Rediscovering Scranton, Rediscovering America

Albert Einstein once said that “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are beginning to look at familiar places and experiences in a fresh way. Zoom has revolutionized how we connect with people, and “staycations” are becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

My COVID-19 experience hasn’t been much different from that of my friends and family– I’ve had to adapt to being home more and presenting online versus in person.

During a presentation for a wonderful group of Italian American students at The University of Scranton last fall, I created a walkable “Italian American” tour of Downtown Scranton that they could complete in one day or in phases. The presentation received excellent feedback and it got me wondering, “Would other people be interested in an Italian American map of Scranton?”

When you’re from a city, you often take familiar sites for granted. How many times have I passed Courthouse Square and ignored our Columbus Statue, which is historically significant on a national level? Even as a student at The University of Scranton, I often rushed past the Dante statue on my way to class without even so much as a glance.

Putting together this map and designing it has given me the chance to celebrate my city and its contribution to the national Italian American story. I hope it can be used as a teaching tool regarding the contributions of Italian Americans to the landscape of the City of Scranton. Our area’s Italian American history is vitally important to me on a personal and a professional level, and I am dedicated to preserving, sharing, and celebrating it wherever I can.

Scranton has an incredible history to share and celebrate– while I focus exclusively on Italian American history, I hope this inspires other people to develop their own maps of other hidden historic sites in our city because talking about history preserves it for generations to come!

If you would like a hi-res digital version or a printed copy of this map, please reach out to me via the contact form on www.stephanielongo.net.

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