The town of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania was the site of the famous Civil War battle in 1863, which was the turning point of the war and resulted in a Union victory.
Luzerne County, Pennsylvania has a rich history that spans centuries. The area originally belonged to the indigenous tribes, including the Susquehannock and Delaware tribes. The county was officially formed in 1786, named after Chevalier de la Luzerne, the French ambassador to the United States during the American Revolutionary War.

In the early 19th century, Luzerne County became a vital hub of industry due to its abundant natural resources. Coal mining emerged as the dominant industry, and the region soon became known as the "Anthracite Coal Capital of the World." It attracted immigrants from Europe, particularly Ireland and Eastern Europe, who sought employment in the booming coal mines.

However, the coal industry also brought significant social and labor challenges. In the late 19th century, labor disputes and strikes erupted, including the infamous 1902 Coal Strike led by the United Mine Workers of America. These events represented a struggle for fair working conditions and wages for the miners.

Throughout the 20th century, Luzerne County experienced economic fluctuations as the coal industry declined. Efforts were made to diversify the economy, leading to growth in manufacturing, healthcare, and educational sectors. Today, Luzerne County is a vibrant region with a diverse population and varied industries, while also preserving its historical roots through landmarks, museums, and festivals that celebrate its coal mining heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

  • 1786: Luzerne County is established on September 25.
  • 1808: The first courthouse is built in Wilkes-Barre.
  • 1811: The Battle of Tompkins Corners during the War of 1812 takes place in Luzerne County.
  • 1832: The Susquehanna River flood devastates Wilkes-Barre, causing significant damage and loss of life.
  • 1853: The Lehigh Valley Railroad begins operations in Luzerne County, enhancing transportation and commerce.
  • 1863: The Civil War Draft Riots occur in Wilkes-Barre, resulting in violence and unrest.
  • 1871: The first coal mine fire begins in Plymouth, which would become an ongoing issue in the county.
  • 1896: The Knox Mine Disaster occurs, claiming the lives of twelve miners and impacting the region's coal industry.
  • 1901: The Wilkes-Barre City Hall is completed, becoming an iconic landmark in the county.
  • 1959: Hurricane Diane causes severe flooding in Luzerne County, resulting in widespread destruction and loss of life.
  • 1972: The Agnes Flood, caused by Tropical Storm Agnes, leads to extensive flooding throughout the county.
  • 2006: Wilkes-Barre celebrates its 200th anniversary since its incorporation as a city.