Wyoming Valley History Timeline

1600′s | 1700′s | 1800′s | 1900′s

1600’s
Susquehannocks


1700’s
1701 – by invitation of the Six nations, the Shawanese Indians established a village in the valley


1740’s
1742    - six nations move another group of Delaware into valley
1742 – Count Zinzendorf travels to Wyoming Valley to preach


1760’s
1762 – Connecticut settlers had located their camp near the mouth of Mill Creek
1763 – Pontiac’s War
1763 – April 19; Chief Teedyuscung of the Delaware killed by fire in his cabin
1763 – October; Captain Bull Teedyuscung’s son avenges father’s death; kills 20 settlers
1766 – Conn. Yankees move onto Indian land despite warnings
1769 – April 17; 200 Yankees settle in the valley
1769 – Begin  first Yankee Pennamite war
1769 - Obadiah and Daniel Gore succeed in using coal to fire forge


1770’s
1770 – Paxtang boys take Fort Wyoming
1770’s – Matthias Hollenback and Jacob Cist open general store  50WM
1770 - plan for Wilkes-Barre city laid out by John Durkee
1776 – Revolutionary War begins; Yankees and Pennamites cease fighting each other
1778 – Battle of Wyoming and Wyoming Massacre
1778 – Francis Slocum captured
1779 – Sullivan’s march ordered by George Washington through Wyoming Valley


1780’s
1780 – Sugarloaf MassacreLCHPC
1780 – noted local historian Charles Miner born; died 1865   50 WM
1781 – renewed dispute between Yankees and Pennamites
1783-1786 - 2nd Yankee-Pennamite War
1786 – Luzerne County created; named for Chevalier de Luzerne


1790’s
1790 – Schuylkill coal fields discovered
1795 – Post Office opens in Wilkes-Barre  BC


1800’s
1804 – Berwick turnpike brought first pioneers to Hazleton  LCHPC
1805 – Easton and Wilkes-Barre turnpike opened
1806 – Borough of Wilkes-Barre formed
1807 – Wilkes-Barre Academy formed
1807 – Abijah Smith markets coal in Maryland
1808 – Judge Jesse Fell successfully burns coal on an open grate


1810’s
1810 – Susquehanna and Bradford counties separate from Luzerne County
1811 – Old Ship Zion church on public square completed BC
1819 – First Market Street bridge opened


1820’s
1821 – future abolitionist William Gildersleeve moves to Wyoming Valley
1828 - December 2; 1st canal boat moves through the D & H canal
1828 – North Branch canal begins operation from Northumberland to Pittston  BC
1829 – George Catlin paints Native Americans


1830’s
1830 – future PA governor Henry Hoyt born in Wilkes-Barre
1833 – Richard Jones builds county’s first steam engine
1834 – North Branch canal completed in Wilkes-Barre and Pittston
1831 – Wyoming Canal opened to Pittston LCHPC
1837 – Lehigh Canal to White Haven opened
1839 – Wilkes Barre Female Academy opens


1840’s
1840 – construction begins on Ashley Planes to transport coal over the mountain
1841-1842 – Wyoming Monument erected
1843 – 1st passenger train reaches Wilkes-Barre
1847 – Simon Long opens store on Public Square
1849 – Vulcan Iron works built


1850’s
1850 – 1st telegraph opens in Wilkes-Barre to Tamaqua
1851 – St. Mary’s church built in PittstonBC
1852 – Lackawanna/Bloomsburg railroad formed  BC
1856 – Wilkes-Barre gas company formed
1856 – 1st locomotive drawing passenger cars enters Kingston on D, L & W RR   BC
1856 – Wyoming Canal opens to New York
1857 – April, last stage coach trip between Wilkes-Barre and Easton
1857 – Charles Stegmaeir begins to brew beer
1859 – Chahoon Hall opens on Market Street


1860’s
1861 – Luzerne County Medical Society formed
1861 – Mary Louisa Trescott born; first named female lawyer admitted to Luz. Co. bar
1863 – Civil War draft riots in Pittston
1864 – St. John’s Academy opens in Pittston; Luzerne County’s first Catholic secondary school
1865 – Lycoming/Sullivan County Flood
1865 – July Battle of Gettysburg; Capt. Ricketts holds East Cemetery Hill in hand to hand combat against the Louisiana Tigers to help save the Union
1866 – 1st horse car line in Wyoming Valley built Wilkes-Barre to Kingston
1866 – 1st cobblestone street in Wilkes-Barre
1867 – county prison erected
1867 – Wyoming Valley manufacturing company erected
1868 – Isaac Perry architect design 1st National Bank; Music Hall in 1870 and others
1869 – September 6, Avondale mining disaster; 110 men and boys died
1869 – December 30, Mark Twain visits to lecture


1870’s
1871 – William Gildersleeve prominent abolitionist dies
1871 – October 10, Mark Twain returns for a visit and lecture; stays in Wyoming Valley Hotel
1871 – Music Hall completed corner of Market St and River Street
1872 – City Hospital (later General Hospital) opens  50 WM
1872 – Myers Opera House opens
1872 – Memorial Presbyterian Church built in Wilkes-Barre
1874 – Rosie O”Neill Kewpie Doll creator is born
1875 – Wyoming region is producing 50% of state’s coal
1875 – Flood
1877 – 1st telephone comes to Wilkes-Barre
1878 – 1st electric lights come to Wilkes-Barre
1878 – Henry Hoyt elected governor of PA
1878 – St. Ann’s Academy opens in Wilkes-Barre   BC
1878 – July 3: President Rutherford B. Hayes and cabinet come to memorial of 100th anniversary of Wyoming Massacre
1879 – Boston Store opens in Wilkes-Barre
1879 – April 21, Dallas borough incorporated
1879 – James Eley dies; 1st stage driver for Wilkes-Barre to Easton run started before
1880 – LCHS


1880’s
1881 – Flood
1881 – sewers planned for Wilkes-Barre
1881 – February; steam boat Hendrick B. Wright crushed by river ice
1881 – Last canal boat passes through Wilkes-Barre
1881 – Pittston YMCA started
1882 – Isaac Osterhout dies
1883 – July, steamboat Susquehanna blows up in river
1883 – Wilkes-Barre Academy changes name to Harry Hillman
1884 – Kirby & Woolworth open 5 & 10 stores in Wilkes-Barre; eventually had 1,957 stores domestic and international by 1934
1884 – Wilkes-Barre post office handles 443,836 pieces of mail
1884 – Luzerne County sent 32 insane persons to Danville Asylum
1884 – April 26:  14 deaths in Plymouth; next day 6 more; a Hungarian shot and killed at Nanticoke; still another murdered and placed on the Penna. RR track
1885 – typhoid fever epidemic in Plymouth
1885 – July 23; Wilkes-Barre in mourning for General Grant
1885 – Aug. 31; survey of railroad to Harvey’s Lake begun
1885 – Nov. 14; Wyoming Seminary football team defeated by Lehigh University
1885 – Dec. 14; death of first executioner in Luzerne County Sheriff Wm. Koons
1886 – Wilkes-Barre Lace Manufacturing Company opens; largest in world
1886 – Wilkes-Barre baseball club organized
1886 – Wilkes-Barre warmed for first time by steam heat
1887 – Andrew Sordoni born; becomes state senator
1888 – Mud Run disaster
1888 – Hollenback Coal Exchange designed
1889 – Osterhout Library formed
1889 – William Conyngham forms Eastern Penn Supply Co. with Wooward Leavenworth
1889 – Epidemic in Laurel Run
1889 – West End wheelman formed; high wheel bike club
1889 – John P. Powell Squibb Factory explosion 


1890’s
1890’s – Lyman Howe creates Animotiscope
1890 – August 19, 1st known tornado
1890 – long distance telephone line opens
1892 – Ellen Palmer begins work with breaker boys; starts national Boys Industrial Assoc.
1892 – Grand Opera House opens in Wilkes-Barre
1893 – Cholera epidemic
1893 – Wilkes-Barre City Hall erected
1895 – Irem Temple organized
1896 – June 28; Twin Shaft Mining Disaster in Pittston
1896 – Charles Parrish dies; well-known entrepreneur and benefactor
1896 – Joe Rice takes second place in 6 day national bike race at Madison Square Garden
1897 – Polish National church formed in Plymouth
1897 – September 10; Lattimer Massacre takes place near Hazleton; 19 killed
1897 – St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church erected in Wilkes-Barre
1897 – Nesbitt Theater erected
1898 – Wilkes-Barre Institute formed
1898 – Colonel Ernest Smith cited for gallantry in action in Spanish-American War – Later decorated in World War I
1899 – the Harvey book published genealogies of famous Valley families


1900’s
1901 – North Branch canal closed below West Nanticoke
1902 – anthracite miners strike immobilizes the country; Father Curran helps President
1902 – Theodore Roosevelt settle the strike
1902 – Flood as the Susquehanna rose to 31.3 feet
1903 – Franklin Club formed for bowling
1903 – 205 cases of scarlet fever reported; 18 deaths
1904 – Flood
1904 – Daniel J. Flood born in Hazleton; becomes major influence in U.S. House of  Rep.
1904 – 10 die in Auchincloss mine in Nanicoke
1905 – Father Murgas sends signal over land; 1st in the country
1906 – C. Edgar Patience born in West Pittston; becomes famous coal sculptor
1908 – Planter’s Peanuts company formed
1908 – Martz Bus company formed
1908 – Ed Walsh wins 40 games for Chicago White Sox; Hall of Fame; career ERA 1.82 is the best in history
1908 – Poli’s Theater opens
1908 – Fannie Sax Long elected as first president of Visiting Nurses Assoc.
1908 – The Luzerne Theater opens


1910’s
1910 – Min Matheson brought ILGWU to Wilkes-Barre
1911 – Lyman Howe takes aerial motion pictures of Wyoming Valley; 1st in nation?
1911 – Lewis Hine photographs child labor inWyoming Valley
1912 – Nesbitt Hospital opens
1912 – Coughlin High School dedicated; 1st graduating class
1913 – 15 Kirby summer home built
1914 – Wyoming Bridge opens
1914 – August 14; 2nd tornado
1915 – October 14 street car strike
1915 – American theater in Pittston built
1916 – Wilkes-Barre campus of Penn State opens
1917 – Wilkes-Barre branch of Penna. Assoc. for Blind opened by Arline Phillips
1919 – June 5; Baltimore Tunnel mining disaster 92 lives lost


1920’s
1921 – summer; 5 semi-professional baseball leagues were in play
1921 – 2110 births were recorded in Wilkes-Barre
1921 – Taxes placed on women for first time; $1 for city tax and $2 for school tax; Protest begins
1921 – Grand Opera House sold
1921 – Irem Temple Country Club erected in Dallas
1921 – Westmoreland Club moves into new accommodations on Franklin Street
1921 – Wilkes-Barre’s first municipal pool opened
1922 – anthracite strike from April 1st to September 9
1922 – September 25 1st electrocution
1922 – Ray Bertels reopens Bertel’s cans; largest in U.S. for single seam cans
1922 – Sterling Theater opens
1922 – Kingston Coal co. No. 2 breaker in operation for 50 years
1922 – New milk ordinance requiring that all milk sold in the city be pasteurized or sterilized
1922 – Earl W. Gehringer, veteran of World War I, awarded the Croix de Guerre
1922 – Black Diamond Powder Mill explosion kills five
1923 – Irving theater opens in Wilkes-Barre
1924 – Kirby Park donated
1924 – Flood
1924 – College Misericordia founded
1925 – Ernest G. Smith builds Dutch colonial home on Riverside Drive
1925 – Wilkes-Barre Institute moves to new $500,000 building in Forty Fort on 6 acres
1925 – GAR High School completed
1925 – Mayor Hart of Wilkes-Barre penalizes the playing of jazz music
1925 – 4,030 marriage licenses given; 209 divorces
1926 – Fort Jenkins Bridge in Pittston opens
1928 – November 19; 3rd tornado
1928 – Hoyt Library opens
1929 – Great depression starts
1929 – Italian Service Club formed
1929 – Market Street Bridge opens


1930’s
1930’s – coal era winds down
1930 – Meyer’s High School completed
1930 – Glen Alden pay car dynamited
1931 – Kirby Health Center opens
1931 – Poli Theater’s name changed to Penn
1931 – Pennsylvania State Highway formed
1932 – Kehoe-Berge Coal Company formed
1933 – Hayfield House built
1933 – Now Wilkes University opened as Bucknell Junior college
1936 – President Franklin Roosevelt visits area twice
1936 – flood; loss set at $11,000,000; 12,000 people evacuated; 33 foot crest
1936 – 3 miners killed in gas explosion at the Dorrance Colliery of LV Coal Co.
1936 – Dr. Levi Sprague president of Wyoming Seminary dies
1936 – Anna M. Olcott, principal of Wilkes-Barre Institute, retires
1937 – Harry Hopkins, Works Progress Adminsitrator visits Wyoming Valley
1938 – Arthur James from Plymouth becomes PA governor
1938 – Comerford Theater opens in Wilkes-Barre
1939 – Wilkes-Barre Day School formed
1939 – Admiral Stark of Wilkes-Barre named as chief of U.S. naval operations; 40 year career
1939 – “John Wilkes” new train of the Lehigh Valley RR begins service to Wyoming Valley


1940’s
1940 – Citizen Kane, considered one of the best films ever, written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles
1940 – Huber breaker built for $6 million; last one in Wyoming Valley
1940 – Flood
1940 – Walter S. Carpenter of Wilkes-Barre named president of E.I. DuPont Company
1940 – 19 men wanted in first draft call in Luzerne County for WW II
1942 – FBI visit 125 homes in Alien roundup in Wilkes-Barre
1942 – Flood loss set at $1,000,000
1942 – Miss Margaret Nash, Navy nurse for Hanover, is captured by the Japanese
1942 – Capt. J.D. Mainwaring of forty Fort is awarded the Silver Star for  gallantry in action
1943 – Luzerne County collects 22,217.5 tons of scrap metal in first five months
1943 – purchase of Ricketts Glen for park announced by state
1943 – $403,000 in war savings bonds raised by B’nai B’rith League results in B-17
1943 – Flying Fortress named Wilkes-Barre
1943 – Meyers High School holds service dedicating a flag with 1,108 stars representing former students and faculty now in military service
1944 – Dan Flood elected to Congress for first time; eventually served 16 terms
1944 – USS Wilkes-Barre launched; 10,000 ton vessel
1946 – King’s College opens
1945 – one-armed Pete Gray hits .218 and played outfield for the St. Louis Browns; movie of his life “A Winner Never Quits”
1945 – Wyoming Valley celebrates end of WW II
1946 – Charlie Trippi of Pittston nominated for Heisman Trophy; member of Pro Football Hall of Fame
1947 – Flood
1947 – 9 men lose lives in Exeter mine explosion at the Knox Mine Company
1948 – President Truman campaigns in Wilkes-Barre
1948 – Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks at Sugar Notch
1948 – 22 locomotives built by the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre leave for Turkey
1948 – Alex Junevitz signs professional contract with new York Yankees
1948 – Late 40’s early 50’s boxer Rocky Castellani of Luzerne wins 70 fights


1950’s
1950 – John S. Fine of Nanticoke becomes Penna. governor
1950 – Sept. 11, train wreck kills 33 members of the 109th Regiment in Ohio
1951 – Wilkes-Barre Day School merges with Wyoming Seminary
1952 – President Harry Truman visits area
1952 – William McGowan graduates from King’s College; eventually directs MCI corp.
1952 – Bobby Weiss wins second place at national Marbles Tournament
1953 – 1st television station formed
1953 – Barbara Weiskerger founds Wilkes-Barre Ballet Guild
1953 – Glen Alden Coal Co. closes Truesdale No. 20 tunnel; idles 1, 066 workers
1953 – Gas is 12.2 cents per gallon
1955 – Flood
1955 – Ham Fisher dies; founder/artist for nationally syndicated Joe Palooka comic strip;
1955 – Estimated 50 million readers in 1947
1956 – Fine Arts Fiesta started by Annette Evans
1959 – January 22; Knox Mine Disaster