Friday, August 31, 2012

Scranton, Pennslyvania

As the crow flies we were parked only about ten miles from Scranton, however, driving there involved going over a couple of mountains.  According to the tour books there is not too much to see in the town unless one is interested in a railroad museum and some anthracite blast furnaces.  Still, we just had some curiosity about the town, having never been there before.  We drove into the downtown section of town, which seemed to be dominated by Scranton University.  The Lackawanna River, pictured above, flows around Scranton.   The downtown area has  primarily a mixture of newer buildings as well as 100-years old, and older, restored structures.  One interesting building is the Lackawanna Station,  a former railroad depot which has been restored and converted into a hotel.
 The lobby is quite beautiful with its mosaic floor and barrel-vaulted, Tiffany stained glass ceilings.  There is also Siena marble and glazed tile murals on the walls.  Near the depot is Steamtown, the only place in the National Park System where the story of steam railroading, and the people who made it possible, is told.  In the 1800s George and Seldon Scranton owned an iron factory which made railroad rails, spikes and nails.  They needed an inexpensive way to get their products to market so they planned the building of their own railroad, which later became the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.  The railroad boom during the later half of the 18th century created a big demand for anthracite coal and iron products from the Lackawanna Valley.  The Steamtown Museum is rather large with a visitor's center, roundhouse, history and technology museums.  The railroad yards of the museum are filled with many railroad cars, some of which have been  restored.  The museum is connected by a bridge to the Mall of Steamtown, one of Scranton's major shopping centers.  The long building on the left, in the picture below, is the shopping mall.

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