EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — From Wilkes-Barre to Scranton, Williamsport to Stroudsburg, and everywhere in between, our area has a rich past, and in many cases, much of it is still visible in this week’s Eyewitness to History.
In the spring of 1989, Eyewitness News anchor Vic Vetters reminded everyone to ‘always be looking up.’
“Every city has fingerprints, curves, and edges that make it unique. And just like your own hand, you can learn a lot about a city up close. The fingerprints of Wilkes-Barre are found in the architecture of its historic district. The result of three influences-geography, industry, and immigration,” Vic Vetters reported.
“We have a potpourri of many different types that span many different eras and are unique to Wilkes-Barre,” said one man we spoke with.
“The city is midway between New York and Philadelphia and in the 1800s architects there, designed
buildings here. Is it any wonder that many of Wilkes-Barre’s own buildings would look right at home in Europe. That’s because the flood of immigrants built churches and meeting halls to remind them of the old country. And when coal mining was strong, the wealthy used their money to build monuments to their success,” Vetters said.
“These buildings were built in an age when people took pride in their work. And the people who built the buildings took a great deal of pride in what they were showing the community about themselves,” explained Chris Barone, Professional Photographer.
“Chris Barone is a professional photographer who says the best way to appreciate Wilkes-Barre’s architecture is on foot. The more you look, the more you’ll see,” reported Vetters.
“A museum, a gallery of architectural history and styles that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Barone.
“How many of us are like this? You’re out walking downtown, whether it’s to work, lunchtime, or just to go shopping, and all you do is stare straight ahead. The next time you’re out, instead of looking at the sidewalk, look up,” reported Vetters.
And if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, and the cold January weather does not bother you, grab a camera or cellphone, look up and start snapping away.
“Look at the beauty that is just above your head and believe me, there is plenty to see,” Vetters said.
The decline of the coal industry and the Great Depression ended most of this construction. The skilled craftsmen are long gone. And these days the cost would be too expensive. All we have left is what you see. The whimsy and imagination of another generation. The stone fingerprints which are unique as your own hand.