The Lackawanna Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania was home to the Lenni-Lenape peoples for centuries before the arrival of Europeans.

The word Lackawanna comes from a Lenape term meaning “stream that forks,” which describes the Lackawanna River. The dark, jagged tree stumps in this image by George Inness reveal that the area, once densely wooded, was cleared to make way for industry. He painted this for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company to advertise a rail network that would link Pennsylvania coal mines with new markets.

Inness shows the train moving across a new bridge and track through a landscape altered by development. In contrast, works by Hudson River School artists celebrate seemingly unspoiled American wilderness.


  • Title: The Lackawanna Valley
  • Creator: George Inness
  • Date Created: c. 1856
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 86 x 127.5 cm (33 7/8 x 50 3/16 in.) framed: 120.3 x 161.6 x 15.2 cm (47 3/8 x 63 5/8 x 6 in.)
  • Provenance: Commissioned c. 1856 by the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, Scranton, Pennsylvania.[1] The artist, from 1891; by inheritance 1894 to his daughter, Mrs. Jonathan Scott Hartley, New York; (her sale, American Art Association, New York, 24 March 1927, no. 76, as _The First Roundhouse of the D. L. and W. R. R. at Scranton_); (Henry Schultheis Co., New York); (sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 24 February 1938, no. 54, as _The First Roundhouse of the D.L. & W. Railroad, Scranton, Pennsylvania_); (Henry Schultheis Co., New York);[2] sold 24 May 1944 to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased February 1945 by Millicent Rogers [Mrs. Huttleson Rogers, 1902-1953], Washington, D.C.;[3] gift 1945 to NGA.[4] [1] Commissioned of Inness at about this time and later sold by the railroad at an unknown date. [2] The information that Henry Schultheis was both consignor and purchaser at the 1938 sale was kindly provided by Grete Meilman, of Sotheby Parke Bernet's American painting department, in her letter of 11 July 1980 to Franklin Kelly (in NGA curatorial files). The dealer's name was spelled incorrectly as Schulteis in the NGA systematic catalogue published in 1996. [3] The dates of purchase by Knoedler and Mrs. Rogers were kindly provided by Melissa De Medeiros, Knoedler Librarian, in her letter of 6 January 1993 to Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr. (in NGA curatorial files). The Knoedler purchase date was incorrectly published as 14 May in the 1996 NGA systematic catalogue. [4] According to the 21 May 1945 minutes of the NGA Board of Trustees, Millicent Rogers, living in Washington at the time, offered to purchase the painting for the NGA. It was then owned by M. Knoedler & Co., New York.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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