We start with the Santa Fe Trail. In 1821, William Becknell and four men with a large packed train of horses left Westport, Missouri. They followed a southwest direction, picking their way between the tributaries of Kansas and Marais des Cygne River, then nearly straight west. From east to west we note such points a Westport, Gardner, Baldwin, 110 Mile Crossing, Council Grove, etc. The Trail was 780 miles long, 400 of it in Kansas , and it ended in the second oldest town in the United Sates, Santa Fe, New Mexico. It took about two months to make the trip one way. Kit Carson at the age of 16 made his first trip over the Trail with the Bent and Vrain Company. He said, “Until the wagon train reached Council Grove little precaution was taken against the Indians for the Kansas and Osages were friendly.” For forty years the Trail led merchants, soldiers, forty-niners Mcrmans, and pioneers into and through Kansas.
The northern part of Osage County was a part of the Shawnee Indian Reservation, and the only white settlers that were present when Kansas was formed as a territory, May 30, 1854, were two white men living on 110 Mile Creek at the crossing of the Trail who had married Shawnees.
The land was opened to settlement by Congress by the Act of 1854, and in 1855 the legislature designated this Weller County. On February 11, 1859, the name was changed to Osage County and it was organized. Settlers had been arriving in ever increasing numbers after 1855 and two of the first in the Scranton area were E.S. Borland and Michael Supple who settled between 110 Mile Crossing and Burlingame. On October, 1861 Borland became the first sheriff of the county. In the next few years several town sites were chosen, most began along or near the Santa Fe Trail, but most died within a short time. At least two were started where the Santa Fe Trail crossing on 110 Mile Creek was located. One called Indian City had four frame houses and was erected on part of the present Scranton site. It never got any larger.
In 1857, immigration to the county increased and Free State people began to have a majority. In 1859, a terrible storm of wind and rain swept over the county and there was great property loss. Also in 1859, there was many land sales. Poor settlers who could not pay land claims returned to the east or went west. Others came and took their place even though market for crops was poor. The great drought of 1860 was particularly severe in Osage County. Settlers suffered much, and if it hadn’t been for aid sent from the east and Aid Societies, they would not have survived. O.H. Sheldon of then Superior was one appointed to distribute aid. The drought was followed on January 11, 1861, by one of the most severe snow storms. The first grasshopper raid was in 1866. On September 15th, they appeared in clouds and destroyed every green thing. Eggs hatching in the next spring also damaged crops. In spite of nature, political troubles, and everyday hardships the county became more populated with sturdy pioneers.
The railroad also made its appearance. Col. Cyrus K. Holliday had incorporated the Santa Fe, February 11, 1859. The name was changed to Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, November 1863, before any construction started. Ground was broken in Topeka early in November, 1868, and connection was made over the Kaw with the Kansas Pacific. By the later part of March, 1869, the road bed was completed southward to Wakarusa and 7 miles of rail laid by April 20th. Before the end of May the road was completed past the Osage-Shawnee county line, and June 17th was occasion for celebration in Carbondale -18 miles. Service was established to Carbondale, June 28, 1869. Stages operated from there to Burlingame on regular schedules until the later part of 1869 when the first train made its appearance in Burlingame. The railroad went through the Scranton locality in September of 1869.
One other fact was to play an important part in later events. Coal existed under the greater part of Osage County particularly in large quantities in a belt comprising about 25% of the county following the line of the railroad and lying some distance on either side of it. It was found at a depth below the surface on the average of 50 to 75 feet. The veins were from 12 to 36 inches thick. The quality was good. Scranton came into being in the center of this coal belt.
Alexander Thomas, father of Bryan Thomas now living in Scranton, was born in Richmond, Virginia, and came to Kansas in December, 1869. He stopped in Topeka, came on to Carbondale where he spent one year. On September 27, 1872, he and O.H. Sheldon began sinking a coal shaft in the Scranton Area. This was completed in 1872 and mining was soon started. That same year Peter Sheldon joined the two in the enterprise and the Burlingame and Scranton Coal Co. was formed by the Sheldon’s with Thomas as superintendent. The first mine was entered and the first shaft (No. 1) was located north of the railroad tracks. A few crude homes for miners were built and a general merchandise store opened all supervised by Thomas. He organized a post office in 1873 and was appointed the first postmaster.
Late in the summer of 1872 a town survey was laid out on the Sheldon’s property. The plat was made on the northwest corner to the northeast section three. The new town was named Scranton mostly because Mrs. Sheldon had lived previously in Scranton, Pennsylvania. For three years, 1872 to 1875, Thomas was master of all he surveyed, although changes were made in the mining company. The Burlingame and Scranton Coal Co. was succeeded by the Osage Carbon Coal Mining Co. By 1883, its shafts were eight in number and all well-worked. The total reached fourteen before the railroad interest dropped out. The Scranton Co-operative Society was formed to benefit the laborers by supplying merchandise to them through a general store.
In 1875, Henry Isaacs, father of William Isaacs, opened a grocery store and a coal mine. Later he sank a second shaft both being along the southern line of the town. Also in 1875 shafts were put down by the Carbon Coal Co. Chappel and Edwards and in 1876 by Joseph Drake. Drake later laid out more mines between the school house and Main Street.
In 1879 there was a rush of capital from the east and a general boom in business. By 1880 the population of Scranton was 930; three years later is was near 1800. The Industrial Mining Co. entered the field in 1880 with John Lamont, president; Squire Anderson, vice president; and J.F. Young, secretary. The industrial Mines were north of the tracks west of town. Active shafts of the Osage Carbon Co. were situated as follows: 1, 2, and 3 were north of the tracks: No 6 was on the cemetery road (cemetery lies one half mile south, one mile east): 4, 5, and 7 were south of 6, and No. 8 was across the tracks from the depot. The Santa Fe built about 100 houses for these miners.
In 1880 Pat Ryan began stripping coal two and one half miles southeast of the city on the Ryan farm. Lou Green started a big strip north of the tracks a year later. In 1883 Pat Ryan sank his first shaft at Craigtown with Mike Ryan as Superintendent.
Two more years of steady growth followed, and then a decline followed. One by one the companies closed down and transferred activities to veins at Pittsburg. Many miners followed. The closed mines were the company ones, those that were started by local men and independents continued. Pat Ryan sank his third shaft in 1886 with Alf White, superintendent. Bell Brothers were full swing at Belltown. Chappel opened north of Belltown and men assisted the independents. The final blow to the boom came in 1898 when mining fields in Toluca, Illinois, were re-opened and company operations ended in Scranton. Seventy-five percent that remained continued for many years. As late as 1930 four new shafts were opening, Old No. 14 company mine was taken over by local people and in 1930 was owned by Joe Elliot. The labor exchange mine was born during the business depression of 1909 of the efforts of 20 working miners and two non-workers, Henry Lucas and George Harris. Twenty-one years later, 1930, it had 17 workers and one mining machine and was considered quite prosperous under William Carnery and E. Bostrum. Bostrum was electrocuted by a short in the mining machine a few years later.
The standard was organized in 1899 by James McKinley, Evan Griffith, and Charles Little. James McKinley was the sole operator before his death and then turned it over to his son Bryan, partner William Turvey, and William Weir in 1928. By 1930 it had passed through 31 years of ups and downs, but was still operating and had been equipped with a mining machine. Segelquist Brothers had by 1930 owned and operated a mine on their farm northwest of town for years. They opened a second mine and in the summer of 1930 installed a mining machine. Jack Green, Kilgore Brothers and others were operating mines. In 1936 it was reported $60,000 worth of coal was produced during the winter months from Scranton.
Scranton miners went through all the troubles and the problems associated with any mining area. Many worked for the company, rented a house from the company, bought food and all supplies from a general store owned by the company. It is of small wonder that many felt as Tennessee Ernie Ford sang in 16 tons, “that they spent their free time in the town’s many saloons.” Mrs. Pearl Bell told how as a child she watched the miners line up for blocks at the company office for their pay, swinging dinner buckets, and wearing miners’ caps. Many were accompanied by their wives who took the pay so it wouldn’t be spent in some drinking place.
Labor relations and economics presented problems, too. Henry J. Allen, Kansas governor, won the undying hatred of many Scranton miners in 1919 when he called for volunteers to work the mines in the public interest. The nation’s miners were out on strike. His plan for an industrial court was even less popular with the miners who felt he really had the business interest at heart.
Since 1940 the mines have gradually closed. The use of other fuels, the playing out of coal veins and the flooding due to incoming water has all contributed to this. The last mine closed in early 1960’s. High piles of shaft dirt along the highways are disappearing also, as it is used for county road-beds, but within minutes drive one can count at least a dozen dumps in and around outskirts of Scranton.
When the original town was surveyed, the west line of the present school house was the west line of town. Throop’s addition was first added west. This is now the business portion of the town. Still further west the Carbon Coal Co. addition was made; then one a short distance to the south was made by the Osage Carbon Co. and still later Sheldon’s addition was included. Four suburbs built up around one or more mines were Blue town (southwest), Carbon town (west), Bell town (west) and Craig town (south of the cemetery) Scranton was incorporated as a city of the third class August 4, 1880. The first mayor was Dr. J. M. Giddings. Clerk and Police Judge was John Poe, treasurer, H. A. Sheldon, and marshal, W. A. Challas
The first school was built in 1872 on the present location. H. D. Porter was the first principal. Files for 1882 show 617 children of school age attended the school.
The first sermon preached on the town site was on April 2, 1872, by Rev. J. W. Stogdill of Burlingame at the coal company boarding house. Several churches were founded soon after.
The first newspaper published in Scranton was know as the Kansas Plebean. It was first published at Lyndon in 1882 and moved to Scranton that fall. It was published by E. D. Hunt in the interest of the Greenback party.
The first birth in Scranton was a son born to Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Evans on August 2, 1872, but the child died in December if 1873 and this was the first death.
William Porter established the Bundy House Hotel. It had 15 rooms and capacity for 40 people. It and the Evans Hotel stood on the east side of Main Street. Two or three livery barns were established. William Hobbs started a large lumber yard. James Ivey was possibly the first undertaker. O’Donnell established the first hardware store. John R. Poe came to Scranton as a miner but read law in his spare time and was admitted to the bar August, 1881. He was elected city attorney the next year.
The town soon had three doctors. Dr. Giddings was the first. Dr. A. W. Sellards, and A. B. Sellards came to Scranton in November 1881. They were two of four brothers, all doctors, and were on their way to Colorado when they heard of a mining town which was having an epidemic and only one doctor. They stopped off at Scranton and stayed. They had a drug stock of $23,000. They made contract with the miners to treat them and their families and supply all necessary medicine for one dollar a month. They had about 500 on their list.
A. B. Bunton was one of the early residents who made Scranton a permanent home. He arrived in June, 1885, and came directly from Scotland. He said:
“My impression of the town was it was then one of the most godforsaken looking places I had ever seen. It certainly dispelled that fantastic dream I enjoyed in sailing for that wonderful land called America, land of beauty, wealth, and opportunity. At that time Scranton boasted of 1800 or 1900 population, mostly English, scotch Irish, German, and Swede, and had about a dozen coal mines in operation”.
As it was early in the history of the town there were very few trees and about the only flowers to be seen were the flowers on the prairie. It presented the appearance of a real western town, such as you sometimes see in the movies. All the business houses were one story frame or lumber building with high fronts. Sidewalks and crossings on Main Street were laid with rough flat rocks and a board walk extended from the depot to the street east of the M. E. Church. No lighting system whatsoever, everybody supplied their own lighting in the shape of coal oil lantern. When you came to town at night you carried your lantern along, and if you forgot to bring it with you and a storm came up and made it unusually dark, it was just too bad, as you had to grope your way home as best as you could and stand a good chance of stepping into a ditch full of water or mud.
The town was surrounded for miles on every side with open prairie and hundreds of cattle, mostly milk cows belonging to the towns people; many of them seldom see by the owners, especially the young animals, until rounded up in the fall, and I was told that many came up missing then. It was a very common sight to see a herd of these cattle on Main Street as they came to drink at the city well, or pass through from the prairie south to the prairie north of town. Some of them had bells attached to a halter or collar around their necks so their owner could locate them more easily in a herd dusk. The tinkling of these bells and the songs of the meadowlarks on the prairie were very similar.
Mr. Bunton said that the most popular spot in town was in front of Cook’s Drug Store. Here all the town worthiest met daily to discuss politics, religion, socialism as well as prohibition. Because of these discussions this post was called Congress Corner. Mr. Bunton himself was a druggist and was first employed by the Dr. Sellards. In 1899 he established his own drug store which stood on the opposite corner east until his death a half century later. Concerning prohibition, he said: “Although the prohibition law had been enacted several years ago before I came there were at that time no less than half dozen booze joints or dives as they were called, located along Main Street, and many more in other parts of town. Some of the most notorious joints were run by women. Drunken men could be seen almost at any time on our streets. Issues of City elections were usually wet and dry. During the period when prohibition was in its infancy, and when almost every drug store in the state was handling liquor illegally and coining money, we are proud of the fact the Scranton’s Drug Store didn’t take out a permit and refused to cater to the drinking element.”
Alex Thomas and Bunton were two leading citizens who were staunch prohibitionists. W. J. Bryan tells the story of the lumber for the first saloon being shipped into Scranton on a wagon. As it was late it was not unloaded immediately. Alex Thomas got a group of men an in the night unloaded the lumber and hid it. Of course it was found later and the saloon was built, but those two old timers never failed to prevent such business if they could. Prohibition had won the election of 1880, but the battle of the saloons lasted many years, particularly in the mining towns. In spite of this past or because of it, Scranton is one of the few towns in Osage County which voted down the packaged liquor store and has had only one tavern for many years.
During the boom days the town’s business changed hands often. Mr. Bunton said that few business men then had any intention of making it a permanent home. They were here to make all the money they could as fast as they could and then go on to some more promising place. By 1900, a group had formed that intended to stay and the first brick buildings and more permanent structures built. A town suited for farming interests as well as mining was established.
In 1902, we find the following businesses listed: building supplies, 4 general merchandise stores, 4 restaurants, 2 drug stores, 2 millineries, 2 groceries, Bell’s furniture, hardware, and undertaker, Turvey grocery and men’s store, Barlow grocery and meats, a jeweler, 3 blacksmiths, butcher, 2 real estate, a lawyer, and one hotel. In January 1902, August Albert established a general merchandising store. After his death it was run by his son Walter, and after his death, by his widow and two sons. It was closed a few years ago.
Development of Permanent Institutions.
The first frame school house building was erected in 1873 where today’s is located. By 1880 this one room had been increased to seven for $6,900. In 1882, 617 pupils were reported in District 75. A year later it was said to be 855 pupils.
Night school, to enable boys to go there half-time at the shafts, were provided from 1881 to 1888. Prof. J. W. Rooand, Attorney John Jones and Miss Cora Kirby were the three teachers, in 1887, the night school had grown to 69 so Miss Maggie Lynn was made an assistant. The last session ended in 1889.
The regular high school became an unaccredited high school in 1894 and graduated its first class of 15 members. Thirteen of these students later became teachers and one, John Lynn, became well known in educational circles.
In 1914 the frame building was replaced by a brick one at a cost of $13,000. In 1930 and addition costing $30,000 was completed and equipped. The addition was 86 by 74 and included and auditorium for 400. The 1930 school census showed 210 children of school age in the city district.
The third addition was made in 1954 and it included a new gymnasium and remodeling of the second addition. The school population has not varied much since standing close to 200. In 1967 the school had 130 grade and 60 high school students, with the grade classes averaging 20 pupils. It is in its first year as part of a unified district, No. 434.
Scranton’s early settlers were not only miners, and somewhat rough characters, but also most of them were ardent church goers, The earliest history lists five denominations: Methodist, Catholic, Free Methodist, Presbyterian, and Latter Day Saints. The denominations have changed over the years but the town still has five sects and boasts five church buildings well kept and much used.
The two churches with the oldest history are the Methodist and Catholic. The initiatory step for the Methodist was taken in 1878 when Alexander Thomas was appointed lcass leader with 27 members. The first Methodist church buildings occupied the lot on which the late Fred Borland’s house stands, and Mr. Bunton tells of attending church there in 1855. The first building on the present site was erected while J.S. McQuisten was pastor in 1889-1891. At that time the class numbered 131. From 1887 to 1910 the church had 17 different pastors. This building burned to the ground after being struck by lightning in 1903. The present church was built in 1904. In 1956 a fellowship hall was built west of the church for educational and social purposes. Several remodeling of the church have taken place over the years. This year the membership purchased a newer parsonage. The church is served by the Kansas Conference of the Methodist Church and is in charge with Auburn. Membership is usually around 100.
Because of the travels of Juan De Padilla Catholics were early inhabitants of this part of Kansas. Catholic settlers were near Scranton in 1855. During the territorial days in 1868 the first mass was celebrated in Scranton in the home of Michael Luby located about two and one-half miles northwest of town. The priest was Father Defourl from the Assumption Church of Topeka. He came once every two months and often on week days. The parish was a migratory one first being at Scranton, then Burlingame, later at Carbondale, and in 1876 moved back to Scranton. The first mass in Scranton itself was said in the Ryan boarding house. (This building still stands and is the second house south of the church.) At the second mass here a subscription was taken up to build a church as the parish had increased to 15 families
Mr. Henry Throop of Topeka donated the property which is the present site. On August 15, 1877, he deeded lots 34, 36 and 38 at the corner of Boyle and Mercer Streets to L. M. Fink Bishop of Leavenworth. The little frame church seated 120 people and was used about once a month. The first communion class was held in 1877 when 20 children received their first Holy Communion. The church grew as the town boomed and in 1885 Father McKenne established a parochial school. It was kept open for four years and had an enrollment of 25 children most of the time. It closed in 1889 because of loss of the miners and population drop. The number of Catholic parishioners (principally farmers) increased and a transcript and sanctuary were added to the church so that it was a Cruciform seating 200. The parish consisted of about 25 families of German and Irish nationality. The last mass in this church was held May 21, 1916, and then it was torn down.
The first spade of earth was turned for the new church, Jun 7, 1916. Mass was held in K. P. Hall while the church was being built. The corner stone was laid on October 2, 1917 by Bishop Ward of the Diocese of Leavenworth “Saint Patrick’s Church, A. D. 1917” engraved on it. A Celtic cross with shamrocks entwined is found on one side of the stone. A finished church by 1918, this cathedral is pure Gothic architecture, 100 by 36 feet, being 53 feet at the Transept. The gold cross on the tower stands 125 feet above the sidewalk. The cost was reported to be $20,000.
Scranton has always been a mission. Priests from Topeka, Ottawa, and Osage City have served the church. At present it is a mission of Osage City. As this is the only Catholic Church between Topeka and Osage City it’s members come from Carbondale, Burlingame, and surrounding territory. In 1972 its membership was about 75 families.
On Sunday morning, August 9, 1964, before mass the church was rocked by a heavy gas explosion, and it was feared the structure was damaged to the extent that it would have to be rebuilt. However, extensive repairs were made and the church completely redecorated, so that it is in good condition. The Methodist Church was used for mass before its own regular services for several months, and the Catholic congregation presented the Methodist Church with an altar Bible in appreciation in January of 1965.
Many of the Scranton settlers were of Swedish origin. They came directly from the old country. The mission church was organized in March 4, 1889. An application for a charter was made and granted on January 28, 1862. In 1886 the first traveling ministers and laymen had visited Scranton. The first meetings were held in homes and for a short time an English church was rented. The present church was built in the fall on 1889 and the vestibule added about 1894. The church was enlarged in 1904. The work was carried on for more than thirty years in the old Swedish language. After 1920 the work began gradually turning to English. The first chairman was Mr. Hogland and then Gust Larson succeeded him and also served as pastor. Mr. J. A. Alberg served as pastor for a number of years and was called upon to serve when the church was without a pastor.
In 1912 or 1913 the church decided to call a pastor and pay a salary as none had been paid before. Rev. Oscar Larson was the first pastor called to serve one year. Most of the years since the church had had a pastor although not continuously. During the pastorate of Rev. E. F. Lindholm in 1958 to 1962 the church changed its character from Mission to Evangelical Covenant which is what it is today. An addition of Sunday school rooms, pastor study, and rest rooms were also added during the Lindholm years. The membership approached 100 at this time. It had dropped somewhat the last five years, but has several faithful members of the original families.
The Presbyterian group was mentioned in the early history, but did not survive as no later record was found.
The reorganized church of Latter Day Saints did build a church in 1884 with Rev. Jarvis as pastor. The building was later torn down in about 1935, and a private home built where it stood.
Early history mentions the Free Methodist group in Scranton; but nothing was found to tell what happened to this group. It was known that around 1900 a Wesleyan Methodist Church was located on the Mary Blackburn property and many of those who formed the later Free Methodist congregation went to this church. Mrs. Blanche Lust of Topeka wrote that in August of 1906 her father Rev. H. D. Kelly was assigned as pastor to go to Scranton to start a Free Methodist Class. She stated that there had not been a pastor for several years and the membership had fallen to two. The Wesleyan Methodist building would be sold if a membership could not be started. Shortly after this the church was located a block north of the depot and after 1906 it was never without a pastor although the pastor did not always live here. In 1946 Rev. J. M. Reid returned as pastor and the lot north of the church was purchased for parking and landscaping, and the church was connected with the hall with modern restrooms. The church had been improved inside with new pews and carpet.
In the summer of 1914 a preacher by the name of J.E. Simms came to Scranton. He had a small tent and started to hold meetings. The revival continued for some weeks before the tent came down and the meetings moved to a building on Main Street for the rest of summer and following winter. During the summer on 1915 the north wing of the first frame school was purchased and moved to the present location one block east of Main Street and south of U.S. 56. This was the Pentecostal Church but in later years changed to Assembly of God. Two additions have been made to the original building, an educational section on the south and one on the front. The church had about 20 families some coming from nearby towns. This concludes the history of Scranton’s five churches.
The first newspaper, The Plebean, has been referred to, but little is known about it. In 1883 to 1888 the Scranton paper was called the Kansas Workman. It was followed by the Osage Times in 1888 to 1891. The first issue of the Scranton Gazette came out on May 2, 1890. There were many editors and many changes in the paper until January 4, 1917. In 1918 the business was built up and it was no longer possible to do all the work by hand, so a linotype was installed. In 1922 the Carbondale Record was established and printed in the Gazette office. A new building for the business was built in 1930. In 1938 the two papers combined and changed the name to the Gazette-Record. Printing was still done in Scranton. In 1940 the paper was purchased by George and Harriette Lerrigo and the plant and office was moved to Overbrook. Kate Barlow remained as editor of Scranton news until 1958. In the 50’s news from Scranton became scarce, and the paper shrank in size. In 1941, Mrs. Clara Payton had bought the paper along with the Overbrook Citizen, but much of the actual work was done by her son, Dwight Payton, who later bought his mother out. In August, 1959, the two papers were combined and called the Citizen. Scranton news is confined to one page in this weekly. The Burlingame Enterprise-Chronicle started serving the Scranton area, and it did not confine Scranton news to one page. Scranton receives equal coverage in both of these weekly newspapers.
Scranton’s experiences with banks have been very disastrous. The Scranton State Bank was established in 1902 by W. F. Bolton with his brother Charles Bolton serving as cashier. In 1906 the father of the two Ben Bolton, bought the bank with Charles remaining cashier. Ben Bolton died December 4, 1921, and Charles was sole member of the family in charge. The town was stunned when on Friday morning in July, 1925, a state bank examiner showed up and Mr. Bolton went behind a building near the bank and shot himself. Many people were short funds, and the whole community suffered. The Kansas City Star reported the loss to be close to $200,000. For over twenty years the Bolton’s had been financial advisors to everyone. A year later the bank re-opened called Security State Bank with a Mr. Davork in charge. It served in Scranton for ten years, but in 1936 a state bank examiner also found that it was short of funds, and it was closed. Since that time no one has been inclined to support the establishment of a local bank and Scranton citizens travel to Overbrook, Burlingame or Topeka with their banking problems.
The Scranton community has had many lodges in its early years with chapters of Mason, Old Fellows, and Knights of Pythias all present. Over the years they have gradually lost members and buildings until none remain.
Alex Thomas had established a post office, in 1901 the first rural route was established.
Mr. Bunten told of early times and one providing one’s own lighting. The city later had a carbide lighting system. In 1918 transmission lines were built from Burlingame, which had its own power plant. These lines were five and on-half mile long and cost Scranton $16,000. The electricity used was bought from Burlingame. Later Burlingame bought the lines and Scranton owned only the electric lines within its city limits. Increased usage caused Scranton to end this agreement, and to purchase power from Kansas Power and Light Co. Agreement was first used in 1962. The city owned water system was first used in 1961, and plans are under way for more city utilities as was mentioned earlier. The growth of Scranton in the future could well be influenced by these services.
Bob Roter of the Topeka State Journal staff said in an article on Scranton in 1954. “When a town booms, it almost invariably booms big. When the bust comes the tumble is to almost nothing.” In the 1870’s and 1880’s coal was the spark that caused the boom of Scranton to a thriving town of near 2,000. The tumble started in early 1900’s and continued down to a quiet farming town of 500 to 600. Indications are that the tumble is about to cease. Only the future can show if another boom will materialize or if the gentle tumble will roll along as the years go by.
The history information was taken directly out of the 1972 Scranton Centennial book. Which was written by Richard A. Burk.
In the thirty-six years since this information was written the city has obviously continued to exist. According to the latest census the population is 722. The city still provides electric, water, and sewer services. The school and three of the churches mentioned are still here. There are numerous businesses including a bank!