The Lackawanna County trolley, filled to capacity, departed from Carbondale City Hall on the morning of October 14, for a three-hour journey through Carbondale’s rich history.
As the excursion prepared to depart from City Hall, Dr. S. Robert Powell, the tour guide, outlined the basic facts about the history of Carbondale, the oldest incorporated city in Lackawanna County, which is why Carbondale is known today as The Pioneer City.
The first stop on the tour was at Gravity Park, North Church Street and Garfield Avenue, where all of the tour members got off the trolley and walked to the Gravity Railroad monument in the middle of the park. There, Dr. Powell outlined briefly the history of the D&H Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale.
By means of that railroad, beginning on October 9, 1829, when the railroad opened, countless millions of tons of anthracite coal were shipped from the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys to markets in New York City and throughout the Eastern United States. That coal was the fuel that made possible the industrial revolution in America in the nineteenth century.
The second stop on the tour was at the Pat Monahan house at the corner of Salem Avenue and Washington Street. There, assembled on the Salem Avenue porch steps, Classic Voices, the well known and highly regarded a capella group of singers from the upper Lackawanna Valley, performed four songs, under the direction of the Rev. Jay Best, for the trolley travelers: All through the Night, Calon Lan (in English and in Welsh), My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, and O Carbondale (lyrics by Carbondale resident, Pat Monahan).
The third stop on the trolley tour was the Trinity Episcopal Church on River Street. Once the travelers were all seated in the main sanctuary of the church, Dawn Pentecost, the organist at the church for the past 42 years, gave impassioned and soul-stirring performances of How Great Thou Art and The Lord’s Prayer on the historic pipe organ in the church. Dr. Powell, assisted by Gloria Wilson and Marjanie Hellman, then spoke about and identified the very beautiful Tiffany and John La Farge windows in the Trinity Episcopal Church.
The final stop on the trolley tour was at The Anthracite Center at the corner of North Main Street and Salem Avenue. The bank building, which is the former First National Bank of Carbondale, has been transformed by Ashley and Justin Taylor into one of the premier event centers in northeastern Pennsylvania. There, on the main floor, the members of the trolley tour were served gourmet box lunches that were prepared by Plate d’Azur, South Main Street. As the members of the tour enjoyed their lunches, Mayor Taylor spoke about the transformation of the building into an event center and about future plans for the center.
This trolley tour through Carbondale’s rich history was organized and implemented by Mary Parise Tomaine, with assistance from a committee of Historical Society members. Given the success of the tour, additional tours of the Pioneer City will surely be conducted in the coming months.
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