The historic Scranton Iron Furnaces, located in the heart of the city, are a potent reminder of the city's industrial past. The four interconnected stone blast furnaces, once operated by the Lackawanna Iron & Steel Company, closed in 1902; they were rededicated in the 1980s and have been completely rehabilitated. The National Park Service runs the Steamtown National Historic Site, located on 40 acres of the Scranton yard of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. This facility houses one of the nation's largest collections of standard-gauge steam locomotives. The collection includes the 1.2 million-pound 1941 Union Pacific Big Boy, one of the largest steam locomotives ever built, and a tiny 1937 H.K. Porter industrial switcher. Steamtown's Technology Museum and History Museum are housed in existing portions of the Roundhouse, dating from as early as 1902. The History Museum displays a timeline of railroading as well as exhibits that detail life on early railroads. The Technology Museum features a sectioned steam locomotive, caboose, and boxcar for visitors to explore.
The Houdini Museum is the only museum in the world devoted entirely to the escape artist Harry Houdini, and features antiques, memorabilia, magic, and artifacts. Three miles outside the center city, McDade Park is the site of the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour, considered one of the area's premier tourist attractions. The tour features an underground rail car trip 300 feet below the earth to the floor of the mine and exploration of three coal veins. The area also offers tours of interesting architectural sites and of the area's first commercial winery.
Arts and Culture
The Greater Scranton area hosts a variety of artistic and cultural events throughout the year. The striking Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral, located downtown, was designed by architect Raymond M. Hood following a Neo-Gothic and Romanesque design. The cathedral is home to the Community Concerts Association, the Broadway Theater League, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. The Philharmonic, dance troupes, and other professional entertainers also appear at the F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre. The Scranton Public Theatre performs comedies, drama, and original plays at the intimate Lucan Center for the Arts downtown from fall through spring. In summer, this professional repertory company sponsors the Pennsylvania Summer Theatre Festival at McDade Park, five minutes from the center city.
The history of the Scranton region is interpreted through exhibits at the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum. Its collections highlight the lives and living conditions of the people who worked in the area's anthracite mines and textile factories, including replications of a family kitchen, a local pub, and a church. Another destination of historical significance is the Catlin House, headquarters of the Lackawanna Historical Society. Inside this 1912 English Tudor-style manor, visitors can view an extensive collection of books, photographs, clothing, and furnishings. A pictorial history U.S. Marine Corps from the American Revolution to the present can be traced at the U.S. Marine Corps League Museum. Founded in 1908, the Everhart Museum at Nay Aug Park features fine arts and natural history exhibits. The history of a local newspaper is presented in an outdoor display of artifacts and pictures known as the Scranton Times Newseum.
Festivals and Holidays
Scranton is a city that loves festivals and special events. The city starts out the year with First Night Scranton, a visual and performing festival that is punctuated by a fireworks display at midnight. In March, the town celebrates holds the nation's fourth largest St. Patrick's Day parade. Spring brings cherry blossom and wine tasting festivals, outdoor concerts, and music festivals. The Lackawanna Arts Council arranges festivals, exhibits, and special attractions, including the annual fall Arts Festival. Various ethnic and church festivals are scheduled during spring and summer, culminating in La Festa Italiana on Labor Day Weekend, which draws thousands of revelers to downtown's Courthouse Square. And in June, the U.S. Navy performs at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport's Airshow.
Sports for the Spectator
Summer nights are perfect for taking in a game of professional baseball, so area residents head to Lackawanna County Stadium to watch the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team plays 72 home games each season. Auto racing fans are drawn to Pocono International Raceway, considered one of NASCAR's most competitive speedways; it is located just 30 minutes from downtown Scranton and features a 2.5-mile tri-oval track. Horse racing fans are entertained at Pocono Downs in nearby Luzerne County, where harness racers compete on what is said to be the fastest five-eighths-mile track in the world. The Wilkes-Barr/Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, delight hockey fans during their 40 home games at the First Union Arena at Casey Plaza. The Scranton Eagles play fifteen semi-pro football games each year in the Empire Football League, and the University of Scranton's sports teams compete in the NCAA Division III.
Sports for the Participant
Scranton is at the center of one of the Northeast's most popular skiing areas. Facilities for the expert and novice alike are available at Montage Mountain Ski Resort, just five miles from downtown Scranton; skiers can also choose from more than thirteen other ski areas within driving distance. Montage Mountain features a number of challenging "black diamond slopes," snowboarding facilities, scenic chairlift rides, an ice skating rink, tubing, and hiking and picnic areas for summer entertainment. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are a few of the other popular wintertime activities; in the summer, residents and visitors enjoy water sports in the many area lakes and streams. Golfing, biking, fishing, hunting, and hiking are also popular pastimes. In October, the Steamtown Marathon attracts 1,500 entrants to a race given 14 of a possible 15 stars on marathonguide.com, with particular praise for the race's organization and volunteers. The city maintains dozens of indoor/outdoor sports and leisure areas.
Shopping and Dining
Downtown Scranton recently underwent a burst of commercial growth, bringing a number of new national chains to the area. A variety of specialty stores, antiques shops, and independent boutiques are also located in downtown Scranton. The area has also developed a reputation as an outlet center. The Mall at Steamtown offers two levels of specialty shops and a food court, and Viewmont Mall, anchored by major department stores, features dozens of specialty stores. From mid-July to Thanksgiving, local produce and baked goods are sold at Scranton Co-op Farmers Night Market, minutes from downtown Scranton.
Scranton's population is ethnically diverse and the city supports a number of ethnic restaurants, including Asian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican fare. Local ethnic favorites include pierogies, halluski, and halupkies. Diners can also enjoy a range of other restaurants, from fine dining establishments to classic dinners, steakhouses, cafes, and pubs.
Visitor Information: Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, 222 Mulberry St., PO Box 431, Scranton, PA 18501; telephone (570)342-7711. Lackawanna County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 99 Glenmaura National Blvd., Scranton, PA 18507; telephone (570)963-6363; email email@example.com
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