Wilkes-Barre, at one time this was one of the richest and most respected communities in America. Evidence of this long forgotten time still exist throughout the city. All one really needs to do is walk the beautiful river commons in the city to witness the cities rich history.
Unfortunately those days are long gone and the majority of Wilkes-Barre’s population is living below the poverty line. With the exception of very few neighborhoods crime and decay are festering throughout the city. The heroin epidemic in Wilkes-Barre has reached such staggering proportions that it has become easier for the city to pretend it doesn’t exist, rather than dealing with the problem. Evidence of this epidemic lies strewn throughout the streets and parks of Wilkes-Barre as seen in the photograph above. Empty heroin bags, needles and beer cans are a common sight in this city.
Looking past the drugs, the decay and the homelessness there is real beauty here. The Market Street Bridge for example is a monument of monuments. The bridge is like one gigantic sculpture, a work of art that will probably be the only thing left standing if we continue going in the direction that we have been. This massive structure was designed by famed architect Carrere & Hastings and was erected by bridge builder Walter S Ray. It took 3 years to complete and was completed in 1929. Today the famous Market Street Bridge is just as grand and majestic as it was almost 90 years ago today.
The Market Street Bridge is crested on both ends by city parks. On the east side are The River Commons which have recently been completely revitalized. While on the west end of the bridge are Kirby and River Side Parks. All three are so steeped in history it almost boggles the mind. This land bear witness to some of the most historically significant events in American history! That is no exaggeration either! A great set of books worth reading if you would like to learn more about the history here are “The History Of Wilkes-Barre” books by Oscar Jewel Harvey. There are a few other books as worth reading as well, though this is definitely the most accurate and definitive first hand account to the history of this place.
The river itself, although still polluted with raw sewage, just above these parks is place that offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the northeast. As well as great walleye, musky and catfish fishing. If fishing isn’t your thing drop your kyak into the river at the Riverside Park boat launch, or walk the miles of walking paths that run along the river on the west side. Just beware that Riverside Park has been dubbed “pickle park” by locals for a reason. It is Wilkes-Barre’s gay red light district. Although the community, not the police have taken the park back. I would still be very cautious while visiting, or walking any trails here. In fact I wouldn’t think about walking these trails without a gun, mace, or some other form of self-protection.
Until next time people. Peace out!