SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There’s something missing from the Scranton skyline.
The iconic Scranton Electric City sign has gone dark. Eyewitness News has more on what happened to one of the most beloved sights in all of NEPA.
There are few things more iconic to Scranton than the Electric City sign. It was originally built to commemorate Scranton’s status as being one of the first cities in the United States to become electrified.
The city’s nickname “Electric City” began when electric lights were introduced in 1880 at the Dickson Manufacturing Company. In 1886, the United States’ first successful streetcars powered only by electricity began operating in Scranton.
Every night when the sun goes down in Scranton, the iconic Electric City sign lights up. Until recently.
“I actually live across the street and I can see the sign from my apartment, and I walk my dog on the square all the time and I noticed it so I was kind of like ‘hey what’s going on?’,” George Semian said.
Built in the 1930s, the Electric City sign is one of the country’s oldest original electric signs according to Discover NEPA. It’s a landmark that honors the city’s history. Local photographer Justine Bertkowski says it’s a popular spot for pictures.
“They want the Scranton Electric City sign in the background and tonight it was out. Tonight we’re going on a nice walk and no sign,” Bertkowski said.
The historic sign shines above the Scranton Electric Building on Linden Street, facing Courthouse Square. The building has been vacant for at least a year. It’s is owned by Pettinato Realty Inc.
It cost $500 a month to keep lighting up the sign, according to Robert Pettinato. He confirmed he had to shut the lights off about two weeks ago.
“If the owner was doing that for years, I mean God bless him. But if it doesn’t come back on, it’s a shame because it’s the first thing you see in the city and it’s a very vibrant part of downtown which has really come a long way,” Semian said.
“Symbolizes the city and represents the city so to not have something like that I think would really take away from Scranton’s heartbeat, like it’s life,” Bertkowski said.
Locals say they hope someone steps in to turn the lights back on.
“I think the city is the one that has to come through on this. I don’t think any of the non-profits or any of the organizations are going to be able to take charge of it but it’s a historic building. I’m sure eventually it’s going to be sold but I think it’s a top priority and i think the city has to pitch in on it,” Semian said.
Eyewitness News is following up with the city to see if there is a plan for the sign.