Scranton was founded as an ironmaking community. In the late 1830's, the natural resources of the Lackawanna Valley attracted William Henry, the Scrantons, the Platts, and their associates. Nearby they found coal, waterpower, limestone, and iron ore - everything needed for making iron. The Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company built its first blast furnace in 1841, adding four more by 1855; rolling mills and steel mills spread up and down Roaring Brook.
William Henry, a New Jersey speculator, bought the site at Slocum Hollow in 1838 to build an iron furnace.
George and Selden Scranton, brothers and owners of the Oxford Furnace in New Jersey, came to the Lackawanna Valley in 1840. Selden was the son-in-law of William Henry.
Joseph Platt, one of the original owners of Lackawanna Iron & Coal, operated the first company store.
Joseph H. Scranton, a cotton broker from Georgia and cousin of George and Selden, provided financial backing for the company. He came to the iron furnace in 1848, and eventually became superintendent.
Around the ironworks, houses and stores were built; communities developed schools and churches. Immigrants came to the valley to work in the ironworks and mines. They came to build railroads and drive the steam locomotives that ran on them. The growing city attracted textile mills, machine shops, and foundries.
The need for railroads to haul ore to the mines anthracite coal to market created the ironworks principle product. In 1847, the Lackawanna Iron & Coal company began manufacturing iron T-rail for the Erie Railroad. With the expansions of railroads across the continent, the fortunes of the ironworks grew. In the 1860s, LI&C was the second largest ironworks in the United States. Steel mills were added in 1876. By 1900, what was now called Lackawanna Iron and Steel employed 3000 workers.
An era came to an end with the new century. The rich iron ores of the Great Lakes region and the use of coke to fuel blast furnaces lured the company to Lackawanna, New York. Beginning in 1901 the Lackawanna Iron and Steel works were closed and the mills were demolished.