Scranton PA is both the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. This Northeastern Pennsylvania area has a rich mining and railroad history, and these industries helped Scranton rise to a certain level of prominence in and around the late 1800s and early 1900s. Scranton visitors can delve into the city’s history in any number of ways, with walking tours of the historic downtown and hill districts being a good place to start. The downtown district of Scranton PA is also a good shopping area, and visitors who get the shopping bug have the local mall and outlet centers to take advantage of as well. Delving into the historical side of things and doing a little shopping aren’t the only ways to keep busy on a Scranton escape. The city sits among hills and is flanked by the Appalachian Mountains to the west and the Pocono Mountains to the east. This helps to make it a good base for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most popular recreation destinations in the area is the Sno Mountain Ski Resort. Formerly known as Montage Mountain, this resort can be found just a short drive south of downtown Scranton and is a good place to visit virtually any time of year. In the summer, its Sno Cove Water Park can certainly be an inviting retreat.
In the 1700s, the area that is now the city of Scranton was still inhabited by the native Lenape tribe. The first white settler arrived in 1778. His name was Isaac Tripp, and the home that he built still stands in Scranton’s Providence section (North Scranton). More settlers from New England started to settle in the Scranton area not long after Tripp’s arrival, and the early village that sprung up was known as Slocum Hollow. In the 1800s, mining established itself as a major industry in the Scranton area, as did the iron and steel industries. In 1840, two brothers by the name of Selden T. and George W. Scranton founded the steel manufacturing company that would become known as the Lackawanna Steel Company. Later in 1851, the Scrantons founded a railroad to transport coal and iron products out of the Lackawanna Valley.
In 1856, the Borough of Scranton was incorporated, and in 1863, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company built a steam railroad that serviced Scranton. In 1866, Scranton was incorporated as a city, and in 1886, the city established the nation’s first successful, continuously operating electrified streetcar system. This inspired Scranton’s nickname – The Electric City. Growth and prosperity continued into the early 1900s, and wealthier residents built beautiful homes in Scranton’s Hill and Green Ridge sections. Though the Lackawanna Steel Company moved to New York in 1901, other companies and industries helped to keep Scranton prosperous. Fortunes began to diminish after World War II, however, and the city went into a period of general decline for several decades. An emphasis on revitalization was established in Scranton in the 1980s, and today, much of the city’s residents make a living catering to visitors.
Museums & Attractions
Museums & Attractions Image: NPS Photo: Ken Ganz
Many of the Scranton PA attractions celebrate the city’s industrial heritage, with examples including the Scranton Iron Furnaces and the Steamtown National Historic Site. Also of considerable interest for Scranton visitors who are interested in the city’s history is the Electric City Trolley Museum. Situated right next to the Steamtown National Historic Site, this downtown museum puts the focus on Pennsylvania streetcar history. It should be noted that Steamtown National Historic Site visitors can board excursion trains that embark on tours through Scranton and portions of the Pocono Mountains. Of similar interest are the trolley rides that are offered by the Electric City Trolley Museum.
Other museums that call Scranton PA home are the Everhart Museum and the Houdini Museum. The Everhart Museum has exhibits that revolve around such things as natural history, science, and art. At the Houdini Museum, visitors can learn about the world’s most famous magician and even see a magic show performed by modern-day magicians. Historic homes like the Terence Powderly House and religious institutions such as the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Ann and the St. Stanislaus Cathedral are other Scranton PA attractions that visitors can take an interest in. While in Scranton, seeing a concert at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain is just one more idea for things to do. Found at Sno Mountain, the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain is an amphitheater that primarily plays host to musical acts. The beautiful Scranton Cultural Center hosts such things as orchestra and theater performances and is also worth keeping in mind. Finally, Scranton visitors are encouraged to keep the city’s festivals and other special events in mind. One of Scranton’s most popular annual events, the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, figures among the largest celebrations of its kind in the United States.
Scranton PA Hotels & Lodging
Scranton PA Hotels & Lodging
The Northeastern Pennsylvania region offers a variety of accommodations. There are full service hotels, budget-friendly motels, and charming bed and breakfasts to select from. Travelers who are visiting the region can also consider going camping, with such Scranton area state parks as Lackawanna and Frances Slocum being among the places to find campsites. In Scranton proper, a number of chain-brand hotels offer reliable lodging options. Particularly noteworthy is the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel (pictured). This upscale hotel occupies a beautiful building that was formerly a passenger train station. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but this certainly doesn’t mean that modern style and amenities are lacking.
Top image: bclinesmith (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0