Living life on their terms, the men of the Jungle, felt the long-arm of capitalism back in May 1952. 

A group of men living in a small community in the vicinity of the 1200 block of Moosic Street were informed by Scranton Police that they will have to vacate the area because the property owner, J.L. Bour Refractories Inc, is moving ahead with plans to sell the property.

J.L. Bour Refractories purchased the property from the Laurel Line back in 1912 and built a factory on the property. The factory was destroyed by fire in 1934, the company looked the other way when the property was slowly transformed into this thriving community.

group of men

Scranton Patrolman Gus Thiede, city health officer, talks with residents of “The Jungle” an area off the 1200 block of Moosic St., on their imminent ouster by the J.L. Bour Refractories Co. Inc., owner of the the land on May 12, 1952. From left: Andrew Koshel, Stanley Popalowski, Theide, Mike Koshel, Mike Kurlowich and Benny Domatowecz. Times-Tribune Archives

The Jungle, once home to 50 men, was described in the pages of the Scranton Times on May 13, 1952 as having “winding paths, running streams and blossoming fruit trees.”  

The men of the community followed these simple rules – “no fights, no heavy drinking and no woman.” 

Each of the current residents all have their own cottage with an outhouse.  Some of the men have planted small vegetable gardens next door to their homes with others growing roses. 

In addition to making money by selling and collecting junk, the men in the community all receive an $18 semi monthly relief payment from the government. 


Benny Domatowecz reads a magazine in his cottage. His shack, and most of the others, boast of many conveniences, including cook stoves, beds, dressers, clocks and easy chairs salvaged from dumps. Times-Tribune Archives

The men and city officials are not sure what is next. The men have to leave but city officials are unsure of where they will go because most of the men either have no families or are bachelors. 

Another scene of men living their best lives happened in 1939 when the national convention of Hobo rolled into Scranton. 

On May 5, 1939, the annual convention of the Hobo Fellowship of America and the Rambling Hoboes of America set up in the freight yard of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad on Lackawanna Ave. 

Here is the coverage of the event from the pages of the Scranton Times and The Tribune. 

Hobo ConventionHobo Convention Fri, May 5, 1939 – 3 · The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) ·

Sat, May 6, 1939 – 3 · The Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) ·