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This Week in Downtown Wilkes-Barre: January 27-Feb. 3, 2014

There's always something good happening in downtown Wilkes-Barre!
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January 28-February 3, 2014

This week brings a significant milestone for one of Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s bedrock institutions: on Wednesday, January 29, the Osterhout Free Library celebrates 125 years of operation.
 
Infinite riches in a little room.” That quotation – from a work by playwright Christopher Marlowe – has long been inscribed above a doorway in the library’s Reading Room. The inscription is apt because, for 125 years, that’s exactly what the Osterhout Free Library has provided to young and old, rich and poor: “infinite riches in a little room.”
 
The Osterhout Free Library first opened for business at 71 South Franklin Street at 10:00 AM on January 29, 1889. Up to that date – while Wilkes-Barre had enjoyed the presence of subscription and private libraries – there had been no local library that was free and open to the public.
 
That all changed because of the bequest of Wilkes-Barre merchant Isaac Smith Osterhout. He had long loved reading, serving for decades as treasurer of the Wyoming Atheneum, a local subscription library. However, Osterhout wanted his entire community to enjoy access to knowledge, so he dedicated the bulk of his estate to be used to “found, establish and perpetuate a free library in Wilkes-Barre.”
 
Following his directions, the trustees of his estate hired a librarian, purchased a “temporary” building (the former First Presbyterian Church), and assembled a collection comprised of books from Isaac Osterhout's personal library, volumes from the Wyoming Atheneum, and 9,500 books purchased from New York bookseller Charles Scribner and Sons. The original library catalog totaled around 10,000 volumes.
 
Today, there are more than 221,000 printed volumes in the Osterhout Free Library’s collection, together with E-books, DVDs, and more. Its landmark Downtown home – added onto repeatedly over the years, but never replaced – serves, together with its three branch libraries, more than 170,000 visitors each year. The Osterhout may be evolving to meet the needs of a digital age, but, as a community learning resource, it is as important as ever.
 
Issac Osterhout left an extraordinary gift to his adopted hometown. For 125 years, that gift has paid dividends to hundreds of thousands of local residents who have benefited from his civic generosity. It deserves to be recognized and emulated – so please join the Osterhout for its birthday celebration this week, and please continue to utilize and support this wonderful Downtown institution.
 
Hoping to see you soon in Downtown Wilkes-Barre!
 
Larry Newman, Executive Director
Diamond City Partnership
larry@wbdcp.org

On Thursday, January 23, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association held its Winter Membership Mixer at Rodano's. The mixer also provided an opportunity to recognize and thank the dozens of local artists who participated in the DWBBA's annual Holiday Window Painting project.

Downtown Events


Tuesday, January 28
Women’s Empowerment in the Middle East: a lecture by Dr. Hanada Taha

TIME: 4:00 PM
PLACE: Miller Room, Wilkes University Henry Student Center, 84 West South Street
 
Women’s empowerment in the Middle East will be discussed at a lecture given by Dr. Hanada Taha, acting dean of Bahrain Teacher’s College at the University of Bahrain. Taha is involved in foundational work developing Arabic language standards for the Arab Thought Foundation and to the International School Services in charge of developing the first series of standards-based Arabic language programs. This lecture is part of a collaboration between Wilkes and the United Nations which brings U.N. officials to campus throughout the year for lectures and informal meetings with students. The lecture is free and open to the public.
More information: www.wilkes.edu.
 
Wednesday, January 29
Osterhout Free Library’s 125th Birthday Celebration

TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: Osterhout Free Library, 71 South Franklin Street
 
Celebrate the 125th birthday of the Osterhout Free Library with a reenactment of the grand opening (January 29, 1889) at 10 AM. Cake and coffee will be served, and historic photos will be on display.
More information: http://www.osterhout.lib.pa.us or 570-821-1959.
 
Wednesday, January 29
Green Drinks Wilkes-Barre

TIME: 5:30 PM
PLACE: Bart & Urby's, 119 South Main Street
 
Join us for the first Green Drinks of the year: a night of socializing at Bart & Urby's--with eco-minded people, environmental professionals, volunteers, and students. First-timers all made welcome! Bring a friend and RSVP today. Drinks (or not) and good chats and connections are all part of the international Green Drinks network. W-B is on the map!
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/575694975856564/
 
Friday, January 31
Campion Literary Society Open Reading

TIME: 7:00 PM
PLACE: Gold Room, King’s College Administration Building, 133 North River Street
 
The Campion Literary Society’s open readings give students, faculty, and members of the community the chance to share creative works, including poems, short stories, drama, and creative nonfiction. Guests can bring original works or the work of published authors. Free.
More information: www.kings.edu or 570-208-5957.
 
Friday, January 31
Winter Warmer Concert Series presents Guitarist Tim Farrell

TIME: 7:00 PM
PLACE: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, 35 South Franklin Street
 
The Music from St. Stephen’s Winter Warmer Concert Series continues with guitarist Tim Farrell, who has enjoyed a career that has lasted more than 25 years as a composer, recording artist, and performer, in both solo and ensemble work. The concert will be held in St. Stephen’s auditorium, and will include warm winter beverages. The concert will be 75 minutes with no intermission; a meet-the-artist reception will follow. Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors, students, and WVIA members with ID). Free parking is available in the adjacent parking lot.
More information: www.ststephenswb.org or 570-704-7055.
 
Friday, January 31
Leadership Wilkes Barre Mid-Winter Cocktail Party: A Night With the Stars

TIME: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
PLACE: Westmoreland Club, 59 South Franklin Street
 
Leadership Wilkes-Barre honors former Luzerne Bank president Robert Snyder with the Patrick J. Solano Community Leadership Award at its Mid-Winter Cocktail Party. Enjoy the essence of a true Italian cocktail party and celebrate community leadership with the Special Award Presentation at 6:45 PM. Entertainment by Windfall. Cost is $40 per person; jacket & tie are required.
More information: www.leadershipwilkes-barre.org or 570-823-2101 x 135.
 
Friday, January 31
Kirby Center presents Bizet’s Carmen

TIME: 8:00 PM
PLACE: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 77 Public Square
 
Georges Bizet’s timeless opera comes to the Kirby Center for one very special performance. First performed in 1875, Carmen is still widely acclaimed for its brilliance of melody, harmony, atmosphere and orchestration. Tickets start at $26.00.
More information: www.kirbycenter.org or 570-826-1100.
 
Saturday, February 1
Wilkes-Barre League Of Women Voters Legislative Breakfast

TIME: 8:30 AM
PLACE: King’s College Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center
 
Please make plans to join us at the League’s annual legislative breakfast. We have invited all of our local State Senators and State Representatives. Have breakfast with the legislator of your choice (limited seating available) and discuss issues that are of importance to you and your family.
More information: 570-675-3429.
 
Saturday, February 1
Knit & Crochet Group- One More Row

TIME: 10:30 PM to 12:00 PM
PLACE: Osterhout Free Library, 71 South Franklin Street
 
The Osterhout’s Knit & Crochet Group meets at the library every other Saturday morning. Enjoy light refreshments and good company as you work on projects, socialize, and share your skills. All skill levels welcome...and beginners are encouraged!
More information: www.osterhout.lib.pa.us or 570-821-1959.
 
Monday, February 3
Autograph Session with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

TIME: 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
PLACE: Osterhout Free Library, 71 South Franklin Street
 
Join us at the Osterhout and meet two of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ players, together with everyone’s favorite mascot, TUX! Feel free to bring items to autograph.
More information: www.osterhout.lib.pa.us or 570-821-1959.

Downtown Exhibits


Luzerne County Historical Society Museum
(69 South Franklin Street):

HOURS: Tu-F, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM; Sat, 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

The Art of Lawrence Russo
DATES: November 16, 2013 through January 31, 2014
 
The best-known work of Lawrence Russo is probably the 24-foot high statue of Christ the King atop the King's College Administration Building in Wilkes-Barre, but the work of this prolific Wyoming Valley sculptor adorns many churches, cemeteries, and public buidings throughout the mid-Atlantic. This exhibit explores Russo’s work in various media, including a number of his paintings.
 
Native Americans of Wyoming Valley
Permanent exhibition

The permanent exhibit on the Native American inhabitants of the area includes local artifacts ranging from stone implements of the Archaic period to the archeological evidence of European influence.
More information: www.luzernehistory.org or 570-823-6244
 
King’s College Widmann Art Gallery
(Sheehy-Farmer Campus Center)
 
Spirited Energy by Michael Hiscox
DATES: January 13 through February 24, 2014
HOURS: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday - Friday
 
Local artist Michael Hiscox of Dallas will convey the action and energy of human activity in a collection of his works in a variety of media, ranging from watercolors to graphite, during an exhibition titled “Spirited Energy.” The artist’s goal is to capture the spirit, emotion, and craft of each activity.

More information: www.kings.edu or 570-208-5900.

Wilkes University Sordoni Art Gallery
(Stark Learning Center, 150 South River Street)

 
A World Apart: the Legacy of George Gabin
DATES: January 14 through May 11, 2014.
HOURS: 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM, Tuesday - Sunday
 
The Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University presents the exhibition, A WORLD APART: THE LEGACY OF GEORGE GABIN, featuring a variety of works by the 20th century American imaginist painter and teacher at the Montserrat College of Art.
More information: http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/1531.asp
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This week's featured historic building is:

Conyngham Hall (1843)
130 South River Street
 
This imposing Chateauesque-style mansion was constructed in 1897 to the designs of New York City architect Charles Alling Gifford, a friend of owner William Hillard Conyngham. Gifford also designed the famous Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire (site of the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference), buildings for the 1892 and 1904 World’s Fairs, and many buildings in the resort of Jekyll Island, Georgia.
 
With its “basketweave” brickwork above the second floor windows, its porch, and picturesque skyline of roofs, dormers, chimneys, and crockets, the John Hillard Conyngham mansion was the last of a series of Conyngham family homes built along South River and West South Streets, facing the River Common. It remained in the Conyngham family until 1972, when it was left to Wilkes University. Today, Conyngham Hall serves the University for a variety of student functions.


 

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