Archive for Insight – Page 2

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.

America’s Best Communities Update: Community Engagement

“Community engagement has been a critical component of our downtown revitalization strategy in Wilkes-Barre since we first began our efforts in 2001…The plan that we are working on right now, that we believe is positioning us as one of America’s Best Communities, is also something that we believe is intimately informed by community engagement.” -Larry Newman, Executive Director of the Diamond City Partnership

In our newest video, Larry Newman talks about how our strategic revitalization plan for the downtown focus on core goals that are shaped by the community’s needs and input.

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.

INTERN INSIGHT: Intern Experience

Written by Chamber Intern Britton Heim READ HIS BIO HERE

Britton HeimI recently ended my internship at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce as an entrepreneurship intern. One might ask, “what in the world does an entrepreneurship intern do?” Well, I’ll tell you! Basically I became a creative mind for the Chamber that researched various entrepreneurial and start-up communities and then devised ways in which the concepts used by other organizations could be altered and adapted to promote an entrepreneurial, start-up community right here in Wilkes-Barre.

I began to realize all of the great resources we have here in Wilkes-Barre. We have incredible academic capital coming out of Wilkes University, King’s College, and the other surrounding schools that have the potential to really drive the economy here. We also have prime transportation location as we are positioned right along I-81 and very close to I-80. There are also very many larger corporations in the area that have the ability to help small start-ups grow.

I started to realize these things through the research I was doing and this inspired me to begin to explore Wilkes-Barre a little more. As I walked around on different occasions I noticed all of the empty store fronts on Washington St., Northampton St., and many others, but with the knowledge I had gained at the Chamber I could see the big picture. I pictured what it would look like if these store fronts were filled with innovative little specialty shops and student start-ups. I could see the image of the college town I have heard so many local leaders talking about and it inspired me to become part of this future.

Wilkes-Barre is an amazing little city with great potential, and it’s getting there as we see more and more businesses pop up; Franklins on the Square, the Wilkes University Business Incubator in the Luzerne County Bank Building, and so many other small businesses that are up and coming. We just need more people to see the big picture. When you walk the streets and see those vacant shops don’t think it’s just a vacant building, think of all of the different businesses that would thrive with the store front and how great it is that that store front is there for the taking for that perfect store. Soon enough Wilkes-Barre will return to its former glory, but we need more people to see the potential this city has. Through my internship at the Chamber and all of the amazing people there I got to see a whole new side to Wilkes-Barre I never would have otherwise. My internship was an invaluable experience that gave me a whole new insight on this city and really motivated me and inspired me to stay in the area and help push this city in the right direction.

I would like to thank everyone at the Chamber for the experience they gave me and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Want to become a Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Intern?
Apply NOW for Summer 2015 at



Casara McCleaf- Economic Development Intern

Casara McCleaf

Casara McCleaf is a sophomore at Wilkes University double majoring in math and computer science. She is an economic development intern at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber for the Spring of 2015.


Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town between Gettysburg and the Mason-Dixon Line called Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania.  I now live in Sturdevant Hall at Wilkes University, of which I am the Resident Assistant for the school year.

What do you hope to do after college?

After college, I hope to settle down in a small town filled with farms and friendly people.

How about NEPA?

I would settle down and live in NEPA for the rest of my life if I found a good job and my family was happy here.

Why did you choose Wilkes?

I almost went to Duquesne, but decided to go to Wilkes University because they offered a greater number of majors that I was interested in besides Pharmacy.  I also greatly appreciated the small-size of the campus and the close-knit community.  Also, my brother attends Wilkes University, so he was a major part of my decision to go to Wilkes.

I wanted to stay within “short” driving distance of my house, so I only looked into schools in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and choosing Wilkes is what brought me to NEPA.

I chose to change from Pharmacy to a dual major in Mathematics and Computer Science because I have always had a passion for math and knew that my logical reasoning and math skills could pair nicely with the widely sought after computer science major.

What are your impressions of NEPA?

My first impression of Wilkes-Barre was that it was a city, there was a lot of buildings and only a little grass.  This was a stark change from my hometown.

Most people I know from this area talk about the pizza.  When I first told people I was going to go to Wilkes, they all told me “the place to go for the best pizza”.

When I leave here, I will remember this area most for the experiences I have had here and for everything I have learned while I was living here. I will remember the city for the accessibility of its stores, most of which are walking distance from campus, and its frigid winters.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

When I graduate, my dream job is to work as a cryptographer.  I would love to work for the National Security Agency.

Are there any businesses you wish were in NEPA?

I wish someone would open a coffee shop which delivered coffee and baked goods in NEPA.  If I could create my dream job, it would incorporate math with helping people with special needs or children with bad home-lives.
Want to become a Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Intern?
Apply NOW for Summer 2015 at