(/ˈwɪlksˌbɛər/ or /-bɛəri/) is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Luzerne County. It is one of the principal
"Wilkes-Barre" redirects here. For the township, see Wilkes-Barre Township. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania City and County seat From top to bottom, left to right: Downtown Wilkes-Barre, looking west from Giants Despair, Wilkes-Barre Public Square, Luzerne County Courthouse, Panorama of Wilkes Barre, and the Susquehanna River
Seal Nickname(s): The Diamond City, Coal City, Dub City, The W-B Motto(s): Pattern After Us
Location of Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre Show map of Pennsylvania Wilkes-Barre Show map of the US Location in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Coordinates: 41°14′40″N 75°52′41″W / 41.24444°N 75.87806°W / 41.24444; -75.87806Coordinates: 41°14′40″N 75°52′41″W / 41.24444°N 75.87806°W / 41.24444; -75.87806 Country United States State Pennsylvania County Luzerne Founded 1769 Incorporated 1806: Borough 1871: City Named for John Wilkes, Isaac Barré Government • Type Mayor-council • Body Wilkes-Barre City Council • Mayor Anthony George (D) • City Council Members
- Bill Barrett
- Mike Merritt
- Tony Brooks
- Beth Gilbert
- Mike Belusko
Area • City and County seat 7.31 sq mi (18.93 km2) • Land 6.98 sq mi (18.08 km2) • Water 0.33 sq mi (0.85 km2) Elevation 525 ft (160 m) Population (2010) • City and County seat 41,498 • Estimate (2016) 40,569 • Density 5,812.18/sq mi (2,244.01/km2) • Metro 562,037 (US: 95th) Time zone EST (UTC-5) • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4) ZIP Codes 18701–18703, 18705, 18706, 18710, 18711, 18762, 18764–18767, 18769, 18773 Area code 570 and 272 FIPS code 42-85152 Website www.wilkes-barre.pa.us
Wilkes-Barre (/ˈwɪlksˌbɛər/ or /-bɛəri/) is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Luzerne County. It is one of the principal cities in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located at the center of the Wyoming Valley, it is second in size to the nearby city of Scranton. The Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 563,631 as of the 2010 Census, making it the fourth-largest metro/statistical area in the state of Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding Wyoming Valley are framed by the Pocono Mountains to the east, the Endless Mountains to the west, and the Lehigh Valley to the south. The Susquehanna River flows through the center of the valley and defines the northwestern border of the city.
Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1769 and formally incorporated in 1806. The city grew rapidly in the 19th century after the discovery of nearby coal reserves and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who provided a labor force for the local mines. The coal mining fueled industrialization in the city, which reached the height of its prosperity in the first half of the 20th century. Its population peaked at more than 86,000. Following World War II, the city's economy declined due to the collapse of industry. The Knox Mine disaster accelerated this trend after large portions of the area's coal mines were flooded and could not be reopened. Today the city has a population of 40,569, making it the largest city in Luzerne County and the 13th-largest city in Pennsylvania.
- 1 History
- 1.1 18th and 19th centuries
- 1.2 20th century
- 1.3 21st century
- 1.3.1 Revitalization and construction
- 2 City government
- 2.1 Executive
- 2.2 Legislative
- 2.3 Audit & Control
- 2.4 Judicial
- 3 County government
- 4 State and federal representation
- 5 Infrastructure
- 5.1 Airports
- 5.2 Highways
- 5.3 Rail
- 6 Geography
- 6.1 Neighborhoods
- 6.2 Adjacent municipalities
- 6.3 Climate
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Economy
- 9 Education
- 10 Sports and recreation
- 10.1 Professional sports
- 10.2 Parks
- 10.3 Local attractions
- 11 Local media
- 12 In popular culture
- 13 Notable people
- 14 See also
- 15 Notes
- 16 References
- 17 External links
History 18th and 19th centuries Wilkes-Barre as depicted on an 1872 panoramic map
In the early 18th century, the Wyoming Valley was inhabited by the Shawanese and Delaware Indian (Lenape) tribes. By 1769, John Durkee led the first recorded Europeans to the area. They established a frontier settlement named Wilkes-Barre after John Wilkes and Isaac Barré, two British members of Parliament who supported colonial America.
The initial settlers were aligned with colonial Connecticut, which had a claim on the land that rivaled Pennsylvania's. Armed men loyal to Pennsylvania twice attempted to evict the residents of Wilkes-Barre in what came to be known as the Pennamite–Yankee Wars. After the American Revolution, in the 1780s, the conflict was eventually settled. The disputed land was granted to Pennsylvania. The location of modern-day Wilkes-Barre became part of Northumberland County. However, Connecticut settlers, who were still living in the area, wanted to create a new state in northeastern Pennsylvania. Timothy Pickering was sent to the region to politically examine the situation. This led to the Pennsylvania Assembly passing a resolution which created Luzerne County. This ended the idea of creating a new state. Luzerne County was created from part of Northumberland County on September 25, 1786. Wilkes-Barre became the seat of government for the new territory. Under Pickering’s leadership and direction, county elections were held, the courts were established, and a government was formed.
In 1797, several decades after the community's founding, Louis Philippe, later the King of France from 1830 to 1840, stayed in Wilkes-Barre while traveling to the French Asylum settlement.
Wilkes-Barre's population exploded due to the discovery of anthracite coal in the 19th century; the economic boom resulted in the city being nicknamed "The Diamond City." Hundreds of thousands of immigrants flocked to the city; they were seeking jobs in the numerous mines and collieries that sprang up. Wilkes-Barre was incorporated as a borough in 1806, and as a city in 1871, as a direct result of the population boom. At its peak, Wilkes-Barre had a population of over 86,000 in the 1930s and 40s.
New industries were established and the Vulcan Iron Works was a well-known manufacturer of railway locomotives from 1849 to 1954. Railroads were being constructed across the state and country. During Wilkes-Barre's reign as an industrial and economic force in America, a number of major companies and franchises became based in the city, such as Woolworth's, Sterling Hotels, Planter's Peanuts, Miner's Bank, Bell Telephone, HBO, Luzerne National Bank, and Stegmaier. In addition, the demolished Old Fell House on Northampton Street is believed to be the first place in the Wyoming Valley where anthracite was burned for heat.
20th century Children working in Wilkes-Barre's coal industry (1906) South Main Street in 1906 A historical marker of the 1919 Baltimore Colliery Disaster
Wilkes-Barre is located within Pennsylvania’s Coal Region. The anthracite coal mining industry, and its extensive use of child labor in the early part of the 20th century, was one of the industries targeted by the National Child Labor Committee and its hired photographer, Lewis Hine. Many of Hine's subjects were photographed in the mines and coal fields near Wilkes-Barre in the early part of the 20th century. The impact of the Hine photographs led to the enactment of child labor laws across the country.
The coal industry survived several disasters, including an explosion at Wilkes-Barre's Baltimore Colliery in 1919, which killed 92 miners. It could not survive the gradual switch in the country to other energy sources. Most coal operations left Wilkes-Barre by the end of World War II. The 1959 Knox Mine Disaster, resulting in the flooding of numerous mines, marked the end of King Coal's heyday. Industrial restructuring also caused the city to lose jobs and go into a decades-long decline.
Besides coal mining, many other historical events took place in Wilkes-Barre during the 20th century. It is said that Babe Ruth hit one of the longest home runs in history in Wilkes-Barre. This statement is quoted from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders News page:
"On October 12, 1926, Babe Ruth visited Wilkes-Barre's Artillery Park to play in an exhibition game between Hughestown and Larksville. Suiting up for Hughestown, the Yankee slugger challenged Larksville's hurler Ernie Corkran to throw him his "best stuff"—a fastball right down the heart of the plate. Corkran obliged and Ruth crushed the pitch into deep right field. When the ball cleared the fence, a good 400 feet away from home plate, it was still rising. It finally landed in Kirby Park on the far side of a high school running track. Ruth himself was so impressed by the feat that he asked for his homer to be measured. Originally estimated at 650 feet, the prodigious blast is considered to be the longest home run in baseball's storied history."
Wilkes-Barre is the birthplace of the Planters Peanuts Company, which was founded by Italian immigrants Amedeo Obici and Mario Peruzzi. Founded in the city in 1906, the company maintained its headquarters in Wilkes-Barre until 1961.
In November 1972, 365 subscribers of Service Electric Cable were the first to receive HBO's premium cable television service, making Wilkes-Barre the birthplace of modern cable TV programming.
Flooding Flood Walls on Market Street in Wilkes-Barre Wilkes-Barre during the September 2011 flood
Manufacturing and retail remained Wilkes-Barre's strongest industries, but the city's economy took a major blow from Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972. The storm pushed the Susquehanna River to a height of nearly 41 feet (12 m), four feet above the city's levees, flooding downtown with nine feet of water. A total of 128 deaths were attributed to the storm, the majority of drowning deaths were caused by people trapped in their cars; almost 400,000 homes and businesses were destroyed; 220,000 Pennsylvanians were left homeless (as were hundreds of thousands in other states). Damages were estimated to be $2.1 billion in Pennsylvania alone. President Richard Nixon sent aid to the area, after flying over in his helicopter on his way to his Camp David retreat (on June 24, 1972).
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Wilkes-Barre attempted to prevent the damage from storms as intense as Agnes by building a levee system that rises 41 feet (12 m); completed in January 2003, the network of levees cost roughly $250 million. It has successfully resisted less threatening floods in 1996, 2004, and 2006. The Army Corps of Engineers has praised the quality of the levees. In 2006, the city made the front page of national newspapers when 200,000 residents were told to evacuate in the wake of flooding that was forecast to reach levels near that of 1972, though the flooding fell short of predictions.
In late August 2011, Hurricane Irene off the New Jersey coast caused the Susquehanna River to rise to flood stage, however, there was no cause for alarm. From September 6 to 8, heavy rains from the inland remnants of Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Katia offshore funneled heavy rain over the Wyoming Valley and into the Susquehanna River watershed. The Susquehanna swelled to record levels across the state. In Wilkes-Barre, it crested on September 9 at an all-time record of 42.66 feet (13.00 m), nearly two feet higher than water levels reached in 1972's Hurricane Agnes. The levees protected Wilkes-Barre. However, nearby boroughs were not as lucky. West Pittston, Plymouth, and parts of Plains Township were affected by extreme flooding.
21st century Revitalization and construction The Luzerne County Courthouse houses the county government Downtown Wilkes-Barre Wilkes-Barre Public Square
On June 9, 2005, Mayor Thomas M. Leighton unveiled his "I believe..." campaign for Wilkes-Barre, which was intended to boost the city's spirits. Construction began on a planned downtown theatre complex, which had a grand opening on June 30, 2006. Renovation of the landmark Hotel Sterling was being pursued by CityVest, a nonprofit developer. The expansion of Wilkes University and King's College took place. Also, the canopy and matching street lights in Public Square and across downtown were removed; the replacements were new green lampposts.
The City of Wilkes-Barre celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2006. Several events, including a Beach Boys concert, were planned but canceled due to extremely heavy rains. Most of the city's population was ordered to evacuate on June 28, 2006. The Bicentennial celebration was postponed to Labor Day weekend, September 3, 2006, and was attended by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and the Beach Boys.
The Riverfront revitalization project (River Common), broke ground in 2007 and was completed in early 2010. It has made the riverfront accessible to the public. The area also has a new amphitheater for live performances and improved access through ramps and sidewalks. Fountains and color-changing lights have been added underneath two bridges which carry pedestrian traffic across the normally-open levee breachings. The project stretches approximately four blocks from the Luzerne County Courthouse to the intersection of S. River Street and W. South Street. The River Common has since hosted concerts and charity events. Users have complained of insufficient parking close to the river.
Since completion of the River Common, additional improvements to city infrastructure have been progressing. New crosswalks have been installed downtown, including signage emphasizing that pedestrians have the right-of-way. The completion of the James F. Conahan Intermodal Transportation Facility has added parking and relocated Luzerne County buses from their former Public Square staging sites. This has reduced traffic congestion around the square. Private carrier Martz offers coach bus service from the terminal as well.
The widening and realignment of Coal Street, a major road connecting Wilkes-Barre City with Wilkes-Barre Township, was completed in 2012. The new Coal Street provides four lanes over the original two lanes, making travel between the highly commercial Wilkes-Barre Township and the city much easier. The 2012 realignment also provides travelers with a spectacular view of the city center when traveling west into Wilkes-Barre City.
City government Wilkes-Barre City Hall See also: List of mayors of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Executive
The city is headed by an elected mayor, who serves four-year terms. The current mayor is Anthony George (Democrat). He has been in office since 2016. Before becoming mayor, George served as the Wilkes-Barre Chief of Police.
The legislative branch consists of a five-member City Council. They are elected by a single-member district to four-year terms. The following are current members of the council: Bill Barrett, Mike Belusko, Tony Brooks, Beth Gilbert, and Michael Merritt.
Audit & Control
The office of Audit and Control is the third branch of Wilkes-Barre City government. It is headed by the City Controller, elected to a four-year term. Darren G. Snyder, the current City Controller, is a Democrat and has been in office since 2016. The City Controller has the following powers and duties:
- Examine, audit and verify all books, records and accounts of the various administrative and legislative units, departments, offices or officials under the control or supervision of the Mayor or Council, and for this purpose have access to all such books, records and accounts at any time.
- Examine and approve for payment all contracts, purchase orders, and other documents by which the City incurs financial obligations, having ascertained before approval that monies have been duly appropriated or provided for and allotted to meet such obligations.
- Audit and approve all bills, invoices, payrolls and other evidence of claims, demands or charges paid from City funds.
- Submit reports to the City Council and the Mayor of any records deemed in violation of law or contrary to accepted accounting procedures.
- Prepare and submit to Council and the Mayor within sixty (60) days of the end of every fiscal year a complete financial statement of the affairs of the City with such comments as the Controller deems appropriate.
- Employ a Deputy and/or other personnel essential to the accomplishment of his duties.
- Delegate any duty and/or responsibility to the Deputy Controller that he shall deem necessary.
- Audit Authorities of the City as he deems appropriate and not contrary to law.
The City of Wilkes-Barre is served by two City Attorneys (Timothy Henry and Maureen Collins). They advise both the Mayor and City Council.
County government Luzerne County Courthouse See also: Luzerne County Council and Luzerne County Manager
The Luzerne County government operates out of Wilkes-Barre. The city is the administrative center of Luzerne County. On January 2, 2012, a new form of government (council–manager government) was established. The government consists of a council, a manager, and many other officials. They impose taxes, provide services to the public, and administer laws and regulations. They govern over a population of nearly 320,000 people. Many government offices are situated within the county courthouse (located at 200 North River Street in Downtown Wilkes-Barre).
The Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas also operates out of the county courthouse. Its probation system is divided into two divisions: adult and juvenile.
State and federal representation See also: Pennsylvania General Assembly and United States Congress State
- Eddie Day Pashinski (D) represents Wilkes-Barre in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
- John Yudichak (D) represents the city in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
- Matthew Cartwright (D) represents Wilkes-Barre on the federal level (in the U.S. House of Representatives).
- Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) represent the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate.
Infrastructure Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Pennsylvania Route 309 near Wilkes-Barre Airports
Five international airlines fly from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in nearby Pittston Township. Smaller, private planes may also use the Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort.
Airlines Destinations Allegiant Air Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater American Eagle Charlotte, Philadelphia Delta Air Lines Atlanta Delta Connection Detroit United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Newark Highways
Interstate 81 passes north–south near Wilkes-Barre, and the city is also located near the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It is also about 10 miles (16 km) north of Interstate 80. Pennsylvania Route 309 also passes near Wilkes-Barre.
Public transportation is provided by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority. In addition to servicing the city, it provides transportation for the northern half of the county. It also has a connecting bus to Scranton via an interchange at Pittston with the Transit System of Lackawanna County (COLTS), the public transit authority of Lackawanna County. Martz Trailways provides intercity bus service from the Martz Trailways Bus Terminal in downtown Wilkes-Barre to Scranton, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
The city was at one time served by the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (later Erie Lackawanna Railway), Delaware and Hudson Railway, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Wilkes-Barre and Eastern Railroad, and the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad (known as the Laurel Line). The Wilkes-Barre Traction Company formed a streetcar line from Georgetown to Nanticoke and over the river into Plymouth (it ceased operations in the mid-1940s). Today, the Canadian Pacific Railway (successor to the Delaware and Hudson) and the Luzerne and Susquehanna Railroad (designated-operator of a county-owned shortline) provide freight service within the city.
Geography Downtown panorama from Laurel Run The Susquehanna River and Wilkes-Barre City Downtown Wilkes-Barre The skyline at night A 1907 postcard of Hotel Sterling Stegmaier Federal Building
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles (19 km2), of which 6.8 square miles (18 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 4.60%, is water. The city is bordered by the Susquehanna River to the west. Most of Downtown is located on a wide floodplain. Floodwalls were constructed to protect a large percentage of the city. The elevation of the downtown area is about 550 feet (170 m) above sea level. As you travel inland, away from the river, the elevation rises. Wilkes-Barre Mountain is a physical barrier southeast of the city.
Wilkes-Barre houses over one dozen neighborhoods:
- Central City: It is also referred to as "Downtown." This section of the city is located between the Susquehanna River and Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, and between South and North Streets. It is the original foundation of Wilkes-Barre (the 16 blocks claimed by the Connecticut settlers who founded the city). The neighborhood is home to most of the city's high-rises and its one Public Square. Throughout the city's history, the area has remained a hub for all of Luzerne County. During the city's boom, this small area was home to the headquarters of more than 100 national corporations. Today, it still houses the NEPA Headquarters for Verizon, Citizen's Bank, Blue Cross, PNC Bank, Luzerne National Bank, Guard Insurance, and a number of other companies. Thousands of people live and/or work in Downtown Wilkes-Barre every day.
- North End: This is the area northeast of Downtown. It comprises a number of urban and suburban communities. North End is renowned for its interesting and beautiful architecture.
- Parsons: This neighborhood is also northeast of Downtown. This is a quiet part of the city (with a suburban atmosphere). It includes two city parks, a golf course, and a number of factories.
- Miners' Mills: This community was named after a prominent local family (who lived in the area). Miners' Mills is the last neighborhood on the northeastern border of the city.
- East End: This neighborhood is directly east of Downtown. East End, along with Heights and Mayflower, are fairly new areas compared to the rest of the city, having only been developed in the 20th Century. Old pictures of the Stegmaier Building indicate that everything east of Downtown was undeveloped until the 1900s.
- Heights: This section of the city is located southeast of Downtown. It is centered between East End and Mayflower.
- Mayflower: This area is located south of Downtown. It was once home to numerous beautiful mansions owned by various "bigwigs." Today it houses the OKT, Lincoln Plaza, and Park Avenue residential housing communities. From the high streets of Mayflower, the best view of Downtown can be seen.
- South Wilkes-Barre: This neighborhood is located directly southwest of Downtown. It was home to the national headquarters of Planter's Peanuts and the Bell Telephone Company (in the 20th Century). One of the tallest churches in Luzerne County, St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, dominates the south end skyline (standing at nearly 200 feet).
- Goose Island: This area is located in the southwestern section of the city between South Wilkes-Barre and Rolling Mill Hill.
- Rolling Mill Hill: This neighborhood is also located in the southwestern part of the city.
- Iron Triangle: This is another community southwest of Downtown.
- Other neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods: There are other smaller neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods in Wilkes-Barre City (e.g., Brookside, Upper Miners' Mills, Lower Miners' Mills, and Barney Farms).
- Wilkes-Barre Township (southeast)
- Plains Township (east and northeast)
- Kingston (north)
- Edwardsville (northwest)
- Larksville (west)
- Hanover Township (southwest)
- Bear Creek Township (southwest)
Wilkes-Barre has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa/Dfb) with four distinct seasons. Winters are cold with a January average of 25.8 °F (−3.4 °C). The surrounding mountains have an influence on the climate (including both precipitation and temperatures), leading to wide variations within a short distance. On average, temperatures below 0 °F (−17.8 °C) are infrequent, occurring 3 days per year, and there are 36 days where the maximum temperature remains below 32 °F (0.0 °C). The average annual snowfall is 46.2 inches (117 cm) during the winter (in which severe snowstorms are rare). However, when snowstorms do occur, they can disrupt normal routines for several days.
Summers are warm with a July average of 71.4 °F (21.9 °C). In an average summer, temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32.2 °C) occur on 9 days and can occasionally exceed 100 °F (37.8 °C). Spring and fall are unpredictable with temperatures ranging from cold to warm (although they are usually mild). On average, Wilkes-Barre receives 38.2 inches (970 mm) of precipitation each year, which is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year (though the summer months receive more precipitation). Extreme temperatures range from −21 °F (−29.4 °C) on January 21, 1994, to 103 °F (39.4 °C) on July 9, 1936. Wilkes-Barre averages 2,303 hours of sunshine per year, ranging from a low of 96 hours in December (or 33% of possible sunshine) to 286 hours in July (or 62% of possible sunshine).
Climate data for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Int'l Airport, Pennsylvania (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1901–present) Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °F (°C) 69
(39) Mean maximum °F (°C) 55.4
(34.1) Average high °F (°C) 33.2
(14.9) Average low °F (°C) 18.5
(4.5) Mean minimum °F (°C) −0.8
(−19.5) Record low °F (°C) −21
(−29) Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.37
(971.8) Average snowfall inches (cm) 14.2
(117.3) Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 12.0 11.0 11.8 12.3 13.2 12.8 11.2 11.3 10.2 10.7 11.2 11.5 139.2 Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 9.3 7.7 5.0 1.7 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 2.1 7.1 33.0 Average relative humidity (%) 70.1 67.5 63.3 60.4 64.6 70.5 71.1 73.8 75.2 71.6 71.8 72.5 69.4 Mean monthly sunshine hours 130.3 143.7 185.7 210.5 246.9 269.7 285.7 257.2 200.2 173.3 104.3 95.9 2,303.4 Percent possible sunshine 44 48 50 53 55 60 62 60 54 50 35 33 52 Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1964–1990, sun 1961–1990) Demographics Historical population Census Pop. %± 1800
835 — 1810
1,225 46.7% 1820
755 −38.4% 1840
1,718 — 1850
2,723 58.5% 1860
4,253 56.2% 1870
10,174 139.2% 1880
23,339 129.4% 1890
37,718 61.6% 1900
51,721 37.1% 1910
67,105 29.7% 1920
73,833 10.0% 1930
86,626 17.3% 1940
86,236 −0.5% 1950
76,826 −10.9% 1960
63,068 −17.9% 1970
58,856 −6.7% 1980
51,551 −12.4% 1990
47,523 −7.8% 2000
43,123 −9.3% 2010
41,498 −3.8% Est. 2016
40,569 −2.2% U.S. Decennial Census
The city's population has been in constant decline since the 1930s. As of the 2010 census, the city was 79.2% White, 10.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, and 2.9% were two or more races. Of the population, 11.3% were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry. The Hispanic population was just 1.58% of the population as of the 2000 census.
As of the 2000 census, there were 43,123 people, 17,961 households, and 9,878 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,296.3 people per square mile (2,430.6/km2). There were 20,294 housing units at an average density of 2,963.1 per square mile (1,143.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.30% White, 5.09% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.58% of the population.
The average household size was 2.20, and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 19.9% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females (age 18 and over), there were 90.7 males.
The local accent of American English is Northeast Pennsylvania English.
As of recent estimates, the largest ethnic groups in Wilkes-Barre are:
- Polish 23.4%
- Irish 21.3%
- Mexican 21.0%
- German 17.9%
- English 17.1%
- Puerto Rican 16.4%
- Welsh 16.2%
- Italian 15.0%
- Slovak 13.8%
- Russian 13.4%
- Ukrainian 12.8%
- Greek 11.4%
- African-American 10.9%
- Lithuanian 9.1%
- Arab 1.0%
Family Median Income in Wilkes-Barre is $44,430, compared to the national average of $64,585. Unemployment in June 2014 was 7%. 49% of jobs were in sales, office, administrative support, production, transportation, and material moving sectors. In 2009, 31.9% of residents lived below the poverty line, nearly double the Pennsylvania average of 16.4%. Large employers in the city include GUARD Insurance Group and Lord & Taylor.
Education Administration Building, King's College
Wilkes-Barre City is part of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District. The city has four high schools:
- James M. Coughlin High School
- G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Memorial High School
- Holy Redeemer High School
- Elmer L. Meyers High School
The area in and around Wilkes-Barre consists of several colleges/universities:
- King's College
- Wilkes University
- Misericordia University
- Luzerne County Community College
- Penn State Wilkes-Barre
- The Commonwealth Medical College
Sports and recreation A Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey game at the Mohegan Sun Arena The River Common along the Susquehanna River Hotel of the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Professional sports Club League Venue Established Parent Club League
Championships Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders IL, Baseball PNC Field 1989 New York Yankees 2 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL, Ice hockey Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza 1999 Pittsburgh Penguins 0 Parks
Wilkes-Barre has a Downtown Riverfront Park system that contains 91 acres of open space.
Kirby Park is a public park located along the western bank of the Susquehanna River. Kirby Park is one of the region's most valued recreational resources. Given to the City of Wilkes-Barre by the Kirby Family, the park welcomes hundreds of thousands each year. The park is the setting for the City of Wilkes-Barre's annual Cherry Blossom Festival (held during the last weekend of April) and the city's 4th of July Celebration. Its amenities include tennis courts, a fitness trail, pond, walking paths, running track, softball fields, parking area, volleyball courts, pavilions and more.
Nesbitt Park is also located on the west side of the Susquehanna River. It is located across from Kirby Park. Nesbitt is open to the public. It has walking paths and areas for picnicking.
The River Common is located along the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River. The Market Street Bridge bisects the park. The River Common joins with the Luzerne County Courthouse grounds. Its features include a 750-person amphitheater, paved walk-ways, gardens, ornamental trees, seating areas, a fishing pier, and two grand gateways connecting the city to the river.
- F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
- Frederick Stegmaier Mansion
- Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre
- Luzerne County Museum
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Pennsylvania's first slots casino
- Wyoming Monument
- Luzerne County Historical Society
- Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts, located on the campus of Wilkes University
The Times Leader and The Citizens' Voice are the two largest daily newspapers in Wilkes-Barre. The Wyoming Valley's NBC affiliate, WBRE-TV 28, is the only television station licensed to Wilkes-Barre, but WNEP-TV 16 (ABC), WYOU 22 (CBS), WVIA-TV 44 (PBS), and WSWB 38 (CW), all in Scranton, WOLF-TV 56 (Fox) in Hazleton, and WQMY 53 (MyNetworkTV) in Williamsport also serve the city. Wilkes-Barre's radio market is ranked No. 69 by Arbitron's ranking system. There are news, adult alternative, and music radio stations which are receivable in the area.
In popular culture
- Wilkes-Barre's economic plight is featured in the movie Capitalism: A Love Story, directed by Michael Moore.
- The Wilkes-Barre variation (or Traxler variation, as it is more commonly known) of the Two Knights' Defense is named for the Wilkes-Barre chess club.
- In the TV series Supernatural episode 8.13 "Everyone Hates Hitler," the lead protagonists investigate a case in Wilkes-Barre.
- Hazel Barnes, philosopher
- Douglas Carter Beane, playwright
- Al Bedner, NFL player
- David Bohm, quantum physicist
- Benjamin Burnley, lead singer and guitarist for rock band Breaking Benjamin
- Lillian Cahn, co-founder of Coach, Inc. and Coach handbag designer
- George Catlin, artist
- Britton Chance, bio-physicist and Olympic sailor
- Mark Ciavarella, disgraced judge in kids for cash scandal
- Mark Cohen, street photographer
- Colleen Corby, 1960s fashion model
- Amasa Dana, former U.S. Congressman
- Charles B. Dougherty, Army National Guard major general who commanded the 28th Infantry Division
- Mark Duda, NFL player, Lackawanna College football head coach
- Francis A. "Mother" Dunn, football player for the Canton Bulldogs
- David Evans, Hollywood filmmaker most known for the movie The Sandlot
- Jesse Fell, early experimenter with anthracite coal
- Pat Finn, game show host whose shows include Lifetime's, The Family Channel's, and PAX's Shop 'til You Drop
- Ham Fisher, cartoonist
- Tess Gardella, actress
- William Harmatz, jockey, winner of 1959 Preakness Stakes
- George Washington Helme, businessman and founder of Helmetta, New Jersey
- Joe Hergert, former professional football player
- Raye Hollitt, bodybuilder, American Gladiators and actress, Skin Deep
- Qadry Ismail, former NFL wide receiver on the Baltimore Ravens
- Raghib Ismail, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy runner-up
- Florence Foster Jenkins, unconventional operatic soprano, subject of film starring Meryl Streep
- Candy Jones, fashion model, writer, radio personality
- Dorothy Andrews Elston Kabis, Treasurer of the United States
- James Karen, actor
- Mary Holland Kinkaid, journalist
- Michael Kirwan, represented Youngstown, Ohio in Congress, 1938–1970
- Franz Kline, abstract expressionist painter
- Mike Konnick, former MLB player
- Mary Jo Kopechne, passenger killed in car driven by Ted Kennedy at Chappaquidick
- Harley Jane Kozak, actress and author
- Matthew Lesko, infomercial personality
- Edward B. Lewis, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine
- Santo Loquasto, production designer
- Garrick Mallery, ethnologist
- Herman Mankiewicz, screenwriter of Citizen Kane
- Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Academy Award-winning director and producer
- Al Markim, actor (Tom Corbett, Space Cadet)
- Mary McDonnell, actress twice nominated for Academy Award
- Edward Peter McManaman, Roman Catholic bishop
- Edward Meneeley, painter
- Albert Mudrian, author and magazine editor
- Leo C. Mundy, Pennsylvania state senator and physician
- Jozef Murgas, radio pioneer
- Claudette Nevins, actress
- Amedeo Obici, founder of Planters Peanuts
- Jerry Orbach, Tony award-winning actor
- Phil Ostrowski, NFL player
- John Paluck, football player for Washington Redskins and Pro Bowl selection
- William Daniel Phillips, co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics
- Mendy Rudolph, NBA referee from 1953 to 1975
- Sam Savitt, equestrian artist, author
- Michael Schoeffling, actor, played Jake Ryan in film Sixteen Candles
- Don Schwall, MLB pitcher
- M. Gerald Schwartzbach, California criminal defense attorney
- Greg Skrepenak, former NFL player, convicted felon
- Jonathan Slavin, character actor
- Ron Solt, former NFL player
- Jacob Sullum, journalist and author, featured in Academy Award-nominated documentary Super Size Me
- Bob Sura, basketball player, Houston Rockets
- Louis Teicher, pianist; member of the duo Ferrante & Teicher
- Alexis Toth (St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre), saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church
- Ed Walsh, Hall of Fame pitcher; major league baseball's all-time ERA leader
- Michael Whalen, actor
- Ira W. Wood, represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district from 1904 to 1913
- Tom Woodeshick, professional football player
- Frank Zane, bodybuilder, three-time Mr. Olympia, won Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. World; donated gym at Wilkes University
- ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
- ^ Official records for Avoca/Wilkes-Barre–Scranton kept at downtown Scranton from January 1901 to 17 April 1955 and at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport since 18 April 1955.
- ^ "City Council". Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 14, 2017.
- ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- ^ "ZIP Code(tm) Lookup". United States Postal Service. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- ^ "City of Wilkes Barre, PA Zip Codes". Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- ^ "History - Kingston Borough". kingstonpa.org.
- ^ 1769 The Pennamite Wars, The Society of Colonial Wars in Connecticut. Accessed March 26, 2017.
- ^ ""A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania" Page 14, 1909". Mocavo.com. 2013-04-02. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ Pennsylvania Historical Society
- ^ Troncale, Anthony T. "About Lewis Wickes Hine". New York Public Library. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
- ^ "Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees". Minorleaguebaseball.com. October 12, 1926. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
- ^ Staff. "14 things you didn't know about Mr. Peanut as he heads to Mechanicsburg", The Patriot-News, July 13, 2016. Accessed March 26, 2017. "Amedeo Obici, along with his friend and business partner, Mario Peruzzi, founded Planters Peanut Co. in Wilkes-Barre in 1906."
- ^ Nissley, Erin L. "Local History: NEPA put HBO on the dial", The Scranton Times-Tribune, November 3, 2013. Accessed March 26, 2017. "Home Box Office, known more commonly as HBO, got its start in 1972 with about 365 subscribers in Wilkes-Barre. It was the channel's first affiliation."
- ^ Lipman, Don (June 21, 2012). "Hurricane Agnes: A look back after 40 years".
- ^ "Retrospective: The Damage Caused by Hurricane Agnes - Washingtonian". June 19, 2012.
- ^ Skrapits, Eizabeth. "Four years later, levee system standing tall", The Citizens' Voice, September 9, 2015. Accessed March 27, 2017. "The levee was officially completed on Jan. 14, 2003. The cost totaled more than $250 million. Belleman said the system was designed for an Agnes-level flood of 41 feet, but it held up under the larger Tropical Storm Lee flood."
- ^ Staff. " Levees hold Susquehanna; Delaware River rages; Wilkes-Barre evacuees head back home; death toll rises", CNN, June 29, 2006. Accessed March 27, 2007. "The news was better in northeastern Pennsylvania, where a mandatory evacuation affecting up to 200,000 people in Wilkes-Barre and a nearby valley area was lifted.Officials said the city's $175 million levee system held back the rising Susquehanna River despite floods caused by overflowing tributaries and creeks, and rain that averaged a half-inch an hour in some areas."
- ^ "Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service for the Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre". NOAA National Weather Service. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
- ^ "W-B intermodal center opens today". Citizens Voice. July 6, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- ^ "Daily Passenger Service Schedules" (PDF). Martz Group. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
- ^ a b c "Station Name: PA WILKES-BARRE INTL AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
- ^ a b c d "Local Climatological Data–Annual Summary with Comparative Data: Wilkes–Barre/Scranton" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
- ^ a b c d "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
- ^ a b "NOAA". NOAA.
- ^ ThreadEx
- ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- ^ "Census 2010: Pennsylvania". USA Today. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- ^ "Best Places, 2014," http://www.bestplaces.net/economy/city/pennsylvania/wilkes-barre
- ^ City-data.com, 2009, http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Wilkes-Barre-Pennsylvania.html
- ^ "脱毛は、自宅でも簡単にできる！ 脇、手足、ビキニラインも！". wbslacrosse.com. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- ^ "Wilkes-Barre River Common". Tour NEPA. Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- ^ "Resident Services". Wilkes-barre.pa.us. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ "The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts". Kirbycenter.org. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ "The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion". Stegmaiermansion.com. 2011-05-26. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ "Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre". Ltwb.org. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ Luzerne County Historical Society. "Welcome to the Luzerne County Historical Society website | NEPA Luzerne County Pennsylvania history". Luzernehistory.org. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ "Wilkes Division of Performing Arts". Wilkes University. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- ^ "Capitalism: A Love Story - facts". Michaelmoore.com. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- ^ "Alex Dunne May 1998". uschess.org. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- ^ "8.13 Everybody Hates Hitler". supernaturalwiki.com.
- ^ "A Golem on Supernatural". Congregation Rodfei Zedek.
- ^ "Douglas Carter Beane: Interview". Oasis Journals. February 20, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- ^ Vitello, Paul (2013-03-07). "Lillian Cahn, Creator of the Coach Handbag, Dies at 89". New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- ^ Kahn, S. "Modeling: Money and Madness!", Teen, December 1963
- ^ Flint, Peter B. "Candy Jones Dies; Ex-Model, Teacher, And Writer Was 64", The New York Times, January 19, 1990. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
- ^ Barnes, Mike (2015-11-27). "Al Markim, Actor on the 1950s TV Serial 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet,' Dies at 88". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
- ^ Andrew Blankstein (March 28, 2005). "Attorney Makes Mark by Taking Cases That Others Avoid". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ Sullum, Jacob (2011-01-04) First Wine, Now Beer in (Some) Pennsylvania Supermarkets; Coming Soon: Cats and Dogs Living Together, Reason
- ^ Ira Wells Wood, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- ^ "Tom Woodeshick". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
. Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Wilkes-Barre
- City of Wilkes-Barre official website
- Osterhout Free Library
- Wilkes-Barre Bicentennial at the Wayback Machine (archived June 12, 2006)
- "Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society". Archived from the original on January 19, 2008.
- More interesting facts about Wilkes-Barre
- Wilkes-Barre at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Places adjacent to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Back Mountain Tunkhannock Scranton Plymouth Wilkes-Barre
Bear Creek Hazleton, Harrisburg Allentown, Philadelphia Pinchot State Forest Articles relating to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Municipalities and communities of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States County seat: Wilkes-Barre
- Bear Creek Village
- Forty Fort
- Harveys Lake
- Laurel Run
- New Columbus
- Penn Lake Park
- Sugar Notch
- Warrior Run
- West Hazleton
- West Pittston
- West Wyoming
- White Haven
- Bear Creek
- Black Creek
- Beech Mountain Lakes
- East Berwick
- Glen Lyon
- Hickory Hills
- Huntington Mills
- Mountain Top
- Pikes Creek
- Upper Exeter
- West Nanticoke
- Back Mountain
- Beach Haven
- Glen Summit Springs
- Hunlock Creek
- Korn Krest
- Mountain Grove
- Old Boston
- Port Griffith
- Rock Glen
- Saint Johns
- Sandy Run
- Sweet Valley
Footnotes ‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
County seats of Pennsylvania Cities
- Chester (1682-1851)
- Lock Haven
- New Castle
- Jim Thorpe
- New Bloomfield
- West Chester
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Harrisburg
- State parks
- Tourist attractions
- Lehigh Valley
- New York
- State College
- New Castle
- Bethel Park
- Lower Macungie
- Lower Makefield
- Lower Merion
- Lower Paxton
- Millcreek Township
- Mount Lebanon
- North Huntingdon
- Penn Hills
- State College
- Upper Darby
- Upper Merion
- West Chester
- York Township
- Allegheny Mountains
- Allegheny National Forest
- Allegheny Plateau
- Atlantic Coastal Plain
- Bald Eagle Valley
- Blue Ridge
- Coal Region
- Cumberland Valley
- Delaware Valley
- Dutch Country
- Endless Mountains
- Great Valley
- Mahoning Valley
- Happy Valley
- Laurel Highlands
- Lehigh Valley
- Main Line
- Moshannon Valley
- Nittany Valley
- Northern Tier
- North Penn Valley
- Ohio Valley
- Oil Region
- Oley Valley
- Pennsylvania Highlands
- Penns Valley
- Philicon Valley
- Pocono Mountains
- Ridge and Valley
- Saucon Valley
- South Central
- Susquehanna Valley
- Wyoming Valley
Wyoming Valley Counties
- Back Mountain
- Hanover Township
- Mountain Top
- Plains Township
Bodies of water
- Susquehanna River
- Rocky Run (Susquehanna River)
- Turtle Creek (Susquehanna River)
- Black Creek (Susquehanna River)
- Paddy Run
- Shickshinny Creek
- Hunlock Creek
- Harveys Creek
- Newport Creek
- Nanticoke Creek
- Warrior Creek
- Solomon Creek
- Coal Creek (Susquehanna River)
- Wadham Creek
- Brown Creek
- Toby Creek
- Mill Creek (Susquehanna River)
- Abrahams Creek
- Hicks Creek (Susquehanna River)
Home Rule Municipalities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania First Class
- Township of Cheltenham
- Township of Haverford
- Township of McCandless
- Township of Mt. Lebanon
- Township of O'Hara
- Township of Penn Hills
- City of Philadelphia
- Township of Plymouth
- Township of Radnor
- Township of Upper Darby
- Township of Upper St. Clair
- Township of Whitehall
- Township of Wilkes-Barre
- Township of Chester
- Township of Elk
- Township of Ferguson
- Township of Hampton
- Township of Hanover
- Township of Horsham
- Borough of Kingston
- Township of Middletown
- Township of Peters
- Township of Pine
- City of Pittsburgh
- Township of Richland
- Township of Tredyffrin
- Township of Upper Providence
- Township of West Deer
- Township of Whitemarsh
- City of Allentown
- City of Carbondale
- City of Chester
- City of Clairton
- City of Coatesville
- City of Farrell
- City of Franklin
- City of Greensburg
- City of Hermitage
- City of Johnstown
- Borough of Latrobe
- City of Lebanon
- City of McKeesport
- City of Reading
- City of St. Marys
- City of Warren
- City of Wilkes-Barre
- Borough of Bellevue
- Borough of Bethel Park
- Borough of Bradford Woods
- Borough of Bryn Athyn
- Borough of Cambridge Springs
- Borough of Chalfont
- City of DuBois
- Borough of Edinboro
- Borough of Greentree
- City of Hazleton
- Township of Kingston
- Borough of Monroeville
- Borough of Murrysville
- Borough of Norristown
- Borough of Portage
- Township of Salisbury
- City of Scranton
- Borough of State College
- Borough of Tyrone
- Borough of West Chester
- Borough of Whitehall
- Borough of Youngsville
City of Wilkes-Barre
- Historic sites
- Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
- Wyoming Monument
- Luzerne County Historical Society
- PNC Field
- WorldCat Identities
- VIAF: 125168230
- LCCN: n79063066
- ISNI: 0000 0000 8510 1943
- GND: 4453060-2