Pittston lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, about halfway between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. It was a center of anthracite coal mining in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was settled about 1770 and named for the British statesman William Pitt the Elder. The railroad, brewing, and stove production also contributed to the city's economy. Much of the once vibrant downtown was lost to urban renewal in the 1960s.