Legacy: The Story of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley

LEGACY:  The Story of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority


A 60-minute visual exploration of the culture, charm and character that make the Lackawanna Valley a national treasure.  Produced by WVIA, with the cooperation of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley, this documentary examines the role northeastern Pennsylvania has played in this country’s history…from politics to polka. 


The history of the Lackawanna Valley is both tragic and triumphant.  From the time of the coal barons, northeastern Pennsylvania has played an important role in shaping the destiny of America as it rose to worldwide dominance and industrial pre-eminence.  Immigrants from all over Europe traveled to the region with a promise of a better life and employment in the mines.  Men were made millionaires but not without a cost to lives of those who toiled underground for every dollar.  As immigrants and moguls settled into an uneasy détente, they redefined the labor landscape for the country, playing a pivotal role in shaping both labor unions and policy for the newly industrialized nation.  But more importantly to the Lackawanna Valley, they began the slow integration of old world culture and new world values that defined generations of northeastern Pennsylvanians.

While cheaper fuel and other energy imports forced to the mines to shutter, devastating thousands of employees, the passion and pride found in Scranton has carried residents and descendents to bigger and brighter futures, both in the area and out.  Home to Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Lackawanna Valley is no stranger to success stories.   

As the residents of the Lackawanna Valley continue to redefine themselves, their commitment to bettering the lives of those who call the region home has never waivered.  And with history on their side, the future of northeastern Pennsylvania promises to be bright.



Through first person accounts, high definition video, historical photos and stock footage of some of the earliest know films of this area, this documentary tells the stories of this region in three acts.


Intro:  Meet the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority (7:00)

The Beginning

Who they are, why they’re here and why they’re the guardians of the Lackawanna Valley heritage and history.  The very first board members of the LHVA tell the story of the origination of LHVA and tease the viewer into the next three acts as they share just what it is about the Lackawanna Heritage Valley that is so important to preserve...the PEOPLE, INDUSTRY AND LAND.


Act I:  THE INDUSTRY (14:00)

“The Growth Explosion”

While most areas of this country evolved over time, Scranton and the surrounding cities were created in a growth explosion.  Told in interview by historians who know this region so well, the industrialization of this nation meant a boom in the fuel-rich Lackawanna Valley. The relative area of this region may be small, but it served as an intense microcosm of the greater picture of Industrial America.  As this country entered the 20th century, over 1000 industries and a massive infrastructure were created, virtually overnight, in this area.  But have these industries survived?  What is the Lackawanna Valley doing now to reinvent itself and reclaim its former glory?  Meet the community activists, politicians and local celebrities who keep Scranton in the limelight while trying to reestablish and redefine its national relevance.  And learn what the LHVA is doing to remember our industrial past while moving forward in today’s world.



Act II:  THE PEOPLE (14:00)

“The Lackawanna Valley isn’t a melting pot.  It’s a patchwork quilt.” 

With growth came the coal giants who owned the towns and the immigrants who made the towns work.   But the assimilation by the immigrants never happened in the Lackawanna Valley.  Instead, a beautiful patchwork quilt of culture was created as people from all over the globe came to Scranton, never losing their identity.  We meet the families who, for generations have called this area home…from Polka kings to trolley conductors, newspaper dynasties to the mine families who tunneled the Lackawanna Valley into greatness.  We’ll visit the parades and festivals throughout the region that celebrate the rich ethnic diversity that has made Scranton such a center of heritage.  The LHVA shares with the viewers the programs they’ve created to make sure this cultural richness is never forgotten.


Act III:  THE LAND (14:00)

“Land really is the best art”

The people, the industry, nothing would be here if it weren’t for the land.  The rich soil, blessed with natural resources like coal and gas, has been the reason for everything, good and bad, that has happened in the Lackawanna Valley.  It’s been exploited in the Industrial Age, developed by the baby boomers and rejuvenated in our new “green” society.  We’ll take a trip along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail with the fishermen and joggers who know it best, travel down into the coal mines with former mine workers and tour some of the historic homes and locations throughout the region that have given Scranton a place in history.  The documentary discusses how the land shaped the region and how development shaped the land.

Discover the ways the area is changing, giving back to the land that gave so much to the region through conservation and education about new life along the Lackawanna River.  The future is explored through interviews with those who are working hard from within to bring the region back to national prominence.  See the plans to make northeastern Pennsylvania great.


Conclusion:  The Lackawanna Heritage Valley (7:00)

A National Treasure

This documentary not only tells the story of this area but also how the Lackawanna Heritage Valley is striving to preserve, conserve and educate the public about northeastern Pennsylvania’s rich cultural, historic and natural resources.  Hear from the people who are carrying on the grand tradition of keeping Scranton great and sharing her stories.  Where would we be without the LHVA, these gatekeepers of history and heritage, fighting for our resources?  That is the final question left for our viewers to ponder. 

Watch the Trailer