Something new along the Carbondale Riverwalk evokes memories of the city’s old days. A giant mural now greets walkers and bikers at the John Street Trailhead along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Carbondale. The public art project is part of an initiative by Valley in Motion, a local non-profit that aims to strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for people in the Lackawanna Valley. It’s also a tribute to the city’s rich anthracite mining and railroading history.
A Brush with the Past
The mural was painted on a relic from Carbondale’s industrial past. The massive stone abutment was part of a bridge used by the New York, Ontario and Western Railroad to pass over downtown Carbondale. It took four artists from Northeast Art Project to complete the large undertaking. Organizers sought community input on the image. The final result is a two-sided mural that features an American 4-4-0 steam engine, which would have been a common sight in the city in the 1870s. The second part of the installation depicts a coal miner and is inscribed with Carbondale’s nickname, “The Pioneer City.” The moniker is in reference to Carbondale’s distinction as the first city incorporated in Lackawanna County, circa 1851. Funding for the $17,000 project came from a variety of state and county grants.
Connect with History
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is a 70-mile trail system that connects more than 30 communities in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne and Luzerne Counites. The mural marks the starting point of the Carbondale Riverwalk portion of the trail. A 3.5-mile loop takes visitors to the neighboring town of Simpson and connects with the D & H Rail-Trail to the north. Walking, jogging and biking are permitted on the recreational trail. The trailhead is also located adjacent to the new Carbondale YMCA Park and very near the site of the Gravity Railroad, which famously transported anthracite coal from Carbondale to Honesdale.
Create a Movement
Carbondale’s mural is part of a larger program to boost tourism and stimulate the local economy with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program serving as inspiration. Bold and bright, the Carbondale Trailhead Mural will undoubtedly be a popular spot for selfies and a can’t miss destination in downtown Carbondale.
Rooted in Heritage
When you stay at Hotel Anthracite, you’re just steps away from the Riverwalk. Take some time to explore the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Carbondale while you’re in the area. It offers a wealth of information on the region’s past and its natural resources. Go by foot, or grab one of the bikes available for guest use. Hotel Anthracite is a partner in Bike Lackawanna, a free bike share program with locations throughout the Lackawanna County. The John Street Trailhead mural is just two blocks from Hotel Anthracite. Request a free Destination Guide that details all the points of interest and must-see places on your visit to the Carbondale area.