Miners buzz around as loaded coal cars come racing toward the camera. Trains carry loads of anthracite across the top of Big Lick Mountain headed east. Though the video contains no sound, the moving images elicit the sounds of clanging, banging, and the other industrial-scale noise that came from coal production in the anthracite coal fields.
YouTube user Chris Updegrave’s February 2016 upload is an amazing piece of history. It shows the Brookside Colliery and East Brookside Colliery, both above Tower City, Pennsylvania, in full operation, likely in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The video provides an excellent opportunity to peer into the past and to see how the now abandoned mines of southwestern Schuylkill County looked in the years before the industry collapsed during the Great Depression.
Operations at the two collieries began in the late 1860s, helping to establish Tower City and its surrounding communities just after the Civil War. By the 1870s, mining operations came under the control of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company. The Brookside Colliery later became known as the West Brookside Colliery. The East Brookside Colliery had originally been called the Tower Colliery, but in 1892 had been renamed the East Brookside Colliery.
Featured Image: The East Brookside Colliery (Williamstown – My Hometown)