On our last morning in Scranton I was ready to really use that Google Map I had created for the trip. On the map I included every address from my ancestors that I could find. Usually you can find addresses in cities for census records from 1900 and later. I was also able to find a lot of addresses in the city directories.
Andrew played navigator as I drove (have I mentioned that Andrew is a saint?) and he would use the map to lead me from one house to the next. I would attempt to park at each house and one of us would snap a picture (and imagine life in 1900) and then I would enter into my phone the address.
I decided at one house to start entering the houses in advance and this proved to be a mistake, mostly because it seems someone is trying to erase any history of my family in Scranton. We drove down an amazing street in the Dunmore area of Scranton with beautiful houses. I thought, “Yes! My family was rich! And somehow I am entitled to this house!” So as we moved slowly down the street and read the addresses I realized there was one missing. And there was an empty lot. Crap. Well, let’s move on.
We drove to a neighborhood a little less nice, but still some cute houses. We drove down the street, Andrew announced the address, and I drove past another….you guessed it, empty lot. There was a house on either side! In fact, it was the ONLY empty lot on the street. This literally happened 5 times. Almost the same situation every time! Both houses on either side were there….and then there was an empty lot. The one that was NOT like this situation was the street that was completely removed and taken over by a warehouse.
By the fifth house, obscenities were coming from both Andrew and I. And then Andrew said, “Someone is trying to erase your family.” Oh haha….
And then I thought about it…
- The gravestones covered in mud at Forest Hills Cemetery
- Emmaretta Lacey’s missing headstone
- 5 houses completely gone. Bulldozed. Surrounded on all sides by survivors.
- An odd missing page from the Scranton newspaper where Andrew was trying to find my grandfather’s obituary. It was literally the ONLY page missing.
I did find a few houses though. Here is what I found:
Home of Charles W. Kinsley Jr. and Sr. in 1930s and 1940s
Home of Charles W. Kinsley Sr. in 1918
Marion Lacey’s Childhood Home in 1900
Newlywed home of my grandparents, Charles and Lois (Smith) Kinsley
Despite seeing a lot of empty lots, we were able to find a lot of other homes that made it worth the trip. I love seeing the old and the new photos together. Now I’m gonna have to rummage through some more pictures to see what I can find that I might have missed previous to this trip.
I think a summer trip to Scranton might be in order. Right? Yes…I think so.
Great article! Inspiring. I need to follow your lead. Thanks for sharing these interesting stories and photos.