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Built in 1871 by Joseph Hand Scranton, The Estate--formerly the Scranton family mansion--was designed by the prominent architect Russell Sturgis, Jr. Executed in the Second Empire style, it was built and furnished with meticulous care. The interior still retains original woodwork, marble fireplaces and tile floors in hallways. Wood used includes pine, hemlock, soft maple, chestnut, cherry, Jersey walnut, western walnut, mahogany and oak. The door at the base of the stairs leading to the President's Dining Room was carved by William Paris. A leaded Tiffany-style glass skylight caps a solid mahogany staircase with 13-foot columns. The exterior of the building once contained a four-story tower that was removed in the early 1900's.
The Scranton family, which includes William Warren Scranton, Governor of Pennsylvania (1963-1967), was one of the region's most prominent families, whose leaders made significant contributions to the local and national economy and to regional and national politics. Their history is outlined by the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission: "William Scranton's great-grandfather, Joseph H. Scranton, moved to the city of Scranton, then called Slocum Hollow, in 1846 to join his cousins George W. and Seldon Scranton. George and Seldon bought most of the downtown area and were the first in the Western Hemisphere to use the necessary technology to manufacture iron rails for railroads. One out of six rail tracks used in America were made in Scranton. George Scranton was also elected to Congress in 1859. In 1866, the city was renamed Scranton in honor of George Scranton and the Scranton family who were responsible for the city's industrial growth. Another relative, Joseph A. Scranton, the founder of the city's newspaper, the Scranton Daily Republican, was also elected for a total of five terms to Congress and was the postmaster of Scranton. Joseph's brother-in-law, David Davis, played a major role in the election campaign for Abraham Lincoln."
The Estate was donated to the University of Scranton in 1941. The Jesuits began using the building as a residence when they arrived to take on administration of the school in 1942. In 1987 the Jesuits moved into their new residence, Campion Hall, and the University completely refurbished the interior and exterior of the Estate. The building and its grounds are historically significant to the University because they provided the foundation for the University's current campus.