SCRANTON — A Scranton landmark rang in a special new year 30 years ago. It was the last night in 1983 when the old Lackawanna Train Station reopened as a hotel.
New Year’s Eve is still a big night for the hotel in downtown Scranton.
It was the first time in decades that the lights were on at Lackawanna Station, when officials cut the ribbon on the building’s converted hotel on New Year’s Eve 1983. There were no longer any trains but it was meant to still bring people to downtown Scranton.
It continues to do that 30 years later.
Newswatch 16 met the Fillette family from the Philadelphia area in the hotel’s lobby. They came to stay on December 31 six years ago and loved the hotel’s old aesthetic so much they have made it a New Year’s tradition.
“Our favorite part of the First Night is the fireworks, that’s one of the reasons why we come. We love the quaintness of the hotel, the friendliness of the people,” said Michele Fillette.
This New Year’s Eve, employees at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel were busy preparing for a booked night of guests and laying out all the details for a wedding.
But, some of those employees were thinking back to the ball drop the last day of 1983 when the newly renovated Hilton hotel was open to guests.
“We were not part of the decision to make it a hotel, but I thank everyone in 1983 who was a part of that decision because this should remain a community focal point like it always has been,” said Radisson’s General Manager Michael Kearney.
Though it has switched hands over the years, the inside of the hotel hasn’t changed much in those 30 years. In fact, it hasn’t changed much since 1908 when the station was built. The people who run it now say it has been a challenge maintaining a building that’s more than 100 years old.
The manager of the Radisson said some of the exterior stone work has started to decay in recent years, the reason why black tarp covers the wings of the iconic eagle statues. They’ll soon be replaced, since it’s a priority for the Radisson to maintain the building’s history.
“We see the pictures and the pictures start to look dated, 30 years is starting to look like a long time ago. But it’s very fun for us that if we take a picture tonight it will still have the same energy that there was in 1983,” Kearney added.