Incredible photographs document the Maple Hill mine near Shenandoah in 1938

As we’ve previously documented here at Wynning History, photographer Sheldon Dick came to the Coal Region in 1938 to photograph the people and places that made up the cultural landscape in this struggling industrial area.

Dick centered his efforts for the Farm Security Administration project around the Schuylkill County community of Shenandoah.

Read our story about Sheldon Dick’s 1938 photographs of Filipek’s Bar

At some point during his visit to Shenandoah, the photographer brought his camera to the Maple Hill Colliery on a scarred hillside just few miles east of town. In a series of images, displayed below, the viewer can experience what this colliery looked like during the Great Depression and in the years directly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

The photographs come from the Library of Congress collection and are labeled with Sheldon Dick’s original captions.

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“Second shaft tower at Maple Hill mine seen from first tower”
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“A wheel, over which the car cable runs, at the top of a shaft tower at the Maple Hill mine”
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“Second shaft tower at Maple Hill mine, as seen from first tower”
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“A view of buildings, coal cars and tracks at Maple Hill mine, seen from shaft tower”
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“The power house as seen from Maple Hill shaft tower”
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“Cars waiting to go down the shafts at the Maple Hill mine”
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“Shaft of the Maple Hill mine as seen from the top of the shaft tower”
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“A car (elevator) at the bottom of a shaft seven hundred feet below the surface at Maple Hill mine”
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“A compressed air engine approaching with a train of cars in the Maple Hill mine. The pipes beside the track carry eight hundred pounds and there are valves for refueling every quarter mile. Compressed air is piped down from the surface.”
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“Interior of a mule stable in the Maple Hill mine, seven hundred feet below ground, showing a miner and some mules. Once they go down the mules don’t come up until they die. Some have been down for the last twenty-five years”
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“Timbers in tunnel 29 of the Maple Hill mine, at the end where they are leaving the column and the rock has already fallen”

The Maple Hill Colliery was located adjacent to the famous St. Nicholas Breaker between Shenandoah and Mahanoy City. Some of the homes visible in this image are still situated atop Maple Hill overlooking the site of the Maple Hill mine.

These are far from the only places in the Coal Region captured by Dick’s camera in 1938. We’ll be sharing more of these photographs in future posts.


Featured Image: A shaft at the Maple Hill Colliery near Shenandoah (Library of Congress)


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