Introduction to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Wilkes-Barre is situated in Wyoming Valley in Luzerne County. It's located in Northeastern Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains and the Endless Mountains. The Susquehanna River runs through the valley. Planters Peanuts was founded in the city.


The original inhabitants were the Shawwanese and Delaware Indians. In 1769 John Durkee and his party were the first settlers to arrive. The town was named in tribute to John Wilkes and Isaac Barre, who were members of the British Parliament and offered support to colonial America. The original settlers were loyal to the state of Connecticut during a land dispute with the officials of Pennsylvania. The Pennamite Wars involved citizens of Pennsylvania attempting to force out the citizens of Wilkes-Barre. After the American Revolution ended it was decided that the settlers could retain ownership of their acreage by giving their allegiance to the state of Pennsylvania.

Hundreds of thousands of people arrived looking for work in mines after anthracite coal was discovered in the 1800's. Wilkes-Barre became known as the Diamond City. However the vast majority of the coal companies left after World War II was over.


  • The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion
  • Luzerne County Museum
  • Wyoming Monument
  • The Lion Brewery features rustic architecture and provides tours
  • Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre is one of the oldest community theaters in the country
  • Nathan Denison House includes furniture and architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza
  • Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University offers exhibits of regional, national as well as international artists
  • F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
  • Luzerne County Courthouse is an impressive structure and offers an illustrated history of the county with mosaics and murals

Higher Education

Wilkes University, King's College, Misericordia University, Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County Community College are nearby.


The city is served by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Bus services are provided by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority.

Entertainment and Activities

The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs offers casino gambling and features a harness racing track. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees baseball team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey team and the Wilkes-Barre /Scranton Pioneers arena football team are popular with the residents. The Pocono International Raceway is nearby. The Kirby Center for the Performing Arts is a popular venue. Residents and visitors enjoy music performed by the Wyoming Valley Band, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Choral Society.

For nightlife, the Cafe Metropolis offers noteworthy music concerts. The Penn State Wilkes-Barre Arts at Hayfield, Fine Arts Fiesta and the Hayfield Poetry Festival are popular events. Skiing and snow boarding opportunities are available at Montage Mountain. Golfing enthusiasts enjoy the beautiful Wilkes-Barre Golf Club. The Susquehanna River Watch Rails with Trails is a notable location for bicycle riding, horseback riding, walking and other activities.


Total Population
Male Share of the Population
Female Share of the Population
Senior Citizens
Employed Population 16+
Age of the Population


% of people married
Average household size

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher
Median Earnings25+
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification
Median Earnings With High School Degree


Median Family Income
% Above Poverty Level
% Below Poverty Level

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time
% Working from Home
% Walking and Biking to Work
% Using Public Transportation


People Living Alone
Median Gross Rent
Median House Value


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American)

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Wilkes Barre Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 15 miles SW of Scranton, Pennsylvania (center to center)
Nearest Large City 95 miles W of Newark, New Jersey
County Luzerne
Metro Area Scranton - - Wilkes - Barre - - Hazleton
Standard Zip Codes 18701, 18702, 18704, 18705, 18706, 18707, 18708, 18709, 18711, 18764, 18765, 18766
P.O. Box Zip Codes 18703, 18710, 18773
Company Zip Codes 18762, 18767, 18769
Phone Area Codes 570
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.24
Longitude -75.87

Wilkes Barre Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 9.6 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 34 F
Apr Temp 38 to 59 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 61 F
Annual Precip 37.5 inches
Distance 33.2 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 38 F
Apr Temp 38 to 62 F
Jul Temp 62 to 87 F
Oct Temp 41 to 66 F
Annual Precip 43.9 inches
Distance 33.5 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 34 F
Apr Temp 35 to 59 F
Jul Temp 58 to 83 F
Oct Temp 37 to 63 F
Annual Precip 49.7 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Ashley 2,753 $52,778
Forty Fort 4,170 $77,750
Kingston 13,074 $65,753
Larksville 4,453 $57,260
Laurel Run 517 $52,500

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Wilkes Barre Public Libraries

Osterhout Free Library
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
(570) 823-0156
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Wilkes Barre Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(570) 826-7300
Emergency Service: No

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(570) 826-3100
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(570) 283-7010
Emergency Service: No

Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center
1111 East End Blvd.
(570) 824-3521/(877)928-2621
Emergency Service:

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Wilkes Barre High Schools

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 855 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.4

Additional Details
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