WELCOME TO COAL TOWN USA
We drove up to Eckley Miners’ Village on the spur of the moment on the first day of our trip from Montreal, Quebec to Charleston, SC. Our trip took us along Interstate 81-S through Syracuse, New York and into eastern Pennsylvania.
Having heard a lot about coal mining but never been in a coal mining region we thought it would be interesting to check out Eckley. Unfortunately April in the early evening is not a popular time for tourists to drive far off the main highway to check out a living coal museum – so everything was closed and the place looked deserted. On the positive side it meant we had the place to ourselves and could take photographs without worrying about people getting in the way. Since 1970, Eckley has been owned and operated as a museum by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
I have since learned that Eckley is considered a ‘coal patch town’ – which I’ve learned (lots of learning when doing a blog like this) is what unincorporated company controlled upscale mining camps were called. No elected officials these were true ‘company’ towns.
The coal found in Pennsylvania is known as anthracite and is the most pure and efficient burning type of coal (other types include lignite and bituminous coal).
I learned that mining for anthracite started in 1790 in Pennsylvania around Pottsville. The story goes that a hunter, Necho Allen, woke up from his campfire to find a large blaze burning away at an outcropping containing anthracite coal.
|One of Many Churches|
|Coal Breaking Building|