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Scranton, the Electric City Sign

Scranton, the Electric City Sign

The iconic Electric City sign that looms over downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania is one of America’s oldest electric signs still in existence today.

The Electric City sign was built to commemorate Scranton’s status as being one of the first cities in the United States to become electrified. It was one of the first cities to have a business lit by electrical light in 1880, and the first city in the nation to have an electrical-powered streetcar in 1886.

The new sign featured 1,200 40-watt filament incandescent bulbs that featured circles of red and green, a flame of red and amber, and letters, rays, and sconces of white.

The sign was later turned off in the mid-20th century and sat dormant for several decades. It received a reprieve on life in 2004 when the original 40-watt filament incandescent bulbs were replaced with all-white 11-watt bulbs. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the new bulbs burned out prematurely within a decade.

The sign underwent a second renovation in August 2014 that saw the installation of new one-watt LED bulbs that followed a color scheme used in the 1930s. Fundraising for the effort was organized mainly by La Fiesta Italiana, an Italian-American cultural organization.

The Electric City sign is located at the corner of Linden Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Scranton.

From Interstate 81, take the Central Scranton Expressway west into the city. Use the right lane to turn right onto US 11 north, and then use the 2nd from the right lane to turn onto Jefferson Avenue. Turn left onto Mulberry Street and then left onto North Washington Avenue. The sign will be on the left at the corner of Linden Street.

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