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History of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Scranton is located in the heart of one of the great deposits of anthracite coal in the world, which provided the underpinnings for much of Scranton's industrial growth until the middle of the 20th century. The first white settlers came to the Wyoming Valley in the middle of the 18th century and lived amicably with the Munsee Indians, who moved west to the Ohio Valley between 1758 and 1771. However, during the War of Independence the Wyoming Massacre of 1778 caused panic among the settlers, who fled the valley en masse. On July 3, about 300 Patriot militia in the Wyoming Valley encountered an overwhelming army of British regulars, Tories and Indians. The Americans dissolved into a panic-stricken rout. The victors slaughtered numerous civilians and destroyed farms and homesteads. Following the war, one Philip Abbott built a gristmill and sawmill at Roaring Creek in 1788. He was followed by the Slocum brothers in 1798, who named the site Unionville, later changed in 1816 to Slocumville. The Slocums constructed a forge and distillery that prospered for several years. In 1840, the Scranton brothers arrived and found only five houses in the village. The Scrantons built a forge that later became the nucleus of the Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company. A new name was given to the settlement in 1845: Harrison, in honor of the president. Finally, in 1851, the name was changed to Scranton. When the railroad arrived in 1853, it provided an outlet for the iron industry and the coal mines. The population rose to 9,000 by 1860. Scranton absorbed some of its suburbs in 1866 and was chartered as a city. A bitter strike in 1877 resulted in the imposition of martial law and the collapse of the miners' union. Everhart Museum's collections include 19th- and 20th-century American art and natural history displays, including Dinosaur Hall. The Electric City Trolley Museum offers tour excursions, and The Houdini Museum caters to lovers of the occult. The oldest institutions of higher education in Scranton are the University of Scranton and Marywood College, both Roman Catholic schools founded in 1887 and 1903, respectively. In addition, the world's largest provider of extension courses, International Correspondence Schools, was founded in Scranton in 1891. Medical institutions in Scranton include Allied Services Institute of Rehabilation Medicine, Community Medical Center Healthcare System, Mercy Hospital, and Moses Taylor Hospital.