Put on your walking shoes and get ready to step into history. Follow Mary Portelli as the West Pittston Historical Society president points out homes along Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston on Saturday, July 24, as she talks about their architecture and histories.
The tour project is a West Pittston Historical Society and West Pittston Library partnership. This walk will cover the lower end of Susquehanna Avenue from the old armory to the Fort Jenkins Bridge. Some of the homes still have original carriage stepping stones out front. Some of the stones, which homeowners and guests used to step in and out of carriages, are carved with the homeowners’ names.
The library has set up a pre-registration form on its Facebook page, but pre-registration is not necessary. Anyone can join the tour by meeting at Susquehanna and Atlantic avenues at 11 a.m.
The tour will be the fifth in a series which began in 2018. There were two in 2018 and two in 2019. Portelli said the idea sprang from the library’s “Saturday Morning Walks” program several years ago. She hopes to make the walks annual events.
Portelli is busy researching the century-plus old homes along the walk route. She’ll talk about the architecture and, where the information can be found, about the architects, other significant structures and the bridges.
“The postcard view,” Portelli said, “is circa 1920s and shows the 1000 block of Susquehanna Avenue looking from Delaware Avenue toward Montgomery Avenue. The homes in this image are still standing with the exception of the large mansion at the center. We will, however, also be talking about the homes that are no longer there.” Portelli said the mansion, which was built by the Ford family, was demolished in the 1930s or ’40s.
Portelli said while walking tours are fun and informative, they are also important.
“They create awareness. The more people know about their history, the more likely they are to want to preserve it, which is part of the society’s mission,” she said.
West Pittston Historical Society welcomes memberships and donations. Membership forms are available at the library or on the historical society’s Facebook page. Individual memberships are $25 and family, $35, and can be paid through PayPal to email@example.com. Donations can be made by check mailed to WPHS, c/o Drew Smith, 238 Philadelphia Ave., West Pittston, PA 18640 or by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put your name, email address and membership type in the PayPal “notes” box.
Carl Rosencrance Jr. is vice president of the West Pittston Historical Society. William Rowe is secretary and Sandra Panzitta is treasurer.