Lackawanna River Watershed History

Lackawanna River Watershed History (HM2I76)

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N 41° 25.25', W 75° 39.69'

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1700's (Native Americans & Early Settlers) — This area was once home to the Monsey Indians, a branch of the Delaware Indians. After William Penn bought land along the Delaware River from the Delaware Indians, the Monseys relocated along the Lackawanna River, under the leadership of Chief Capoose (Capouse), in a settlement called Capoose's Meadow. The location of the main settlement was just across the River from Sweeney's Beach closer to Weston Field. Until 1771 wigwams were common along both banks of the Lackawanna River. At that time the banks were fertile for farming and the River was abundant with shad and trout and the adjacent woodlands were home to turkey, rabbit, moose, elk, deer, beaver, otter and mountain lion. (The History and Geography of Scranton and Its Vicinity)
1800's (Industrial Revolution & Immigrants) — Iron Production, Coal Mining and Railroads dominated the Lackawanna Valley and greatly impacted the Lackawanna River and the local landscape. Development of the coal mines attracted thousands of immigrants, which further stressed local natural resources. In 1840, the Iron Furnaces were built along Roaring Brook and produced T-rails used in building the transcontinental railroad. In 1853, the first locomotive of the Delaware and Lackawanna Railroad came to the Lackawanna

Valley. The first electric trolley car system started in 1886. The famous George Inness painting "Lackawanna Valley" clearly foreshadows the anthropogenic impacts awaiting the Lackawanna River Watershed.
1900's (Environmental Degradation) — Scranton's population peaked at just over 143,000 in 1930. The anthracite industry remained the primary supporting industry, however, other industries like textile manufacturing also grew significantly. These industries and the basic needs of a large population stressed the environment. Coal waste piles, coal breakers, textile mills, button factories and housing all required large expanses of land and the Lackawanna Valley landscape was forever changed due to earth moving and loss of woodlands. Further, gas manufacturing facilities, direct release of sewage and wastewater to the Lackawanna River and municipal landfills and incinerators left the Lackawanna River devoid of life. The LRCA was founded in 1987 to start the healing process.
2000's (Environmental Restoration) — The LRCA decided to name the site Sweeney's Beach in recognition of Sweeney Brothers - a major highway and excavation contractor in the Scranton area in the early 20th Century that had their contractor yard at this location. The site also housed tracks for the Green Ridge Branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and a city-run

incinerator. Once abandoned, the footprint of the rail line became an access road from Poplar Street to maintain sewer lines and gain access into the Lackawanna College practice athletic fields. LRCA approached Lackawanna College and D & L Realty of Dunmore, owner of the former railroad track and received permission to use the driveway to access the unused portion of city owned recreation land. In 2015, the City of Scranton approved leasing the property (Sweeney's Beach) to the LRCA and LVC. Site planning and restoration started in 2016 and continues today.
HM NumberHM2I76
Year Placed2019
Placed ByThe Lackawanna River Conservation Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, June 27th, 2019 at 8:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 444722 N 4585686
Decimal Degrees41.42083333, -75.66150000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 25.25', W 75° 39.69'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 25' 15" N, 75° 39' 41.4" W
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Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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