Former St. Michael’s School Sold – Summer Camp Proposed

Story and Photos by Rick Hiduk

(Exclusive to readers)

Paperwork filed in the Wyoming County Register & Recorder office this week indicates that the imposing structures along Rt. 92 in Falls Township most recently know as EIHAB Human Services have been sold. The deed dated Jan. 16 shows a transfer of ownership between EIHAB, Inc. of Springfield Gardens, NY, to Symba Capitol, LLC, of Cedarhurst, NY, at a cost of $1,684,140.

In 1913, the Catholic Diocese of Scranton purchased 140 acres from Francis and Mary McCanna of Pittston for $9,700 to build the Industrial Home for Boys. In December 2011, EIHAB paid $1,692,000 to the Diocese for the campus structures and 93.14 acres immediately surrounding what had been St. Michael’s School for Boys. At that time, the Diocese of Scranton retained 265 acres of the original 358 acres. 

In the spring of 2017, EIHAB proposed to then commissioners Tom Henry, Judy Mead, and Ron Williams the opening of a drug and alcohol treatment center for teens, which they supported. By June of that year, EIHAB had begun admitting residents on pay basis because the facility still lacked clearance to use insurance plans to cover treatment costs. That clearance never came.

Symba Capital was incorporated just two months ago as a domestic Limited Liability Company in Nassau County, NY.

Wyoming County Commissioner chair Rick Wilbur said that he is not sure yet who the actual buyer is, suggesting that Symba is a holding company or brokerage, perhaps a new subsidiary of Symba Management Corporation, which shares the Cedarhurst Avenue address.

I don’t have that many details except that its going to be a Jewish summer camp,” Wilbur noted in an email sent to local media outlets. The best news, he added, “It will be a for-profit enterprise, meaning property taxes will be paid and jobs will be created.”


  1. So glad to hear that the property will be used.It is besutiful.

  2. It’s wonderful, anything that helps the youth of today.

  3. My father attended here and graduated “best looking” in his class of 4 in 1954. He has very fond memories of his time here.

  4. I was here.i spent half my youth in st was the best.i had more fun here than a social worker now and I always wanted to work here when I got older.

    1. I was there in 1989-91. I was Shakey Jake

    2. I was there for 10 months. The second night I 15 at the time was there; me & another kid named Rocky from Phila; I from Luzerne County escaped with tied bed sheets> 3 Story’s down the front face of the Building. 1st escape in 60yrs or something we were told. It was like right out of a Movie. We made it all the way to Phila only to return 3days later turning ourselves in. I paid the piper then became a very good student of the place & stayed out of trouble for the most part the rest of the time there. I worked hard & started for the basketball team, we went undefeated in Jr Varsity High School Basketball. We played throughout Luzerne & Lackawanna County’s. I also learned on the IBM 386 Computer and got so good with Programming by the time I left I was teaching the Teacher some stuff.. I was given Special Permission From (Walt) Who was Kind of the Unlisted Boss/Security of the Place. To be left alone with about 12 New IBM 386 Computers a few Hours at a time. I had gained & earned their trust. It’s sad to see it go to some Corporation cause they’ll only use and abuse it for $$ as Long as they can then leave it for dead. It’s a One of a Kind place for anyone but the Philly Kids learned a lot from me as I did from them being from Luzerne County about 50miles South of St Mikes. FARE THEE WELL St Mikes< Thanks to all the Staff that made that Place Special..

      1. St Michael’s was a terrible place to send a child. I was sent there in 1958 and escaped in 1960 and never went back. I was from Dayton Ohio but went to Indianapolis when I escaped from that terrible place.

      2. Yea not true. I was here from oct 9th 1997 and left on 98 when the Jacobs brothers were molested by Tony C. The staff let it happen and beat TC in hobans unit in 98 and removed all Lackawanna and luzwrne county kids and replaced us. I went to camp Adams and then to kids peace, for over a year. Then went BACK to st Mike’s from 14-almost 16. I remember everyone there, from staff to kids. I was a legend there because of how young I was and how impressionable I was. But mainly,.because of how.bad.i went downhill in there. I stole a bike at 12 and ran away frok home,.from abuse.. and munley locked me up and thru away the key. I was young,.scared,.afraid, little etc. Those staff were crooked. They’d bet on kids to fight, they’d let kids do drugs and drink on trips to the store,.I remember it All the abuse, listening to other kids cry as they were molested by 18 year old gangstas and shit. Watching kids get PUMMELED by staff. Threats. It was rough. I dunno what y’all talking about saying it was cool. Let’s talk, because I’ll call your bluff. I remember you if you were there with me………… The only good there were WALT OPHSHINKY, GUNNER, JOE LABINSKI, the teachers Mr bresky, and yak, and Brock and Ted. BIG OLE BLACK DUDE AND WHITE DUDE that worked the school floor. And Larry demick. I remember everyone and every beating.

        1. My name john pursell I was there from 12-17 so like 85-90

          1. I was there 89-90. Your Name sounds familiar. I was in all the dorms, Caulfield, Smith, Hoban, a couple group homes. Smoked Willy B. in rec. room. Lol. 18 months there until 1 home visit I never came back.

        2. Jim Bresky was a friend of mine when I was a social worker there 1980-81. I understand he was very well thought of.

      3. Man I escaped from there the same way in the late 80’s early 90’s after we hit the ground we hot wired a van got caught like a week later

  5. Our Tunkhannock Scout Troop used to swim in their indoor pool once or twice during the winter. Learned to swim there. Great memories

  6. My name is Kevin Watterson I was a student there under Walt 1984-85. What year were you there? I was the student that used to play the piano at lunch time in the refectory I remember the pool Walt always punching his punching bag going down to the canteen room at night having smokes drinking the Kool-Aid hikes I learned a lot in the engine shop to this day I enjoy small engine repair so much to list the place was a life changer. I ran away as well homesickness got the best of me but we got caught shortly mailman saw us and reported us.. LOL had to face the wall for 48 hours nose to it but aside from that it was a good place.

    1. I met Walt there in the 2000s he still was boxing and their was a room dedicated to boxing there he was a great guy I was there for the time it was used by county for children with issues

      1. I remember Walt as well. I was there from Nov 2001 to Nov 2002. Used to be a old guy there we called him old A $$ very cool dude. Ìi would always manage to get to gold level 1 just to go home then the following week I’m back to bronze

    2. 97-01
      .my memories weren’t so good as yours
      . But I loved Walt and his hikes and boxing in the gym, he’s from Scranton and an amateur fighter. Loved Walt. He just passed away last year. But yea, my memories werent the same as yours. It wasn’t a pleasant place this timeline. It got shut down for child molestation in 98. Then re opened up even worse

  7. My brother and I were at St. Michael’s from March 1965 until May 1968 A great school Father Purcell was a great guy,Sister Audrey a nurse we got along fine and Sister Evelina taught me and my brother a great deal and I’ll always cherish my stay at St. Mike’s a great school.

    1. Did 10 months in ’67 ’68. Great experience. Saved my life. Still remember most of the kids that were there. Kresfnfeski, Yaronski, Kuchecowski, Bortell, Mathews, Rainey, Luckasavage, Angerson, the Sasso brothers.
      Highest academic honors in class of 4. Sister Justa was a great teacher. Counselors Ken, Butch and Bob Barret where all good guys. Father Purcell was also a good guy.

    2. Joe Coleman….guitar player with Bernie?


    3. My name is Harry Sturgis I was there in 1967to1969 I also had no problems with the way they discipline were there to get are life back on the right track

    4. My name is Ricky Lucas, I was there also between 1965 And 1968. I understand why some people had bad time. Dan and some people had a good time there. I saw both sides of the picture. Mine was positive..

  8. My father went there probably would have been class of 63 or 64. He told me some crazy stories I Al’s say wanted to see the place in person. I drove by a few times but never stopped in.

    1. My cousin was a basketball coach there in the 50s Leo koslowski I remember going there a few times to see a movie with my dad and meeting some of the students

  9. I was there from 1957 to 1964. It was not a fun place to be at that time. Lots of beatings and sexual assault. I played all the sports just to get away from property. I ran away in 1958 and got caught and they shaved my head to identify me as a runaway. I could write a novel about this school and it wouldn’t be a kind write!! Contact me if you were there at the same time I was.

    1. I was there 1958 to 1960

    2. My dad was there from the autumn of ’57 until the end of spring in ’58. He always told us of the horrors he endured there: adults and older boys molesting the younger boys, even younger boys being made to be the “girlfriends” of the older boys. He had run away from home and wouldn’t go back to his family so the police sent him to “St. Mike’s.” He begged them to send him back home by the end of the first term there, but they wouldn’t let him go until the end of the school year. I heard him tell these stories my whole life.

  10. My great Uncle was here in 1930, I found him in the census. His sister and family looked for him for years and years with no results.
    I would love to find out what happened to him. After the 1930 census, he disappeared again.
    Does anyone know where I can find his records from his time here?
    His surname was Reisinger.

    1. I was there in the middle 1960.
      After Reading. This they are a good times and bad times for people there. My time fortunately was good time they have nuns there. I’m preached there father Pursell what’s the executive there? They had a Counselor. who counsel Kids.
      And I’m not ashamed to give you my name but I will say this good and bad happen up there. What to me it was more good?
      I learned how to be a good bowler update. They had a bowling alley downstairs. And I was say they had the most beautiful Catholic church. I’m from New Jersey. I was baptized Catholic and the stated New Jersey sent me there. I was not a perfect kid but I did learn a lot.
      The nuns was our school teacher.
      I can go on but I will not.

  11. I love this place it changed my life I was a placement kid there graduated from there with my high school diploma

  12. i was there about 3 times/ i was one of the runaways in west pittston pa two girls took off with chuck clemens and i back in 1988
    never got touched thogh was always fighting and on red level oh well

  13. I was there from 2000 to 2001 I was fun best placement for me I remember Brian ufc fighter and al white boxing guy and don’t forget vic man I was on the basketball team oh my name is Jesus Rios

    1. I was there that year too I remember his brother to I think Chris penzak

  14. I was a Social Worker at The Mike’s 1980-81 fresh out of grad school. It was well thought of and I don’t recall any abuse. I remember Jim Bresky, Jim Loftus, Andy Varzaly, Gerry Maslar, Mr Evans, and the two Robert Arnold’s. I remember some of the boys with great fondness. I recall having neglected to tell a boy’s mom he was going home for the weekend which went well but after he returned he was one of those along with the house fathers who threw me into the pool completely clothed which also went well and there were no hard feelings. I had no idea until just now the school’s no longer operating.

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