On the Northeastern corner of Scranton’s Electric Street and North Washington Avenue stands the noble campus of the Scranton School for the Deaf, founded in 1880, constructed in 1889, abandoned in 2010 so that the institution could occupy a roomier facility, and now belonging to Marywood University.

Marywood is a few blocks north of (above) the scene in figure 1, and North Washington Avenue runs vertically up the left-hand border of the image, to the west of the both campuses.

Figure 1. Scranton School for the Deaf. Scranton, PA. Photo: Scranton School for the Deaf.

The buildings have suffered some light vandalism (lots of broken windows), but it seems to be in pretty good shape, which is not a tremendous surprise for a campus that was a going concern but ten years ago.

The place is locked up, so I didn’t see any of the interior in a recent visit, but I was able to make a nice circle around the property, which is open to walkers. In figure 1, I entered the campus by the driveway at lower left and circled around counterclockwise, exiting by the street just below the first row of houses above the school.

Join me for a tour following my walk through the campus.

Figure 2. Sunset at building 1. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Figures 2 and 3 are taken from the parking lot just off of North Washington Avenue, looking east at the prominent building on an eminence.

Figure 3. Closer view of building 1. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.
Figure 4. Noble beech. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

You know me, so you know I LOVE the wizened old beech tree in figures 4-8 which rises like a withered hand. They should slap a preservation order on the architecture, but they should move heaven and earth to preserve this tree. Just look at it! I suppose it was planted in 1889.

Figure 5. Noble beech branch. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

I like the darker color of the beech leaves against the oak leaves behind it (figure 5).

Figure 6. Noble beech trunk. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The lower trunk reveals that this is a tree that has seen a lot of history (figure 6).

Figure 7. Noble beech scarred. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The lost major limb suggests that this is a tree of sorrows and acquainted with grief (figure 7).

Figure 8. Noble beech detritus. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

And see, some sort of parasite or fungus is attacking the branches (figure 8). This one has fallen and just out of frame is a whitish styrofoam-oid fungus eating away a continuation of these wandering trails. Time for an arborist, I think. We ought not let a brief (to the tree) 10-year hiatus leave it in a hopeless state.

Figure 9. Sunset oaks. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Figure 9 shows two stately oaks catching the sunset in a small grove of them to the east and south of campus. There’s actually a wee rivulet at the edge of the property with a little park around it. Fantastic!

Figure 10. Marywood Bishop. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Figure 10 is a statue of a Roman Catholic bishop, I suppose one of the founders of Marywood. He’s on an architectural fragment that bears the history of the old 1902 IHM convent (the original building of Marywood) that burned down in 1971. I suppose this monument stood where the Italianate garden is now, or just maybe under the Learning Commons on the Marywood campus. He looks sleepy: tired of being in a back alley at the School!

Figure 11. Sunset on stairwell mass. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

I’ve not focused much on the architecture, but it’s rather wonderful Romanesque, and the sunset lit it up with golden rays. The rising triplets of windows in this architectural mass holding one of the stairwells are neat as a pin.

Figure 12. Complexity. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

A few paces south from the stair mass is this complicated set of interlocking masses with some newer masonry added, I think (figure 12).

Figure 13. Ivied hall. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Figure 1 shows that the school was ivied even before it ceased operations. Ten years, however, have allowed the ivy to run riot, and we can already see the beginnings of the fall foliage show it puts on in figure 13.

Figure 14. Plant ops. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The physical plant comes next as you circle around toward the central quad (the ivied hall is part of it). Wires (this is Scranton, I had to put a few in contractually) and attractive serried pipes made an attractive image (figure 14).

Figure 15. Lux sapientiae. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

And in the central quad there are many olde schoole lamps (figure 15) which circle the campus. They are quite recent, I ween, and bedizened with those inevitable little banner posts.

You know, all up and down North Washington Avenue there are amber LED “flickering flame” lights around houses that are meant to look like little flaming torches (I think of them as little ‘eyes of Sauron’). They’d be neat in the lamps of such a romantically suggestive place as Marywood South! Just a suggestion.

Figure 16. Sunset west façade. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

My wife spotted the tree growing out of the chimney of the central structure facing the central quad (figure 16). How even is that possible?

Figure 17. Sunset at plant ops. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The sunset glow offered another great chance to capture the plant ops building with its giant boiler chimney (figure 17).

Figure 18. Quae ad sapientiam ducit via. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The southern edge of that same main quad harbors an incredibly quaint little herringbone brick pathway, picked out by moss, that winds toward one of the entrances (figure 18).

Figure 19. Sunset, ivy, and sky reflections. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

We had to head back out of the central quad toward the north, and I couldn’t resist this combination (figure 19) of sunset glow, ivy, maple tree, stonework, maroon mullions, and sky reflections.

And not so far from that stairwell mass in figure 11 I decided to profit from the glow of the now nearly-set sun to get a couple images of a great maple tree (figures 20, 21).

Figure 20. Sunset branches. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.
Figure 21. Sunset branches 2. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.
Figure 22. Sunset atmosphere. Scranton School for the Deaf, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

And in the end (as the Beatles might say), looking back I caught one of those Scranton sunsets(tm).

This truly is a beautiful place, and its slightly rundown state makes it unbelievably ‘suggestivo’ in the Italian sense of that romantic emotion that accompanies beautiful decay and wildness. Of course, I hope to see the structures spruced up and the flora pruned back into health, especially that beech tree. And I wish someone on the web had posted the name of the architect!

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Very nice photos of SSSD, I grew up and graduated there. SSSD always be my second home. Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: