Oct 212015
 

October 2015

Jim thorpe pa

Jim Thorpe was originally called Mauch Chunk (Bear Place in the Lenape Indian Language).  It is the seat of Pennsylvania’s, Carbon County, and is called both “Switzerland of America” and “Gateway to the Poconos”.

Mauch Chunk

This was the company town of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company. The company developed a gravity-fed rail system to feed the anthracite taken from the hills, to barges on the Lehigh Canal.

The rail system consisted of 8.7-miles of downhill track, (this type of track was called a gravity railroad), with the sole purpose of delivering coal, one driver to operate the brakes, and mules to haul the cars back up the hill, down to the Lehigh Canal.

The need for Anthracite Coal began to wane by the 1850s, and the “Gravity Road” (as it became known) began providing rides to thrill seekers (it got up to 50 mph)  for 50 cents a ride. It is often cited as the first roller coaster in the United States.

Mauch Chunk

How the town became Jim Thorpe is rather complicated, and is still steeped in controversy.

Jim ThorpeJim Thorpe was a Native American from Oklahoma and considered one of the greatest athletes ever.  He won Olympic gold medals for the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon.  He also played college and professional baseball, basketball and football.

It was found he was paid to play two seasons of semiprofessional baseball and was stripped of his gold medals.  Married three times, he died a pauper.

After his death in 1953 his widow was angry that the state of Oklahoma would not erect a monument in his honor.  At the same time the Mauch Chunk area was desperate to attract business to the dying communities. Thorpe’s widow promised many things that never came to fruition in exchange for renaming the town. One mile out of town, a large tomb with Thorpe’s body sits on mounds of soil from Thorpe’s native Oklahoma and from the Stockholm Olympic Stadium in which he won his Olympic medals. There is also a statue of Thorpe in an athletic stance that was funded by the local school children.

In 2010 Thorpe’s son Jack sued to have his fathers remains, his tomb and his statue, taken back to Oklahoma, the City of Jim Thorpe fought, saying that the city had invested considerably in the tomb, and the statue and while they could have the bones, they could not have the memorial.  The fight went on for years, and on October 5, 2015, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the matter, bringing the process to an end.

An odd piece of this are his medals, while many of Thorpe’s teammates fought for years to have his medals’ restored it took until 1983 when commemorative medals were awarded to two of Thorpe’s children.  Thorpe’s original medals had been held in museums, but were stolen, and never recovered.

The town is very proud of Jim Thorpe, but many feel it is time to go back to the original name of Mauch Chunk, apparently the cost would be prohibitive.

A model of the railway station at the Mauch Chunk Historical Society

A model of the railway station at the Mauch Chunk Historical Society

The narrow streets and old stone buildings help to give Jim Thorpe the nickname "Switzerland of America"

The narrow streets and old stone buildings help to give Jim Thorpe the nickname “Switzerland of America”

The Asa Packer House

The Asa Packer House

The second most famous person in the town of Jim Thorpe/ Mauch Chunk is Asa Packer (1805 – 1879).  Packer was a railroad baron and said to be one of the richest men in the world during his lifetime.

His legacy includes Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA as well as his home (open for tours) and the St. Marks Church in Jim Thorpe.

St Mark's Church in Jim Thorpe PA

This Gothic Revival style church was designed by Richard Upjohn between 1867 and 1869. The regularly coursed dressed stone jutting from the hill along with the crenelated bell tower and octagonal turret make for a commanding statement in the town.  Below the main church the Mary Packer-Cummings Memorial Building, designed by Addison Hutton, was added in 1912.

This Otis cage elevator was added in 1812.

This Otis cage elevator was added in 1912.

The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

This was the original front door, prior to the addition of 1912

This was the original front door, prior to the addition of 1912

St. Mark's Church

The Mary Packer Memorial Chapel

The Mary Packer Memorial Chapel

Ceiling above the baptismal font in the original chapel

Ceiling above the baptismal font in the original chapel

The Harry Packer Mansion

The Harry Packer Mansion

Carbon County Courthouse

Carbon County Courthouse

The Mauch Chunk Historical Society resides in the old church on the right

The Mauch Chunk Historical Society resides in the old church on the right

An old mill in Jim Thorpe

An old mill in Jim Thorpe

Mauch Chunk

Looking on to the downtown from the porch of the Asa Packer home

downtown jim thorpe

Oct 192015
 

October 2015

Scranton PA

Baptist minister, David Spencer, proclaimed Scranton the “Electric City

Scranton Pennsylvania is the county seat of Lackawanna and the 6th largest city in Pennsylvania. Incorporated in 1866, it saw its hey-dey in the Anthracite Coal boom.  At that time the population was about 102,000, today it is about 76,000.

Electric lighting was introduced to Scranton through the Dickson Locomotive Works in 1880 and later it had the countries first successful, continuously operating, all electric street cars, giving it the nick name “The Electric City”.

The name of the town comes from New Jersey brothers Selden T. and George W. Scranton  They were responsible for the Lackawanna and Western Railroad.  Ironically, there is no passenger railway transportation in Scranton anymore, although the Canadian Pacific Railroad does run freight through Scranton.

Joseph Hand Scranton

The Home of Joseph Hand Scranton, now the Admissions Office for Scranton University

Some of the revival of Scranton is through the five institutes of higher learning located in the city.  They include: The University of Scranton, The Commonwealth Medical College, Johnson College, Lackawanna College and Marywood University.

Door of Scranton House

The Second Empire Style house, built in 1872, was designed by New York architect Russell Sturgis, for Joseph A. Scranton, George W. Scranton’s second cousin.  It is believed construction costs were $150,000.  It was also called the Stone House.  The stone mason was William Sykes.

Wood in Joseph Scranton House

The wood carvings in the home are by William F. Paris

The home is three stories tall, 19,925 square feet and originally had 25 rooms.  It also originally had a tower, which has since been removed.

Dining Room of the home

Dining Room of the home

In December 1941, Worthington Scranton, Joseph’s son, donated the home and property to Bishop William J. Hafey for use by the University of Scranton. The building has housed the Admissions office since 2009.

The skylight is by Tiffany

The skylight is by Tiffany

*

The wood stairwell

The solid mahogany stair case and Minton Tile floor

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More of the Dining Room Ceiling

More of the Dining Room Ceiling

Oct 192015
 

October 2015

Scranton Lackawanna Train Station

This is now the Radisson Hotel, however, it originally was the Lackawanna Train Station a vital piece in the development of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Scranton began as an iron mill town, these mills began manufacturing iron rails for the trains, which till then, had been imported from England.  This manufacturing made the organization of railroads in this area possible.  Later when Anthracite was discovered the railway system expanded across the country to distribute this new found fuel source.

Lackawanna Train StationNew York architect Kenneth Murchison was chosen for this project and ground was broken in September of 1906.  The building was originally 5 stories tall, a sixth floor was added in 1923.

The station was 240 feet long by 88 feet wide and was built at a cost just slightly over $600,000.  This French Renaissance style station has six statement columns on the front, and is faced with Indiana limestone and a 8 foot high bronze clock.  The overhang is twenty feet and gives the station presence.

Lackawanna Train StationThe track side, which now serves as a meeting room and the bar, has steel trusses with a concrete roof and, at one time, glass skylights.

Lackawanna Train Station SkyLightThe former waiting room, which is now the dining area, was 2 1/2 stories tall, capped with a barrel vaulted Tiffany leaded glass ceiling and clad in Formosa Italian marble.

Christopher Street Ferry dock, New York City

Christopher Street Ferry dock, New York City

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Delaware Water Gap and East of the Delaware Water Gap

There are 36 panels surrounding this area. They are faience panels showing various scenes along the route from Hoboken, New Jersey and Buffalo, New York.  These tiles were modeled after paintings by Clark G. Voorhees.

Lackawanna StationThe first floor once has a lunch room, newsstand, telegraph office, ticket office, mail room and baggage room.  The station also had offices for the railroads, auditing, engineering, legal, real estate, bridges and buildings departments.

The station was officially dedicated on November 11, 1908.Lackawanna Train Station

In the early 1980s Scranton found itself struggling with a 13% unemployment rate and was looking hard to work their town into a tourist destination spot.  The train station became the focus of this concept.  Originally the building was purchased by a group of private investors put together by the Chamber of Commerce.  The building renovation was overseen by Balog, Steines, Hendricks and Manchester Architects and opened New Years Eve 1983.  In 1993 the hotel was purchased by DanMar Hotel chain for $4million and turned into a Radisson.

Lackawanna Train Station

*Lackawanna Train Station

 

Oct 192015
 

October 2015

Masonic Hall Scranton Pennsylvania

The Masonic Hall in Scranton Pennsylvania is so massive, this postcard is the only way to show it in its entirety.

Masonic Temple Scranton, PA

The building is loaded with Masonic iconography, including this dragon unfurling its wings over the entryway. The reference is to the Draconis star system which equals light, light being the symbol of education and the purpose of Freemasonry.

Masonic Temple Scranton

The building, designed by Raymond Hood includes both the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral. Today it is also home to the Scranton Cultural Center.

This architectural masterpiece is a combination  of Gothic Revival, Romanesque Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque and contemporary Art Deco styles.  The building, completed in 1930, was designed with a dual nature; it was built to house the more private Scottish Rite Cathedral and Masonic lodge while housing a theater and ballroom for public use.

Masonic Hall

There are three entries to the building, and in the lobby there are two large sliding doors. The lobby is usually one very long hall, however, the sliding doors can be closed to allow the three entries to be closed off from each other and therefore private. The public entry to the theater or ballroom was through the center, and entry by members of the private areas through the doors on the right and the left.
Masonic Hall Scranton *Masonic Hall Scranton *

Masonic Hall Scranton

Symbols of Masonry can be found throughout the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral. The two-headed eagle, along with other symbols of various branches as well as the four cardinal virtues are engraved on the exterior of the building.

A Dragon on the most forward point of the front door ornamentation

A Dragon on the most forward point of the front door ornamentation

This ceiling is in the foyer of the entry to the public space

This ceiling is in the foyer of the entry of the public space.

Scottish Rite Temple, Scranton

The ceiling of the ballroom with its Art Deco lighting

Stencils found on the walls of the ballroom

Stencils found on the walls of the ballroom

The ballroom getting ready for a wedding

The ballroom getting ready for a wedding

The unique feature of this building is that the black screen that you see is also the backdrop for the theater, so it is possible to have both sides open and have a double facing stage.

Looking toward the stage of the theater from the back of the room.

Looking toward the stage of the theater from the back of the room.

The ornamentation around the stage

The ornamentation around the stage

The patterned ceiling of the theater

The patterned ceiling of the theater

Mason Lodge Scranton PA

The ceiling where the Masons hold their ceremonies. Notice the two headed eagles. Frederick of Prussia introduced the symbol of the two headed eagle when the Scottish Rite was in its formative stages.

Scottish Rite Temple Scranton PA

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A window in the stairwell shows you the depth of the walls.

A window in the stairwell shows you the depth of the walls.

One of many meeting rooms

One of many meeting rooms that is still in need of restoration.

A patterned wall in one of the meeting rooms

A patterned ceiling in one of the meeting rooms.

Masonic Hall Scranton PA

The elevator doors

The building is 180,000 square feet and is technically 10 stories, although only 5 are accessible to the public.  There are 4 below ground and the turret that are not accessible.

There was originally an 8 lane bowling alley in one of the basement levels, it had a pin operated system that was not restorable, and the need for a bowling lane wasn’t really there, so it was removed.

DSC_9148

The flowerettes in the center of these ceiling rosettes begin wide open on the top floor and gradually close to the somewhat pinecone shape you see in the first floor lobby.

 

The people of Scranton and the Masonic members have worked hard to keep this building standing and a center piece of the community.  The State of Pennsylvania holds the deed, and the building is on the Historic Register, these two items will keep it from being torn down and turned into a parking lot.  The temple association has a lease back agreement and there are a lot of paying functions held in the building, such as weddings and theater events, and yet, it runs a $250,000/year deficit.

DSC_9145Despite a $1.5 million restoration on the 2000 standing/900 seated capacity theater/ballroom, the building needs another $14million to bring it back.

For more information, as well as how to donate, check out their website.

Oct 192015
 

October 2015

 

Lackawanna County Courthouse

This is the Lackawanna County Courthouse at 200 Washington Avenue.  It was designed by Isaac G Perry in the Romanesque Revival Style and built in 1884.  It utilizes a local West Mountain stone The third story was added in 1896 by architect B. Taylor Lacey.  The interior has been so radically modified as to not warrant mention.

The John Mitchell Monument

The John Mitchell Monument

There is a considerable amount of art around the courthouse, I would like to mention two that stand out.  This is the John Mitchell Monument by Peter Sheridan.  John Mitchell was the leader of the United Mine Workers. Its placement is fitting due to the fact that in May 1902, 150,000 mineworkers struck for six months against bad labor situations.  The Anthracite Coal Strike Commission was set up by President Theodore Roosevelt and they held the hearings in the courthouse behind this statue. The result was a few demands granted and the introduction of federal intervention in labor disputes.

Scranton Art

Art in Scranton*

ARt in ScrantonThis stunning sculptural piece is three sided.  It was dedicated in 1977 as a memorial to all men and women who served in the wars from Lackawanna County.

Elm Park ChurchThis church was built in 1892 and designed by George W. Cramer.  What makes it unique is its Akron Plan. The Akron Plan for church buildings was made popular by architectural pattern books in the late 19th and early 20th century. The plan is typified by an auditorium worship space  surrounded by connecting Sunday school classroom spaces, usually on one or two levels. The plan was first used in 1872 at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio

The Sunday School Area

The Sunday School Area, each arch represents a different classroom, there are often curtains hung from the bars that cut across the bottom of the arches.

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The altar area, as taken from the Sunday School area.

There is a small chapel on the first floor of the Methodist Church with these fascinating little touches.

small chapel

DSC_9024 *DSC_9026 *DSC_9025

 

St Peters Cathedral Complex

St Peters Cathedral Complex

Originally built as the Church of St. Vincent de Paul and designed by engineer Joel Amsden in 1865, it was remodeled in the classic Beaux Arts Style in 1884 by Lewis Hancock.

A replication of Rafael's Transfiguration graces the altar area.

A replication of Rafael’s Transfiguration graces the altar area.

Scranton Municipal Building (1888) (340 N. Washington Ave. at Mulberry St.). Scranton, PA. Style: Victorian Gothic. Architect: Edward L. Walter. On National Register.

Scranton Municipal Building  built in 1888 at 340 N. Washington Avenue by Edward L. Walter.

Scranton Electric Building

Then there is the most recognizable building in Scranton after dark, the Scranton Electric Building.  Built in 1896 by architect Lansing Holden, the Beaux Arts building originally held the Scranton Board of trade, it was sold to the Electric Company in 1926 who erected the sign that can be seen from miles away at night.

Scranton is an ultimately very walkable town, with wonderful historic buildings where ever you go.  Pick up the History Set in Stone Walking Guide and enjoy.

 

 

Oct 172015
 

October 2015

Let us start with, how do you pronounce Wilkes-Barre? The town was named in honor of British Parliament members, John Wilkes and Isaac Barre and throughout its history, the city’s name has gone through various spellings, including Wilkesbarre, Wilkesborough, Wilkesburg, Wilkesbarra, Wilkes Barry and Wilkes Berry.  The two widely accepted ways to pronounce this hyphenated name are “Wilkes-BERRY” and “Wilkes-BEAR”.

Th Chevalier de Luzerne

Le Chevalier de Luzerne was born in Paris and joined the French Army.  He entered diplomatic service and was sent to the US in 1770.  He was always sympathetic to the young American Republic.

 

This small town, founded in 1769 and formally incorporated in 1806, is located in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania and is the seat of Luzerne County.  Due to the discovery of anthracite coal in the 19th century, which gave the city the nickname of “The Diamond City”, hundreds of thousands of immigrants flocked to the area for the  jobs in the numerous mines and collieries that sprung up.

The cast-iron ornament of this house, reminiscent of New Orleans, was made possible by the mass production of the Industrial Revolution; forged in an anthracite- fueled foundry, it is an excellent example of the way in which Wilkes-Barre’s coal was helping to transform America. Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan designed this cubical Italian villa for banker Walter Sterling.

The cast-iron ornament on this house is reminiscent of much of the south of the U.S. The house was designed by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan for banker William Sterling.  Built 1860

During this economic boom a number of franchises were either founded or headquartered in the city, such as Woolworth’s, Planter’s Peanuts, Miner’s Bank, and Stegmaier Beer.  During this period the population was around 86,000, today it is half of that.

McClintock’s house has borne witness to both phases of River Street’s existence. Originally, the house was designed in the Greek Revival style. In 1863, McClintock, made wealthy by the growth of the mining industry, engaged New York architects Calvert Vaux and F. C. Withers to remodel his house. The spare structure was soon transformed into the first High Victorian Gothic house in Wilkes-Barre, boasting a polychrome brick arcade which made the house as fashionable as any of its neighbors.

This high Victorian Gothic home was designed by architect Bruce Price for Murray Reynolds and his family. This was also once the home of Colonel Robert B. Ricketts, a hero from the Battle of Gettysburg and donator of Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.  Built 1873

The coal industry survived several disasters, including an explosion at the Baltimore Colliery in 1919 that killed 92 miners, but as other forms of energy were discovered and harnessed, its use died out. Most coal operations left Wilkes-Barre by the end of World War II, and then the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster, which killed twelve men and flooded the entire underground mine system marked the end.

The city went into a decades-long decline, hastened by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

McClintock Law Office

This small Italianate building was originally built in 1840 as a law office for Alexander McClintock

During Hurricane Agnes the Susquehanna River rose to a height of 41 feet, that is  four feet above the city’s levees, flooding the downtown with nine feet of water. No lives were lost but 25,000 homes and businesses were either damaged or destroyed.

Ornamentation on the Water Building

These water spewing ornaments grace the Neoclassical Revival office of the Spring Brook Water Supply Company, it was designed by architects Welsh, Sturdevant and Poggi.  Built 1910

Today the industry still includes beer, the recipes for Steigmair’s was sold to the Lion Brewing company and they still make beer in Wilkes-Barre. The town is the home to both Wilkes University and King’s College, both started to educate the children of coal miners after WWII, when people realized mining was dying out. Other institutions of higher learning include Misericordia University, Luzerne County Community College, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, and The Commonwealth Medical College.

Market Street Bridge is a historic concrete arch bridge over the Susquehanna River between Kingston and Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. It was designed by the noted architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings and built between 1926 and 1929.

The Market Street Bridge  bridge over the Susquehanna River was designed by the noted architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings, the NY Public Library being one of their most famous buildings, and was built between 1926 and 1929.

The King atop the Kings College Administration Building

The King atop the Kings College (College of Christ the King)  Administration Building which was once the office of the Lehigh Coal Company. The building was designed by Daniel H. Burnham.

Scottish Rite Temple

The Masonic Temple was designed by the Wilkes-Barre architectural firm of Welsh, Sturdevant and Poggi in 1916

DSC_8708

This is now Weiss Hall. In 1886, a new owner, E. L. Brown had architect Albert Kipp remodel the house, what was once a Greek Revival building, into this turreted, richly textured Queen Anne style abode.

Wilkes Barre Architecture

This is Wilkes-Barre’s Shriners temple, Irem Temple, built in 1907.  Designed by architect F. Willard Puckey it was patterned after the Mosque of Omar on the outside and the Court of Lions in the Alhambra on the inside.  It is without a doubt, the most talked about building in Wilkes-Barre.  Originally it was set on a large lot, and probably had quite a wow factor when built, today, crammed amongst other buildings the beauty is, sadly, somewhat lost.

Shriners Temple
Originally a venue for large public affairs, the building has suffered from benign neglect.  It is estimated that it will take approximately $3million to bring it up to a point where it is safe for occupancy, but most likely other $2million before it is of use.
Shriners Temple
That amount is staggering when one considers that a home in the Wilkes-Barre area can be had for far less than $200,000 and that the church down the road, which is now a collection of artists studios is on the market for $250,000.
The Health Center of Wilkes-Barre
The Kirby Memorial Health Center was designed by Thomas Atherton, and is an example of simplified Classical style. The tile work on the interior is just stunning. The building was built in 1930.
The stairways and walls are tiled, and the brass railings ornamented

The stairways and walls are tiled, and the brass railings ornamented.

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On the top floor each end wall has a tile mural and the walls are covered in patterned green tiles.

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The building has been graced with an endowment by the Kirby Family of $5million.
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*DSC_8618

Fred Morgan Kirby became an apprentice at the Moore and Smith Dry Goods Store  in Watertown, New York, at the age of 15. One of his co-workers was Frank Woolworth. Each gentleman went on their separate ways, but Kirby maintained a regular dialogue with Woolworth. By 1884 Woolworth persuaded Kirby to take a half interest in a store in Wilkes-Barre. Each man put up $600. The “Kirby and Woolworth 5 & 10 Cent Store” opened September 10, 1884. Early sales were poor and Woolworth wanted to bail but Kirby needed to see a return on his investment and insisted on bravng it out. His patience paid off and by 1887 he had made enough profit to buy out his partner.  After years of both gentlemen making plenty of money going their own ways their stores merged in January, 1912. Kirby received $9million for his stores and a chunk of Woolworth stock, but Woolworth got his name put on all of the stores from there on out.

DSC_8596 *Kirby Health Center Lobby

Wilkes-Barre is still trying to find its way in this new economy, but tourism should be a huge boon if people discover how fabulous this small town is, and what interesting history and architecture it has.  I highly suggest a visit to this town if you find yourself in Pennsylvania.

Oct 172015
 

October 2015

St. StephensSaint Stephen’s church is a masterpiece in understated elegance and master craftsmanship.  It sits on South Franklin Street and is a downtown landmark.

The church is built of locally-quarried yellow stone, and was the second church that Philadelphia architect Charles M. Burns designed for the site: the first, built in 1885, burned down on Christmas Day 1896 leaving only the tower standing.

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These hammer beam trusses that support the roof, are capped with wooden angels.

St Stephens

*St Stephens

The polychrome brickwork is just so subtle, notice the faux arches created simply with brick.

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St Stephens

The altar area is topped with a spectacular dome, while it appears to be a mosaic, it is not actually known what the material is, whether it is an applique or paint.

St Stephens

The pipe organ is just stunning and the church is used for many a music venue.

While there are no Tiffany windows in St. Stephens this plaque was done by the Tiffany Company

While there are no Tiffany windows in St. Stephens this plaque was done by the Tiffany Company

St. Stephens Church Wilkes-Barre

*St. Stephens

Oct 172015
 

October 2015

Wilkes-Barre PA

This is the Luzerne County Courthouse, it is an architectural wonder, not to be missed if you are in Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes-Barre was once part of Connecticut. At the beginning of its history, the territory belonged to Northampton County, Connecticut.  In 1786, after the establishment of Pennsylvania’s claim to the disputed territory, Luzerne County was formed with Wilkes-Barre as its seat.

Luzerne County CourthouseThe Classical Revival building with its cruciform shape  is 200′ wide x 200′ long . The rotunda is 53 x 53 feet, and it terminates vertically with the dome sitting 100′ above the ground floor.

The dome is presently undergoing renovation and is netted in this photo.

The dome is presently undergoing renovation and is netted in this photo.

The foundations is concrete, the exterior walls are Ohio sandstone and then terra cotta and marble rule throughout the interior.

Luzerne County Courthouse The four piers supporting the dome and the walls of the first story are of Botticino stone, a buff-colored marble with a similar color to Caen stone.. The cornices, columns, balustrades and corridor wainscoting are white Italian marble.

Luzerne County Courthouse*Luzerne County Courthouse*Luzerne County Courthouse*Luzerne County CourthouseYou will also find bronze throughout, including inset in the balustrades, the elevators and office screens.

Luzerne County Courthouse MosaicsThroughout the building, and especially in the rotunda corridors and entrance corridors are mosaics.  They include painted portraits of prominent people throughout the history of Wilkes-Barre and are in chronological order, making the study of the area a simple “walk about”.

Prosperity under the Law by William H. Low

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Prosperity under the Law by William H. Low

Over each  Judge’s Bench in the third floor courtrooms are the murals: “Justice,” “Prosperity Under the Law,” “The Judicial Virtues,” and “The Awakening of a Commonwealth,” painted  by Edwin H. Blashfield, William H. Low, Kenyon Cox and William T. Smedley, respectively.

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The Judicial Virtues by Kenyon Cox

 

by W. F. Smelly

The Awakening of the Commonwealth by W. F. Smedly

The lighting outside of the four courtrooms on the third floor

The lighting outside of the four courtrooms on the third floor

Luzerne County Courthouse

Looking up to the second and third floors from the rotunda floor

Mahogany benches in the courtrooms of the third floor

Mahogany benches in the courtrooms of the third floor

Luzerne County Courthouse

The door plates all have the seal of Luzerne County, which is also the seal of Pennsylvania

The door plates all have the seal of Luzerne County, which is also the seal of Pennsylvania

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  The cost of the building at the time was $2million.  It was the subject of so many lawsuits that it did not come in on time or on budget, but I don’t think anyone today would complain.

The top of the tympanum on the exterior at the front entrance

The top of the tympanum on the exterior at the front entrance

Luzerne County Courthouse

Oct 172015
 

October 2015

Memorial PresbyterianThis is the Memorial Presbyterian Church, at 29 West North Street, built in 1872. It has been abandoned and is searching for a new loving owner.

Memorial PresbyterianThe church was built by Calvin Whitehead, he lost his three children to scarlet fever, and they are memorialized in these stained glass windows “being dead, might yet speak”

Memorial Presbyterian

This Gothic Revival Gem with its rather rare stone spire was designed by Edward Kendall of New York.

The tile Floor

The tile Floor

Door Escutcheons in the Church

Door hinges in the Church

 

This is the Kirby Health Clinic Annex

This is the Kirby Health Clinic Annex – 63 North Franklin Street, built in 1890 and credited with kicking off architect Bruce Price’s career.

Notice the rather interesting simple details.

Kirby Health Care Annex

The Kirby Health Annex with its glass and stone embedded stucco and wonderful dolphin downspout

Kirby Health Clinic Annex *

This is the Osterhout Free Library, originally built as the First Presbyterian Church in 1849.  In 1889 Isaac S. Osterhout left his estate of $325,000, to “establish and maintain in the city of Wilkes-Barre a free library” the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, librarian Melvil Dewey recommended the church as a “temporary” building. It was purchased for $27,000.

Osterhous Free Library

Exterior of the Osterhout Free Library at 71 S. Franklin Street

The interior of the library today

The interior of the library today

The interior of the Free Library

The interior of the Free Library

 

Citizens Bank at 8 Market Street now sits empty.  It was designed by Daniel Burnham, best known as the architect for the Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition). Built 1911

Miners Bank *

Miners Bank

This is the Valley’s oldest congregation the First Presbyterian church, founded in 1779.  The building is Laurel Run Redstone and was built in 1889.  The architects was James Cleveland Cady who also designed the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian at 97 South Franklin Street

The church is filled with Tiffany Windows

The church is filled with Tiffany Windows

The house next door served as part of the church at one time, the architect is unknown, however, look at the huge pieces of sandstone that serve as stair rails.
Frist Presbyterian Rectors House

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Max Roth Center – 215 South Franklin Street- Built 1895

Designed by J. H. W. Hawkins for a local dentist the stubby Syrian arches and the rusticated walls stand out, as well as the beautiful wood work inside of the Max Roth Center.

Max Roth Center *

Max Roth Center

Bedford Hall

Bedford Hall 96 West South Street

Bedford Hall, built 1876, is architect Bruce Price’s finest example of the High Victorian Gothic Style, it was constructed for attorney and industrialist George Bedford.

Bedford Hall

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Ohak Zedek

This building for the Congregation Ohav Zedek, at 242 South Franklin Street, was built in 1930.  Its Middle Eastern over tones were designed by local architect Austin Reilly. Notice the splendid terra cotta entry.

Ohav Zedek

Paladian

An example of the rowhouses built throughout the city’s fashionable neighborhoods during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Row House of Wilkes-Barre

Row House of Wilkes-Barre

 

Stegmeir Beer

Stegmaier Brewing Company (1890-1913)  Wilkes-Barre Boulevard and East Market Street

Charles Stegmaier came to Wilkes-Barre from Germany in 1851 and hired A.C. Wagner, a brewery design specialist, to build the Stegmaier Brewery. This cupola-topped red brick brewhouse is a Victorian’s delight.

Steigmeir BeerIn 1974 when the brewery closed and sold their recipes to Lion Brewery, Stegmaier was the third largest brewery in Pennsylvania, producing 800,000 barrels of beer annually.

Lion Brewing

 

This is only a small smattering of the many wonderful historic buildings in Wilkes-Barre.  If you are able to find time to visit, you can download a walking tour put together by the Historical Society.

 

Oct 172015
 

October 2015

 

Hollenback CemeteryThe Hollenback Cemetery Association was formed in 1855 with 15 acres gifted by Colonel George M. Hollenback.
Wilkes-BarreAlthough this is the cemetery for the “upper crust” it resides in a neighborhood that is primarily surrounded with old miners homes.

Hollenback Cemetery Wilkes Barre

In 1887 John Welles Hollenback gave an additional five acres as a gift to the association.

Hollenback CemeteryThere are still plots available in this cemetery.

The reason for my visit is to witness, what is possibly the only historic place where an architect has designed a plot once every decade, and more importantly, that architect is Bruce Price renown architect of Wilkes-Barre.

If you have been reading along you have seen quite a few of his buildings.

Bruce Price was born in Maryland, and for a while, studied at Princeton. It is said that his stark style was a large influence on both Frank Lloyd Wright and Robert Venturi. His style included Beaux-Arts, Romanesque and what ever was needed for New York skyscrapers of his time.

In 1871, Price married Josephine Lee, the daughter of a Wilkes-Barre coal baron. They had two children, a son William, who died in infancy and a daughter who grew up to be Emily Post of etiquette fame.

George W. Woodward

The first of the graves designed by Price was for George Washington Woodward (1809 -1875), a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. The monument is meant to represent a Greek funeral pyre.  It is made “Christian” by a very large cross on the top, that at this point, only one flying over or possibly god, could see.  However, if you are so inclined it is possible to view on GoogleEarth.

The stars are there to represent an immortal, representing, of course, immortality.  The “battered” lines are an abstract representation of the personality of the subject, George W. Woodward, and apparently comes from Egyptian lore.    Hanging from the jutting stone at the top were originally bronze wreaths, meant to represent fresh wreaths placed onto the funeral pyre.

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*Wilkes-Barre Cemetery

This grave stone is for Price’s father-in-law Washington Lee. (1821-1883) This being the second decade the Price placed a monument in this cemetery.

Washington Lee Gravestone

*Wilkes-Barre Cemetery

The Pergola like structure is where Price and his wife Josephine Lee are buried, he designed this monument.  His son William’s grave is the small one at the front on the left.

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With the exception of this stunning sculpture, the grave stones within the cemetery are all rather simple.  Neither the deceased, nor the sculptor, are known for this particular piece.

Notice the exquisite placement of the mourners hat.

Notice the exquisite placement of the mourners hat.

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