County text and building entries by Lawrence M. Newman And Robert Janosov
Luzerne County, the oldest of northeastern Pennsylvania counties with the richest architectural heritage, was carved out of Northumberland County in 1786 and named in honor of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, the French minister to the United States at the end of the Revolutionary War. Originally much larger, the county included Susquehanna (1810), Wyoming (1842), and Lackawanna (1878) counties and a part of Bradford County (1810). Today it is bisected by the North Branch Susquehanna River, along which its principal communities are laid out, including Wilkes-Barre, the county seat, and the other early New England settlements of Forty Fort, Kingston, and Pittston. These towns, originating before the rise of the coal industry, are notable for their generous spatial order in contrast to the new industrial settlements of Lackawanna County. An exception is the mining city of Hazleton, at the southern edge of Luzerne County.
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