The Pittston area celebrated its heritage in 2017 by restoring statues, dedicating new ones and marking milestones.
The year began with preparation for Pittston’s turn in the spotlight for WVIA’s Our Town series.
The special premiered in February and featured testimonials from local historians, community leaders and longtime residents, many of whom attended the premiere reception at the WVIA studio.
The architecture and progress of Pittston featured prominently in the documentary, and in 2017, two major efforts were underway to bring monuments to the city.
One effort sought to restore the Christopher Columbus statue, which had fallen from its place on South Main Street during a car accident at the end of 2016.
After months of absence, the city replaced the statue just before the annual Tomato Festival and rededicated the restored the monument just before Columbus Day.
The restoration cost about $68,000 and the statue found a new home on a fresh foundation several feet from its original plot at the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and Main Street.
The city also welcomed a new monument to President John F. Kennedy, which dedicated on July 9 after the Knights of Columbus, JFK Council, the Jacquelines and the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick raised tens of thousands of dollars to commission, light and maintain the statue.
The life-sized, bronze, 485-pound statue created by artist D.J. Pawden of Provo, Utah, was unveiled at its permanent site on the corner of the YMCA parking lot facing Kennedy Boulevard and the Water Street Bridge.
A city church, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Wood Street, marked a milestone this year as it celebrated its 160th anniversary in November. The church was founded in 1857 and the mostly German immigrants celebrated their services in that language until 1895.
Dupont Borough marked a milestone of its own with the celebration of the town’s centennial. Months of work and preparation culminated in a weekend-long festival in the borough at the end of August.
The celebration featured a parade, vendors, games and performances from local musicians to mark the town’s 100-year milestone. Several celebratory events were held throughout the year.
In neighboring Avoca, the year began with the official dedication of its new municipal building, just a few blocks north on Main Street from its original location. The new offices, built on the site of the former SS. Peter and Paul Church, allow for more room for offices and the police department and is handicap accessible. The new municipal building retained some items from the demolished church, including woodwork and a podium.