Photographs from the 1930s show a ramshackle mining operation on outskirts of Mount Carmel

We’ve been spotlighting photographs taken by Sheldon Dick on a 1938 visit to the Coal Region as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Among our favorites are these that he took while visiting Mount Carmel. He made a stop at a mining operation in what appears to be the outskirts of Atlas, Pennsylvania, just northwest of Mount Carmel. 

The images show a tumble-down mining operation – the kind that became very common during the Great Depression as the anthracite industry collapsed and many of the larger companies fell into bankruptcy and collieries were shuttered. Dick captured the bleakness of the era and the landscape in his photographs. All of the photographs are held in the collection of the Library of Congress and have been made available online. 

Mount Carmel Mining Operation 1938
A photograph showing a mining operation and Mount Carmel’s church steeples in the distance.
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Another image of the coal yards on the outskirts of Atlas, PA
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An image showing the coal yard behind homes in Atlas, PA
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Children playing behind their homes in Atlas. The coal yard came up directly to the backyard of these homes.
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Goats grazing on trash and refuse between homes and the coal yard in Atlas. 
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A coal truck from J.A. Reedy Coal in Milton, PA being loaded up in Atlas. 
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A close-up of the work going on at the coal yard while loading the Reedy truck. Close-up reveals a woman working to load the truck with coal. 
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Close-up of a deal at the coal yard – it’s unclear if this is associated with the previous images of loading the Reedy truck.
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A wide angle showing Mount Carmel’s spires in the distance at right, a colliery breaker in the far distance, and the coal yard and Atlas at center and left. 

Featured Image: Sheldon Dick photograph of a coal yard and Mount Carmel, PA

See more photographs taken by Sheldon Dick on his 1938 visit to the Coal Region


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