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Scranton History, Pennsylvania

There are enough twists and turns in the history of Scranton to fascinate one. If we look back into the past, we find that the region (which not only incorporates modern-day Scranton city but the entire Lackawanna region) was once the home of the native Lenape tribe.

Early settlers started arriving in the late 1700s and a small village community named Slocum Hollow was formed. The house of Isaac Tripp (who is believed to be the first settler) stands testimony to that period of the history of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

History of Scranton - The Initial Industries

Initial industries that included coal mining, iron and steel plants have been very crucial to the growth and development of Scranton city and its adjoining regions. The Scranton brothers, Selden and George Scranton, laid the foundation of the Lackawanna Steel Company in 1840. Staring from 1847, the company supplied iron T-rails to the Erie Railroad Company in New York.

By 1851, the Scrantons had set up the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) to facilitate coal/iron products’ transportation from the Lackawanna valley. Soon, two other companies, namely, the Pennsylvania Coal Company and Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, laid their gravity railroads through the region.

History of Scranton and Its Incorporation

The region was officially incorporated as a US Borough and named Scranton in 1856. Exactly ten years later, in 1866, the neighboring boroughs of Hyde Park and Providence were merged with the borough of Scranton, giving it the status and structure of the present-day Scranton city.

In the following years, the city continued on the path of progress. The city was given the soubriquet of ‘The Electric City’ when it introduced the nation’s effectively operating electrified streetcar system. Although the Lackawanna Steel Company had to close down its Scranton-unit, these were certainly the best days for Scranton’s coal mining industry.

By the early 1900s, many new immigrants from Eastern Europe settled in different parts of Scranton and by the mid-1930s, the city had a population of over 140,000.

History of Scranton in the Post World War Days

As a result of the diminishing importance of coal as a source of energy in post World War II period changed, Scranton lost its importance all of a sudden. Several railroads stopped their operations and in 1955, parts of Scranton were hit by Hurricane Diane. The 1959 Knox Mine Disaster, which led to the flooding of mines by the Susquehanna River totally destroyed Northeastern Pennsylvania’s mining industry. This has been the worst period in the history of Scranton and all that remained in Scranton was abandoned coal mines and jobless laborers.

Things started looking up again in the mid 1980s. The sincere efforts of the local government and other social organizations are bearing results and today Scranton is not only taking steps towards a better future but is also trying hard to restore its lost glory. Today Scarntonis stands among the top cities like Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Allentown in Pennsylvania.

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