Luzerne County was established September 25, 1786 and named for Chevalier De la Luzerne who serves as the second French minister to the United States from 1779-1784. In 1780 he guaranteed a personal loan, much needed to furnish food for the troops of the fledgling army of the new republic. The county was carved out of part of Northumberland County.The early history of Luzerne county (18th century) is steeped in wars and battles involving Yankees, Tories, British, Native Americans, and Conneticut (Conneticut and Pennsylvania had claims to the area resulting in what was known as the Pennamite Wars.)
After the discovery of Anthracite coal in the county the news reports shift to mine cave-ins, mine fires, mine accidents and miners strikes. One strike ended in the murder of the strikers known as the Lattimer Massacre on September 10, 1897. The miners were killed by a posse formed by Sheriff James Martin. The county is infamous for being the last county whose sheriff legally formed a posse to restore order in a time of civil unrest. The mining industry declined drasticly in 1959 when the Susquehanna River flooded mines in Pittston killing 12 miners in an accident known as the Knox Mine Disaster.
The 20th Century in Wilkes-Barre, named for John Wilkes and Isaac Barre two British members of Parliament who supported colonial America, is marked by repeated flooding with the most destruction occuring in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes smashed into Luzerne County. Most recently Wilkes-Barre hit national news with the Kids for Cash Scandal.
My interest in traveling to Luzerne County and the county seat of Wilkes-Barre of course, was in quest of a hot dog. My search took me to Abe’s; The One and Only hot dog shop on South Main Street. Abe’s is a neighborhood fixture that was established 85 years ago by the current owner’s grandfather.
The place is small, like most great hot dog shoppes with six booths along one wall and a counter against the other wall of the narrow space. There is a kitchen behind the eating area where Clam Chowder is made but the hot dogs are grilled in the front window. Six team members were kept busy serving the continuous flow of take-out orders and the folks eating in. Abe’s grandson “doesn’t want to be on social media”.
So, there are no pictures or names of the folks working here. Abe’s grandson did assure me that I was eating the hot dogs the right way (that means with everything on them). Birch Beer was on the menu which is always a plus for me!
I ate two hot dogs to complete the first half of another Double (Hot) Dog Dare day on my Quest.
On my way out of town I took pictures of Wilkes University which sprawls along South Main Street just a few blocks from Abe’s and King’s College which spans several blocks of north Main Street.
Capturing the photo of the Courthouse was a unique experience. Driving along North River Street I saw what looked like a one lane drive to the Courthouse steps. I turned left and drove on to what was actually a sidewalk. Duh! I blame all the snow for the confusion. I took the picture and managed to back out on to the four lane street and make my getaway with only one or two folks expressing their displeasure at my driving! I’m glad it was a Saturday with minimal traffic!
See you next time.