2015 Events

Anthracite Architecture:

Three Victorian Towns in Northeastern Pennsylvania

A Fall Study Tour led by Michael Lewis

Thursday Evening, October 15th through All Day Sunday, October 18th

Tour Details

Wilkes-Barre (Friday, October 16th)

Almost everything that is worth seeing on our walking tour is concentrated in a narrow strip of two streets running along the river. The reason for this is the peculiar history of coal mining. Once serious, massive, large-scale underground coal mining began in the middle of the nineteenth century, the entire Wyoming Valley was undermined by coal mines. The only area that was never mined is the old town core where the elite lived. This was an extraordinarily stable aristocracy of wealth, sociologists say, since all they had to do was sit on their property and collect their annual coal profits. From about 1830 to about 1930, this didn’t change. This is the sense of timeless languid stability that we can still glimpse in the riverfront houses: the Paul Sterling House (1825, Edmund B. Gilchrist), Thomas Atherton Carriage House (1867, Frank Furness), and the George Bedford House (1875, Bruce Price). Homes that are now part of Wilkes University include the E.L. Brown House (1886, Alexander Hamilton Kipp), Catlin Hall, and Weckesser Hall (1863, Vaux & Withers).

Also on our route are the Market Street Bridge (1929 Carrere & Hastings), the Phelps House (1902, Wilson Eyre), the Luzerne County Jail (1866-67, John MacArthur), Stickney Block (1877, William W. Neuer) the Beaumont Block (1893) and Dickson Row (1904) by Kipp, Kirby Memorial Health Center (1930, Thomas Atherton), Irem Temple (1907, F. Willard Puckey), Miner's National Bank (1911, Daniel Burnham) and the remnants of an 1870 commercial row by Fraser Furness Hewitt.

Interior Tours will include: the Stephen Thurow House, now Kirby Hall of Wilkes University (1872-74, F.C. Withers with 1881 interior alterations by Bruce Price); the Luzerne County Courthouse (1899-1909, Frederick J. Osterling); the Memorial Presbyterian Church (1872, Edward Kendall); the Priscilla Lee Bennett House (1883, Bruce Price); First United Methodist Church (1875-76, Bruce Price); St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (1896-99, Charles M.Burns); Osterhout Free Library, originally First Presbyterian Church (1848 James Renwick); First Presbyterian Church (1889, J.C. Cady); the house and office of Dr. H.N. Young (1894, J.H.W. Hawkins); and the house of Missouri B. Houpt, now a bed and breakfast (1874).

Scranton (Saturday, October 17th)

On Saturday morning, we will walk to the Joseph Scranton House (1867-71, Russell Sturgis) and the Elm Park Methodist Church (1892, George W. Kramer). At Courthouse Square we will see the Lackawanna County Courthouse (1881-1884) by Isaac G. Perry, the Scranton Electric Building (1895), by Lansing C. Holden,  cranton City Hall (1888) by Edwin Walter, the Scranton Club (1906) by Edward Langley, the Scranton Cultural Center, formerly Scranton Masonic Temple (1925-1930), and Albright Memorial Library (1890-1892), by Green & Wicks.

 

Also on our route is the Scranton Children’s Library, housed in the former First Church of Christ, Scientist (1914), by Snyder and Ward, Scranton High School, now a part of Lackawanna College (1895) by Little & O’Connor, the 500 Block of Jefferson Avenue with numerous interesting houses, including no. 520 (Charles S. Woolworth House, 1909; Lansing Holden, architect); no. 534 (John T. Porter House, 1884, Colonial Revival ) and no. 545 (F. L. Peck House, 1901; Lansing Holden, architect), St. Matthews Lutheran, originally the Second Presbyterian Church (1885-1886) by J. C. Cady, and Emmanuel Baptist Church (1910), by Jefferson and Mulberry, now serving as a Performing Arts Center.

Options for Saturday afternoon include excursions to the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, Steamtown National Historic Site, and Nay Aug Park/ Everhart Museum.\

Jim Thorpe (Sunday, October 18th)

We will depart Scranton for Jim Thorpe at 8:45 a.m. Upon our arrival, we will be guided up Broadway to the Mauch Chunk Museum for a tour and two short videos. After lunch in the Museum ballroom, we will tour St. Mark's Church and the Asa Packer Mansion. Our visit will conclude with a tour of the Harry Packer Mansion, a presentation by Jack Gunsser, and a wine tasting. The bus will return to Scranton by approximately 6 p.m.

Join us for an exceptional tour to an area with a wealth of history, close to New York and Philadelphia but unknown to many. The Study Tour brochure will be mailed to all national VSA members presently. It will be available on this website, and by phoning or emailing the national office: 215-636-9872; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

 
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