The future site of Carbondale was purchased by Philadelphia entrepreneurs William and Maurice Wurts in 1812 and became a borough in 1831, but the real force that created it was the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company that used the town as a terminus for its coal shipping business. The first coal was shipped from Carbondale to New York City in 1829, via a gravity railroad that traversed the mountains to Honesdale where it was loaded onto canal boats. By 1850, Carbondale was twice the size of Wilkes-Barre, and boosters optimistically envisioned it as “the grand emporium of Northeastern Pennsylvania.” But Carbondale was a company town, and it rose and fell as the company did. The community is centered on a fine Memorial Park—a rare amenity for an anthracite town.
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