There are five anthracite or semi-anthracite coalfields in Pennsylvania:


The Pennsylvania anthracite coalfields, along with the Georges Creek coalfield in Western Maryland, are really where the American coal company patch town originated.

Eckley, Pennsylvania is an intact coal company town dating back to the mid-1800s.(Image courtesy of Jerry and Roy Klotz)

What other coal areas call a tipple or preparation plant, the northeastern Pennsylvania Coal Region calls a breaker. Here is the Harry E. breaker, which was located in Swoyersville, Pa. and demolished in 1995. (1988 Kenny Ganz image courtesy of northernfield.info)

The Cranberry patch town and breaker. (1940 image, source forgotten)

Coal company patch at William Penn, Pa. (2010 image by Mashuga)

Harry E culm bank. People from other coal mining regions would call this a slate dump, boney dump; or tailings or refuse pile. (2013 image by Hank Rogers)

Ashley patch town. (Image by ebaster)

The Huber breaker - now demolished. (2011 image by Marc)

One of the biggest anthracite coal mining operations was Glen Burn at Shamokin, Pa. Most of the mine structures have been demolished, but this refuse head house is still there. This was where the cars containing coal refuse came up an incline from the breaker and were dumped. This was probably one of the last inclines in use at an American coal mine. (Image courtesy of undergroundminers.com)

Concrete City was an attempt to build patch houses from concrete. (2013 image by Hank Rogers)

The Saint Nicholas breaker in Schuylkill County was the last historic breaker in eastern Pennsylvania. Despite heroic efforts to save it, demolition began in 2015. It's a shame that not even one of the once ubiquitous breakers were preserved in the Coal Region. A few modern breakers are still working, though. (1992 image by Doug Lilly)