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Lackawanna Valley

Pennsylvania’s First Heritage Park…

lackawanna_posterThe Lackawanna Valley was once a hot bed of the nation’s anthracite mining industry helping to supply 80 percent of the hard coal needed to fuel the growth of American industry. The Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Pennsylvania’s first Heritage Park, and recently designated as a Federal Heritage Area, tells the story behind the difficult lives of mineworkers and their families. Fourteen levels of mine tunnels, thousands of miles of railroad tracks, hundreds of industrial sites, distinctive architecture and countless ethnic communities, organizations and institutions testify to the importance of the story of anthracite for the area and the country.

Go Underground and Into History…

Lackawanna Mine Tour Lackawanna countyAt the Lackawanna Coal Mine, explore 300-ft. beneath the earth in an actual mine. See how men slaved on hands and knees to harvest black diamonds. Learn from a real miner about life and hard coal times in the city that was once the anthracite capital of the world and one of the most prosperous on the East Coast. At the Anthracite Heritage Museum, you can take a closer look at the lives of the people who settled the area, mined the coal and transformed the region into the coal producing giant it came to be.

A Variety of Experiences…

Scranton, Lackawanna County

Experience a place with an array of sites and attractions for the entire family from the Historic Scranton Iron Furnaces to the Houdini Tour and Show. Discover the wonder of railroading at Steamtown National Historic Site and Lackawanna County’s new Electric City Trolley Station and Museum or head to the Everhart Museum, a regional center featuring natural history, science and art exhibits.

Outdoor Excitement…

lack_minetourIf it’s outdoor fun you’re looking for you can find it at the Olympic size swimming pool, fishing ponds, tennis courts and playgrounds at the 200-acre McDade Park. Enjoy water slides, batting cages, and Alpine skiing at Montage Mountain. Don’t forget the Valley’s two state parks, complete with campgrounds, fishing, swimming pools, and picnic facilities.

Endless Mountains

endlessmts_posterThe Endless Mountains Heritage Region is a complex and dynamic cultural landscape that fuses past and present, natural and human forces. Vegetation, building types, transportation routes, archeological resources, and scenic vistas are all important pieces that together make up the region’s historic landscape.

Cultivating Agriculture…

end_farmThe unmatched rural landscapes of this region would bear witness to the evolution of farming. As population levels grew in the early 19th century, for example and communities grew, the region witnessed the development of the rich agricultural landscape and network of small towns that remain largely intact today. Just some of the places you’ll want to visit that capture this incredible era are the Bradford County Farm Museum, Gardiner’s Farm, the Earl A. Browning Farm B & B and the annual Troy Fair.

Rich in Resources…

The logging, tanning and mining industries flourished in the Endless Mountains in the latter half of the 19th Century as communities and infrastructure grew. Stewardship of the land was given little thought and by the turn of the century portions of the region experienced ecological devastation. In the early 20th Century, the industries began to decline and the Civilian Conservation Corps was brought in to replant the region’s mountains — areas today that are prized recreational areas — these include Rickett’s Glen andWorld’s End State Parks.

Building Community…

end_amishCultural traditions are significant in the Endless Mountains. Ethnic groups have long enriched and added depth to the character of the region. Eighteenth-century French settlers at Azilum, nineteenth-century Irish and Welsh canal workers and miners, and the Italians and Eastern Europeans who succeeded them in the twentieth century have left their distinctive marks all over the region’s names, foods, architecture and events. You can see this influence at the Tioga Point Museum, the Old Mill Village Museum, the Bradford County Historical Society, the Baldwin House and at many, many other places throughout the region.

Over Hill Over Dale…

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Endless Mountains experience an era of industrial expansion, fueled by regional transportation improvements. Today, these remarkable achievements of their time can still be seen including the Nicholson Bridge, also known as the Historic Tunkhannock Viaduct, the Knapps and Forksville covered bridges and the Susquehanna and NY RR Freight Station.

Delaware & Lehigh

   delawarelehigh_posterDelaware and Lehigh National and State Heritage Corridor

Stretching 150 miles, the Delaware and Lehigh Navigation Canal Heritage Corridor (NHC) follows the historic routes and overland railroads of the Delaware Canal and the Lehigh Navigation System, from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre, in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Link to the Susquehanna…

canal_thorpeTo connect the Lehigh Navigation System to the Susquehanna River and the surrounding Wyoming Valley coal fields, the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad had to be carried over a mountain on inclined planes. Remnants of the planes can still be seen between Solomon Gap and Ashley. At the farthest reach of the historic system is the city of Wilkes-Barre where the River Common is a reminder of the Yankee settlers who planned the town and the River Street Historic District contains more than 200 historic buildings.

Carbon County and the Poconos…

canal_thorpe2This mountainous region is widely known for the high quality of its outdoor recreation resources including river trips, camping, hiking, fishing and skiing. The power of the last ice age can be seen here in the Pocono Plateau at Boulder Field, a National Natural Landmark in Hickory Run State Park — the spectacularLehigh Gorge also cuts through the plateau. Witness life in a mining town at Eckley Miners’ Village or visit Jim Thorpe, a remarkably restored 19th century town.

The Lehigh Valley…
Productive soils, vast mineral deposits and the Lehigh Canal created this region’s landscape of farms, intriguing remnants of historic industries and vibrant historic towns. Allentown holds a number of reminders of the region’s past, including a remarkable park system and exhibits at the Lehigh County Historical Society. Bethlehem is the oldest of the valley’s three cities and strongly displays its origin as the communal settlement of Moravianmissionaries. Easton was founded by William Penn’s son, Thomas and is home to the Canal Museum and Hugh Moore Park, two excellent interpretive centers of the canal era.

Bucks County…

Along the upper reaches of the canal_museumDelaware Canal, the river road connects a string of historic villages between Easton and New Hope. The entire length of the canal and its towpath are within Delaware Canal State Park, with many access points for hiking, mountain biking or cross-country skiing along the towpath. In the county seat of Doylestown, Henry Mercer assembled the nation’s most comprehensive collection of early American tools, housed in the Mercer Museum. Taylorville is the location of Washington Crossing Historic Park, where George Washington and 2400 troops crossed the ice-choked Delaware. Bristol is the historic southern terminus of the canal where it flows past a restored riverfront that includes the Senator Joseph Grundy Museum.

Allegheny Ridge

Conquering the Ridge…

alleghenyridge_posterIt must have seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to the early pioneers looking to expand Pennsylvania’s canal system west — a 1200-foot ridge rising above the Altoona and Hollidaysburg area. But in feats of engineering that would come to symbolize American technical prowess and the emergence of Pennsylvania as an industrial giant, the Allegheny Portage Railroad and later, the Horseshoe Curve were constructed to conquer the Allegheny Ridge and open the west for canal boats, and eventually, the railroad.

Hollidaysburgh — Canal Era…

aridge_trestlePeople and goods traveling on the Pennsylvania Canal in the 1830’s were transferred at Hollidaysburgh to the Allegheny Portage Railroad for their trip over the mountains. This made the town an important stop on the trip west. Today, a visit to the Canal Basin Park, the U.S. Hotel and the Canal Worker’s House can take you back in time to a remarkable period in our history.

Portage — On the Main Line…
aridge_bridgePortage began as a mountain hotel and resting place on theAllegheny Portage and Pennsylvania Railroads.The Portage Station Museum, Braemer Cottage, which belonged to Andrew Carnegie, and the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Clubare just some of the must-see destinations here.

Windber — Kingdom of Coal…

The Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area also celebrates the region’s iron, steel, and coal industries which prospered as a result of the Ridge’s conquest. The Coal Heritage Center in Windber introduces visitors to the region’s mining heritage while a short trip to the Eureka 40 Mine Overlook offers a view of a “coal patch” community and an adjacent mine complex.