Wilkesbarre, a city and the county seat of Luzerne co., Pennsylvania, on the E. bank of the North branch of the Susquehanna river, here crossed by a handsome bridge, about 100 m. N. by W. of Philadelphia; pop. within the present limits in 1870, 17,264. It is situated about midway of the Wyoming valley, is handsomely built, and is surrounded by fine scenery, which renders it a popular summer resort. It has street railroads, is lighted with gas, and is supplied with water from adjacent streams. The North Branch division of the Pennsylvania canal passes through the city, which communicates with New York, Philadelphia, and the west by the Lehigh and Susquehanna, the Lehigh Valley, and the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg (on the opposite bank of the river) railroads. It owes its prosperity to the immense deposits of anthracite in the vicinity. There are manufactories of cars, locomotives, mining engines and machinery, foundery products, carriages, chairs, miners' tools, organs, ale and beer, galvanized iron cornices, wire and hemp rope, pottery, railroad tools, etc. The city contains four national banks, with an aggregate capital of $1,200,000, and three savings banks with $850,000 capital. The principal charitable institutions are the city hospital and the home for friendless children.
There are three graded public schools, a female seminary, a colored school, a high school, several select schools, and one daily and four weekly (two German) newspapers. The Wyoming historical and genealogical society has a collection of antiquities and geological specimens, and the Wyoming Athenaeum a library of 1,500 volumes. There are 23 churches, viz.: 2 Baptist, 1 Congregational, 4 Episcopal, 1 Jewish, 2 Lutheran, 5 Methodist, 6 Presbyterian, and 2 Roman Catholic. - Wilkesbarre is a combination of the names of John Wilkes and Col. Isaac Barré, defenders of colonial rights in the British parliament. It was founded in 1772, and incorporated as a borough in 1806. The population of the borough in 1870 was 10,174, but in 1871 it received a city charter, and Wilkesbarre township (pop. 7,090) was annexed.