- The first aspirin in the U.S. was developed by a scientific team including Edward
J. Pugh of Exeter, PA.
- The legend of Frances Slocum is famous in the area. Frances was a young child
taken from her Wilkes-Barre family in 1778 by Native Americans. Slocum grew old with her captors
and had several Native American husbands.
- Amadeo Obici started a fruit and peanut stand in 1906, at 15 E. Market Street in
Wilkes-Barre, which grew to become Planters Peanuts--the largest peanut manufacturer in the
world. Now under the banner for Nabisco, the company still has a large presence in the Greater
Wilkes-Barre area. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber is home
to one of the original cast iron "Mr. Peanut" statues, formerly outside the Planters
- Greater Wilkes-Barre is the birthplace of HBO and the place where anthracite coal was first
- Wilkes-Barre is the home of the first F.M. Kirby Five & Dime Store.
- Pete Grey, a Nanticoke native, played major league baseball, collecting 51 hits for the
1945 St. Louis
Browns-although he had only one arm.
- Scranton, Pa. native Ned Washington wrote songs for more than 100 motion
pictures for studios including Disney, Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount.
By the time his 40-plus-year career had ended, he had won two Academy
Awards for best song - including one for the lyrics to "When You Wish
Upon a Star" from "Pinocchio" - and was nominated on 9 other occasions.
- John Novak of Wilkes-Barre broke Houdini's three-second record for breaking out of a straitjacket while
hanging by his heels from a hotel room. Novak did it in 2.6 seconds in 1966.
- Harry "The Human Fly" Gardner, the first man to scale New York's Flatiron Building, also climbed the
Wilkes-Barre Courthouse from the ground to the flagpole in 1921.
- John P. Black, born in Inkerman, moved to the Wild West in 1870 to work in his brother's saloon. His
adventures included lodging in the same inn as Billy the Kid on the night of the criminal's murder.
- Before the Civil War, William C. Gildersleeve's store in Wilkes-Barre was a station on the Underground
- Louis Philippe (King of France from 1830-40) stayed at the Arndt Tavern in Wilkes-Barre for several days
in 1797 on his way to Easton from Asylum in Bradford County.
- Volney B. Palmer, born in Wilkes-Barre in 1799, founded the first national advertising agency.
- John Mahlia of Browntown, Pittston Township, fired the first shot fired by an American in the Spanish
American War on April 22, 1898.
- Harold W. Evans, a Wilkes-Barre native, designed the first armored car/tank for the army.
- Ham Fisher, of Wilkes-Barre, created the popular "Joe Palooka" comic strip. The gentleman he based the
Little Max character on is now a prominent businessman in Wilkes-Barre.
- Walt Michaels, former Swoyersville resident, coached the New York Jets for six years.
- Queen Esther (Montour), a half French, half Native American ruler of the Delawares, tomahawked 16
in Wyoming on July 3, 1778. Queen Esther's rock, site of the massacre, can still be seen near the Susquehanna
- Mendy Rudolph, a Wilkes-Barre native, refereed for the NBA for 23 years.
- Lois Teicher, of Ferrante and Teicher piano duet fame, was born in Wilkes-Barre in 1924.
- Dr. Walter Tewksbury, a native of Ashley, PA, won two gold and two silver track medals at the 1900 Paris
- Famous artist/painter George Catlin was born in Wilkes-Barre in 1796. In his lifetime, Catlin painted
than 600 portraits of Native Americans and filled vast notebooks with written descriptions of the people. He
used his painting to combined history, art and anthropology.
- Area priest, Rev. Joseph Murgas, was reported to be the first to invent radio, with a discovery date that
- C. Edgar Patience, an area native, was an internationally known artist, famous for carving coal. His work
was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This African-American artist also built a Coal
Altar for King's College in Wilkes-Barre.
- The beehive designed on the Wilkes-Barre
City seal is intended to symbolize the industriousness of the
and its inhabitants. Years ago, Wilkes-Barre was said to have been "as busy as a beehive." The beehive is
surrounded by a swarm of bees, with each bee representing one of the city's wards.
- Wilkes-Barre is nicknamed the "Diamond City." Originally, the beehive and bees on the city's
seal were contained within a diamond, which symbolized the "Black Diamonds" of anthracite coal, once mined in
the region, as well as the diamond-shaped town square which sits at the center of the city.
Later, the seal
was redesigned into a circular shape and remains so today.