In December 1873, a 4,000 foot tunnel was completed through Big Lick Mountain in Dauphin County. Williamstown Tunnel opened up Bear Valley for profitable coal mining.
“In the Depths of a Coal Mine” – Stephen Crane’s 1894 visit to Pennsylvania’s Coal Region
Author Stephen Crane made a visit to a coal mine near Scranton in 1894 for an article in McClure's Magazine.
“Life in the Coal Villages” – 1888
This story by H.L. Nelson shares the dismal realities of life in the mining patch towns Northeastern Pennsylvania in the 1880s.
Fire at Kalmia Colliery in Schuylkill County nearly claimed lives – December 1871
On December 1, 1871, the Kalmia Colliery breaker burned to the ground, nearly killing a night crew of workers trapped inside by the fumes.
Silent film footage of a strip mine operation in Schuylkill County, 1917
A filmmaker recorded silent moving images of a strip mine in operation in Schuylkill County in December 1917.
Journal of the Buck Mountain and Vulcan collieries near Mahanoy City, 1897
This journal documents a year of work at two anthracite collieries in Schuylkill County.
A Scottish immigrant’s remarkable working history in 1850s Schuylkill County (Part 2)
This is a piece continued from last week. You can read Part 1 of our brief series on the remembrances of Robert Weir from 1914 HERE. After describing his arrival in the Coal Region in 1852, Robert Weir turned to discussing his work in Schuylkill County as a hoisting engineer in various collieries in the … Continue reading A Scottish immigrant’s remarkable working history in 1850s Schuylkill County (Part 2)
“The great coal depot” – Illustrations of Port Richmond in Philadelphia in 1852
The development of the rich veins of coal that run beneath Schuylkill County fueled an industrial revolution in the 1850s. And much of the coal that supplied the iron furnaces, steam ships, and kept millions of Americans warm as a home heating fuel traveled to market through America's fourth largest city: Philadelphia. In late 1852, … Continue reading “The great coal depot” – Illustrations of Port Richmond in Philadelphia in 1852
“The Mine Mule Affected by the European War” – 1914
In October 1914, war raged on the European continent. In what was then called the "Great War," industrial-scale war was waged on a massive scale for the first time. Americans were paying attention. A commentator for the Pottsville Republican noted a curious thing about the suddenly mechanized armies smashing each other to pulp on the battlefields … Continue reading “The Mine Mule Affected by the European War” – 1914
Toxic gasses from a burning coal mine claimed the lives of two Tamaqua mining officials in 1858
Pennsylvania's anthracite coal fields have long been known for long-lasting mine fires. The most famous of these environmental disasters continues burning today beneath the empty town lots known as Centralia in Columbia County. Mine fires were a feared menace dating back to the first underground mines in the region. One of the early mine fires … Continue reading Toxic gasses from a burning coal mine claimed the lives of two Tamaqua mining officials in 1858