Kingston, PA is located in the historic Wyoming Valley of Luzerne County just across the Susquehanna River from Wilkes-Barre. The area has plenty to offer, including historic charm and the conveniences of modern living.
In 1662, King Charles II granted William Penn territory in North America, an area which would become known as Pennsylvania. However, people in Connecticut claimed a portion of this land. In 1768, members of the Connecticut Susquehanna Company decided to survey and divide the territory into five townships: the first forty took possession of what is now Kingston Township. However, when the Connecticut settlers arrived in early 1769, they discovered Pennsylvania settlers had already been on this land for a month.
This, of course, led to a dispute and Kingston became the battleground for the first and second Yankee-Pennamite Wars. In 1782, Congress named five Commissioners to settle the land dispute, who gave all disputed land to Pennsylvania. Luzerne County, which was once a part of Northumberland, became a separate county in 1799.
During the Revolutionary War, British forces arrived in the Wyoming Valley at the end of June 1778. The Battle of Wyoming took place on July 3, 1778, in and around nearby Wyoming and Exeter.
The first public school in Pennsylvania was built in Kingston in 1773. Wyoming Seminary was founded in the area in 1844 and remains a highly prestigious college preparatory school.
Citizens of Kingston borough requested incorporation in 1831; however, this incorporation failed and didn’t occur until November 23, 1857. At the time, there were 598 people living in Kingston, including the 125 who were boarding at Wyoming Seminary. The area’s name comes from Kingston, Rhode Island.
Prior to the 1960s, coal mining was the chief industry in Kingston and the surrounding Wyoming Valley. In June 1972, flooding in and around Kingston from Hurricane Agnes wreaked havoc and drew national attention.
Today, Kingston offers beautiful tree-lined streets, boutique shopping, and dynamic housing options, ranging from brownstones to large homes with wrap-around porches. Good schools and recreation are also abundant in and around the area.
Kingston residents can take advantage of the numerous nearby recreational activities available both indoor and outdoors. Kirby Park is a popular location year-round! This wooded, 52-acre park is on Market Street across the Susquehanna River from Wilkes-Barre’s River Commons. It features a pond, sports facilities including tennis courts, walking and biking trails, as well as picnic pavilions. Other nearby parks include James S. Keiper Memorial Park and Nesbitt Park which offers benches, a boat launch, and a 9-hole disc golf course.
Kingston residents and non-residents alike can also partake in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities at the Kingston Recreation Center. Located at 655 Third Ave, the center operates on a yearly fee basis. There are thirty-two different types of memberships available. The Rec Center contains two gymnasiums, two racquetball/wallyball courts, an indoor driving range, fitness rooms, a free weight room, a cardio room, a game area with pool tables, ping pong, and video games, as well as men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam saunas. Outdoor recreation at the facility includes seven outdoor parks and playgrounds, three tot lots, a lighted softball field, six tennis courts, and an Olympic-plus size pool.
Kingston Borough is conveniently located to major roadways, including route 309 and Interstate 81. The Back Mountain area is only a very short drive away and the city of Wilkes-Barre is just across the river. This means that all local recreation, cultural, and entertainment events are within easy access. These include Frances Slocum State Park, the Lands at Hillside Farms, the casino, skiing, and concerts and ice hockey at the arena, as well as various other concert venues, theaters, art exhibits, museums, and more.
You don’t have to travel very far to find something to do—in fact, you don’t have to travel at all if you don’t want to. Kingston is home to some very unique shopping and restaurant experiences. Canteen Park is one of the newest hot spots in the area, which we featured in this article. Other popular restaurants and food destinations include The Atrium Restaurant, Kevin’s Bar & Restaurant, Theo’s Metro, Bakehouse Cafe, and AmberDonia, to name a few. Kingston is also home to a Three Dog Bakery location which features dog-friendly baked goods as well as additional pet supplies.
Have you seen our exclusive video of Canteen Park in Kingston?
Not only does the Kingston area feature various grocery stores and pharmacies, it is also home to a number of unique boutique-like shopping experiences. Matterns (which we featured in this article) offers custom floral arrangements, gifts, and home furnishings. For unique and exciting jewelry and gifts, 3 Sisters has been selling handmade sterling silver jewelry and Pandora for twenty-five years. Showroom 56 carries “big-city styles” for anyone looking for ultra-trendy clothing and accessories. For those looking for something a little strange and unusual, The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor (which also has a location in Philadelphia) offers just that.
Matterns is one of many wonderful locally-owned stores in Kingston!
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.