Archive for August 2015

America’s Best Communities Update: The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion

Located on Franklin Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre, the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion is a gorgeous model of High Victorian architecture in the River Street Historic District.

A focal point of historical rehabilitation, the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion was restored to its former glory by current owner Joseph Matteo.

The building was the former home of the Stegmaier family, who are still recognized worldwide for their “Gold Medal” beer.

Their legacy is carried on in our area through continued production of their famous brews.  The mansion remained in the Stegmaier family for over 35 years, until it was purchased by Joseph Matteo.

In addition to Charles Stegmaier, the mansion has had only three other owners. It was originally constructed in approximately 1870 by local architect Missouria B. Houpt. He stayed in the building for 29 years, when it was purchased and maintained by Abram Nesbitt until 1906.

The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion now functions as an historic house museum, banquet facility, and grand bed and breakfast. It is host to weddings, private dinner parties, overnight stays, and historical tours.

The first floor of the mansion contains the entry foyer, ladies’ parlor, gentleman’s parlor, library, dining room, and kitchen. The second floor contains the mansion’s overnight rooms and suites, including Amelia’s Suite, the Gold Medal Room, the 1857 Lager Room, and the Brewmaster’s Suite.

Art and Entertainment in Wilkes-Barre: America’s Best Community

Arts, culture, dining, and entertainment are a huge part of Greater Wilkes-Barre. In Public Square alone, there are over 40 diverse restaurants within walking distance-including Asian, French, Indian, Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisine. Our area is also home to many great entertainment establishments like the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, the Wyoming Valley Art League, and the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, to name a few.

Watch below to learn about the these establishments’  history and current projects, and see the wide array of dining options available downtown!

Thanks to the support of Frontier Communications and our local sponsor Scripps Network Interactive, the City of Wilkes-Barre was recently named a Quarterfinalist in Frontier Communications’ competition designed to identify America’s Best Community.

America’s Best Communities Update: Arts Entertainment

“I really believe this area has something to offer for everyone, and I would like to think the Kirby Center is one of those options. Our mainstream programming has grown in recent years to the point where people no longer have to drive to New York or Philadelphia to see some of the big name acts, because the Kirby Center is now bringing those acts to Wilkes-Barre.”-Will Beekman, Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

Watch below as Will Beekman discusses the F.M. Kirby Center’s focus on arts and entertainment, and how this contributes to Wilkes-Barre being America’s Best Community.

Check back NEXT Friday for our upcoming full length video on how Greater Wilkes-Barre is becoming a regional center for arts, culture, dining, and entertainment.

Thanks to the support of Frontier Communications and our local sponsor Scripps Network Interactive, the City of Wilkes-Barre was recently named a Quarterfinalist in Frontier Communications’ competition designed to identify America’s Best Community.

Making Progress in Downtown Wilkes-Barre: One of America’s Best Communities

Downtown Wilkes-Barre is on its way to becoming one of America’s Best Communities! Our road map is a new Downtown Action Plan, developed with extensive collaboration and community participation.

This post highlights one of our Plan’s six goals: to “position Downtown Wilkes-Barre as the region’s Innovation District.” We already have a small existing cluster of startup and technology firms – but we know that, by building on those assets and connecting the dots, we can accomplish much more for our community.

So, we’ve moved aggressively to advance our “Innovation District” goal during the past few months, facilitating business expansion, new startups, and collaboration with local colleges and universities.

It began in March, when Wilkes University opened the Wilkes Enterprise Center in a downtown building. The WEC now houses 9 separate startup ventures – a mix of student-run firms and those commercializing faculty research – and it’s adding more, including several non-Wilkes startups that will become part of the network.

The WEC is a few doors away from the Innovation Center (ICWB) – the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber’s incubator. In May, Penn State awarded the Chamber a $50,000 grant to create a shared “entrepreneurial lab” in the ICWB, and in June, anchor tenant eBay Enterprise, which began as a two-person ICWB startup, expanded its offices to occupy the entire third floor. This and five new tenants brought ICWB occupancy to 92 percent, with a workforce of 140. The ICWB’s success even generated a July visit from Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor and Industry.

A third piece of the equation is “King’s on the Square,” which transformed a former downtown hotel into a new home for King’s College’s health sciences programs. Most recently, The Commonwealth Medical College planted its flag in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, taking space in King’s on the Square to serve as the home of its Behavioral Medicine program.

Now, the networking between Downtown’s academic institutions, startup firms, and established businesses has begun. Properly nurtured, it will produce new jobs, tax revenue, investment, and downtown activity that can benefit our city and our region. We’re excited about what’s happening in our Downtown “Innovation District” – so stay tuned!