. His Neoclassical house was designed by Lansing Holden in 1909.
American Red Cross Building
545 Jefferson Avenue
Fenwick L. Peck, founded the successful Lackawanna Lumber Company but accumulate rare wealth when he was one of the first to envision the potential of the vast Mississippi yellow pine forests in 1896. He purchased the controlling interest in the Newman Lumber Company in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and at its peak of production, the company owned 400,000 acres of timberlands and produced 75,000,000 board feet of lumber per year. His Colonial-style dwelling was constructed in 1901 by Lansing Holden. The Peck family donated it to the Scranton Chapter of the American Red Cross in 1942.
544 Jefferson Avenue
This was the home of John T. Porter, wholesale grocer and president of the Scranton Board of Trade.
TURN LEFT ON OLIVE STREET. TURN LEFT ON ADAMS STREET. TURN RIGHT ON VINE STREET.
Lackawanna County Children’s Library
520 Vine Street
The former First Church of Christ Scientist was built in 1914 by architects Snyder & Ward in a pure Greek Revival style. The Lackawanna County Library System bought the building in 1985.
501 Vine Street
The dramatic Central High School was built here in 1895, replacing a similarly imposing Second Empire school that had stood since 1858. This building, by Little & O’Connor, served almost a century before closing in 1991. It is now the centerpiece of Lackawanna College.
500 Vine Street, at southeast corner of Washington Avenue
John Joseph Albright, water power pioneer and president of the Marine National Bank of Buffalo (NY) donated the land of his old family homestead and funds for this extraordinary building in 1893 to honor his parents who had recently passed away. The firm of Green and Wicks, leading Buffalo architects, modeled the library in the French Renaissance style after the chateau monastery, Musee de Cluny, to give a splendid view at the northern gateway to downtown Scranton. The exterior of the building is composed of Indiana limestone in a warm gray color above a base of brown Medina stone, all laid in course ashlar. The building has high, steeply-pitched roofs; there are twelve dormer gables covered in black Spanish tiles. In the panels of the dormers and on other parts of the building, there are symbols of notable bookmakers elaborately carved in the stonework. The window sash are made of iron in an English casement style, with the glass leaded in various patterns. There are large stained-glass windows placed in prominent portions of the building. The subjects of these windows were the majestic book bindings of past centuries. The beautiful quartered oak woodwork inside the Library was fashioned by John Benari & Son. The floor of the entrance hall is composed of marble mosaic. The ceiling of the enclosed foyer is also a mosaic. The grounds around the Library were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who is heralded as the father of American landscape architecture. The design itself was completed in the 1890s, but due to a lack of funding, the actual landscaping was not to be realized until August 1999. Not surprisingly, the Albright Memorial Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
TURN LEFT ON WASHINGTON AVENUE.
Scranton School Administration Building
425 Washington Avenue
Designed and built by Lewis Hancosky, Jr. in 1911, this ornate Gothic Revival style structure is approaching 100 years of service to the Scranton School District.
Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral
420 Washington Avenue
Completed in 1930 as a Masonic temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral, this magnificent building is a mix of Art Deco and Gothic styling. It came from the pen of Raymond hood, designer of Radio City Music Hall.
American Legion Koch-Conley Post
415 Washingotn Avenue
Owned by Lackawanna College, the building was designed in 1937 by architect David Jones as an American Legion Post.
406 Washington Avenue
Built in 1914 in the Colonial Revival style, the former fraternal club is now part of Lackawanna College.
404 Washington Avenue
Originally a private men’s club, this Colonial Revival style building was designed by Edward Langley and opened in 1906.
TURN LEFT ON MULBERRY STREET .
Central Fire Department
518 Mulberry Street
Where once horse-drawn engines pulled through the broad arches onto the streets of Scranton, now, more than 100 years later, come modern fire-fighting equipment. The Victorian Gothic style firehouse was designed by Frederick Brown in 1905.
TURN AND WALK WEST ON MULBERRY STREET.
Scranton Municipal Building
340 Washington Avenue, at southeast corner of Mulberry Street
Constructed in 1888, Scranton’s City Hall was designed by city native Edwin Walter in the Victorian Gothic style and built using local West Mountain stone.
TURN LEFT ON BUTLER LANE. TURN LEFT ON WASHINGTON STREET.
Chamber of Commerce
southwest corner of Washington Avenue and Mulberry Street
Edward Langley designed this structure in the Modern style with Art Deco flourishes in 1925 to house the Chamber after its move from Courthouse Square.
TURN RIGHT ON WYOMING AVENUE.
434 Wyoming Avenue
Named for the Finch Manufacturing Company, this Gothic structure was constructed in 1899 by architect W. Scott Collins. It served as the first headquarters of the International Correspondence School and later housed the offices of the Hudson Coal Company.
TURN LEFT ON VINE STREET.
225 Vine Street, at northwest corner of Penn Avenue
This industrial structure dates to 1878 and was part of the extensive Dickson Locomotive Works, manufacturers of stationary steam engines, heavy mining equipment and locomotives. For more than 50 years the firm, organized by Thomas Dickson in 1856 as Dickson and Company, a family company, ranked not only among the leading industries in Scranton but held high place in the state and country. Today it is most known for its brief starring appearance in the opening montage of the television comedy, The Office.
TURN LEFT ON PENN AVENUE.
322 Penn Avenue
This Irish pub reflects the architectural history of Scranton’s past. The wooden door was taken from the Wyoming House Hotel, and the woodwork and the bar inside were constructed from the wooden shelving from Eisner and Sons, former occupants of the building.
300 Block of Penn Avenue
This commercial stretch was the hub of early 19th century industrial Scranton. Miners could purchase supplies and equipment at the Anthracite Jobbing Company and spend wages in the emporium of Eisner and Sons next door. The Lackawanna Steam Laundry provided laundry service for hotels and households.
TURN LEFT ON LINDEN STREET.
305 Linden Street, at northeast corner of Penn Avenue
The ornate brick and terra-cotta The Grand Army of the Republic Building is one of the best and most magnificent representations of Victorian Romanesque architecture in northeastern Pennsylvania and it survives close to its original design. It was designed in 1886 by John Duckworth, a Toronto native, who had a long resume behind him of buildings in New York, San Francisco and Chicago before moving to Scranton in 1884, where he practiced for 28 years - a tenure coinciding with the city’s era of greatest prosperity. The building was originally the Windsor Hotel & Saloon before it was purchased by the Civil War veterans group, the Grand Army of the Republic. The GAR Post maintained a large Civil War museum and library here.
St. Peter’s Cathedral
northwest corner of Linden Street and Wyoming Avenue
The cathedral was built as the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in 1865 by Joel Amsden, Scranton’s first civil engineer. It was originally designed in the Italianate style but received a make-over along more classical lines in 1884. The Beaux Arts building next door was the Bishop’s Residence, designed in 1908 by Lewis Hancock.
TURN RIGHT ON WYOMING AVENUE.
222 Wyoming Avenue
This block was once the heart of Scranton’s nationally renowned entertainment district. Almost all the historic theater buildings are gone now. Built by vaudeville theater magnate Sylvester Poli, the Poli Theater opened in 1907 at a then-monumental sum of $250,000. A large vaudeville house, the Poli seated more than 2,000 patrons. The Poli was later acquired by the Union Theater Company in 1924. By the late 1920s, the theater began showing movies only and was renamed Ritz Theatre. In 1930, it was remodeled and renamed again as the Comerford Theatre. The theater lasted for decades and in its last years was a dollar house struggling against a local United Artists multiplex. In the early 2000s the Ritz, with its nearly 100 years of service, closed. Most recently a blues club has continued the tradition of entertainment in this location.
TURN AND WALK BACK TOWARDS LINDEN STREET.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
232 Wyoming Avenue
This Gothic Revival church was built in 1871 by architect Richard Upjohn, a leading practitioner of the form. The neighboring Parish House was built nearly 30 years later in the Victorian Gothic style by Frederick Brown.
TURN RIGHT ON LINDEN STREET AND WALK ONE BLOCK TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT IN COURTHOUSE SQUARE.