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History of Scranton Pennsylvania Walking Tour
Item 10 of 15
The Lackawanna County Courthouse is significant for its beautiful Romanesque Revival style and its association with the 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, the first session of which was held here. The commission was the federal government's first attempt at intervening in a labor dispute, which in this case was the "Great Strike of 1902." Miners belonging to the United Mine Workers of America in the anthracite coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania decided to go on strike to call for shorter work days, higher wages, and official acknowledgment of the union. The strike compelled President Theodore Roosevelt to establish the commission, which acted as a neutral arbiter; its creation was unprecedented in American history up to that point. The event was also significant as it brought to the national forefront the union's young but capable leader, John Mitchell, whose legacy is commemorated by a monument that stands outside on the courthouse grounds.

  • The Lackawanna County Courthouse was built in 1884 and is famous for the site of the first session of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, which was the federal's government's first attempt at solving a labor dispute.
During the strike, around 100,000 miners participated. Given this high number, the strike had tremendous impact. It lasted for 163 days (from May to October). Tragically, a number of strikers lost their lives.

In the end, both sides agreed to compromise. The miners wanted a 20% wage increase, an eight-hour workday, and as stated above, official recognition of the union. Instead, they received a 10% wage increase, a nine-hour workday, and were allowed to have three representatives on a six-man arbitration board of representatives (the other three were management representatives).  
Grossman, Jonathan. "The Coal Strike of 1902: Turning Point in U.S. Policy." U.S. Department of Labor. Accessed October 10, 2018.

"History of Lackawanna County." Accessed October 10, 2018.

Nabors, Susan C. "Lackawanna County Courthouse, and John Mitchell Monument." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. November 5, 1997.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons