History & Heritage
Looking Back: A Glimpse at Historic Scranton
The Scranton Iron Furnaces in South Scranton are a historic reminder of the nation's rich industrial past.
Our Place in History
Incorporated in 1866, the City of Scranton is named in honor of George W. and Seldon Scranton, who founded the operation that became the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company in 1840.
The original inhabitants of the area were Capoose and Lenape Indian tribes, with white settlers arriving in the mid-18th century. Permanent settlement of the area dates back to 1788, when it was known as Deep Hollow. A gristmill, sawmill and charcoal furnace were established along the Lackawanna River, and over the years, Scranton’s names progressed along with the landscape. Prior to being named Scranton in 1851, the area was known as Unionville, Slocum Hollow, Harrison and Scrantonia.
Development continued, and by the late 1880s, Scranton was one of the nation’s leading industrial centers, earning the title of “Anthracite Capital of the World.” Laborers and entrepreneurs from around the world came to the city to mine anthracite coal, pour iron for tee-rails, operate railroads and work in textile mills. After the turn of the century, Scranton’s economy took a downturn. Oil replaced coal as the most popular choice of energy, and mining ceased in the area by the 1950s.
From industry to innovation, Scranton is now home to a growing downtown business district and several institutions of higher education, including The University of Scranton, Marywood University, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Lackawanna College, and Johnson College. With a vibrant arts community and a diverse population, there is plenty of opportunity to honor the city's rich past while progressing into the future.
Sources: Encyclopedia Brittanica, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area , Lackawanna Historical Society , unitedstateshistory.com
Isaac Tripp, the first known European-American settler in the area, built his home in 1771 in North Scranton in the section known as Providence. The home is considered to be the oldest house in Lackawanna County, and it still stands today at 1011 N. Main Avenue, Scranton. The headquarters for Scranton Tomorrow are located here.