Pittston is a city in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is situated between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, the city gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as an active anthracite coal mining city, drawing a large portion of its labor force from European immigrants. The population was 7,739 as of the 2010 census, at its peak in 1920, the population of Pittston was 18,497. The city consists of three sections, The Downtown, the Oregon Section, and the Junction, Pittston City is at the heart of the Greater Pittston region. Greater Pittston has a population of 48,020. Pittston lies in the Wyoming Valley on the east side of the Susquehanna River and it is approximately midway between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Named after the famous British statesman William Pitt the Elder, the city was settled around 1770 by the Susquehanna Company of Connecticut, during the Revolutionary War, the Wyoming Valley was an active battleground between the British and the Continentals. On July 3,1778, a force of British soldiers, with the assistance of about 700 Indians, Connecticut Continentals, led by Captain Jeremiah Blanchard and Lieutenant Timothy Keyes, held and maintained a fort in Pittstown. On July 4,1778, a group of British soldiers took over the fortress, two years later, the Continentals stormed the fortification and recaptured it. From then on it was under Patriot control until the end of the war in 1783, today a marker stands at the site where the fort once stood. Pittston broke away from Pittston Township and officially became a borough in 1853, John Hosie served as the first burgess of the Borough of Pittston. It was later chartered as a city on December 10,1894, Thomas J. Maloney served as the city’s first mayor from 1894 to 1898. Pittston is located within Pennsylvania’s Coal Region, the first discovery of the anthracite coal occurred around 1770. The first mine was established in 1775 near Pittston, with the opening of a canal in the 1830s, Pittston became an important link in the coal industry. Money made through the mining and transportation of coal led some of the merchants to petition its separation from Pittston Township. The anthracite and railroad industry attracted thousands of immigrants, making Pittston a true melting pot with once-distinct ethnic, the population of Pittston boomed in the late 19th century. The boom continued well into the 20th century, many of Hines subjects were photographed in the mines and coal fields in and around Pittston between 1908 and 1912. The impact of the Hine photographs led to the enactment of child labor laws across the country, Coal mining remained the prominent industry in Pittston for many decades, but disasters did strike on more than one occasion
Pittston City aerial view looking northeast.
Pittston as depicted on an 1892 panoramic map
Child laborers at Pittston coal mine, 1911. Photo by Lewis Hine.
Site of the Twin Shaft Disaster immediately after the cave-in (1896).