So, the Electric City has been in the news a bit lately. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out this video.
Growing up, I’ve heard a lot about Scranton, PA. It’s a city built on the coal industry—as is much of our area. But Scranton itself holds many stories and such rich history. It all started not with trains or coal, but with electricity.
Scranton has become a beloved name around the world, really. But before it became the home of The Office (see below), it started out as a city of industry with the introduction of the railway system in the early 1850s.
The Electric City earned its nickname in 1880 when electric lights were used throughout the city and were the first in the nation to have streetcars powered exclusively by the city’s electricity.
This came just months after Thomas Edison received his patent on the electric light bulb. This made Scranton a city of innovation, and they installed electric lighting in places like the Scranton steel mills and Dickson Works on Penn Avenue. From there, the use of electricity spread through the city.
Things really took off with local architect Arthur Frothingham, who is credited with promoting the use of electric street lights. The first ones used in Scranton were arch lamps, followed by incandescent bulbs.
Rev. David Spencer, D.D. is credited with creating the nickname for Scranton. Upon taking in the city’s electric trolley system and use of electricity throughout the city and its homes, he found the name fitting and it has stuck ever since.
Scranton is the largest of the former anthracite coal mining communities in NEPA. This, alongside its electric and locomotive history, can still be seen reflected throughout the city. Recently, the Electric City Escape Room was added where you can immerse yourself in rooms based on this history.
A large part of Scranton’s growing fame is due to its being the location of The Office—the American version. Actors have visited the area and have even taken part in local parades.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.