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EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA ANTHRACITE COALFIELDS

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.



Image courtesy of Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA
Miners of Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company eating lunch in the "dinner hole" in a mine near Coaldale.


2024 image by author
House coal tipple near Minersville.


2024 image by author
Huge black culm banks (called slate dumps in the bituminous coal areas) in Schuylkill County.


2024 image by author
Coal company "patch" houses, perhaps built by the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company for employees of their Gilberton Colliery and Draper Colliery mines. This is still called Quality Hill, possibly indicating that the houses were for mine foremen or other supervisors, although they are duplex and not single family homes.


2024 image by author
Another section of coal company houses in Gilberton known as Long Row.


1970 image courtesy of Jerrye and Roy Klotz
Eckley, Pennsylvania is an intact coal company town dating back to the mid-1800s.


1988 Kenny Ganz image courtesy of northernfield.info
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.


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


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


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


Image by ebaster
Ashley patch town.


2011 image by Marc
The Huber breaker - now demolished.


Image courtesy of undergroundminers.com
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.


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


1992 image by Doug Lilly
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.


2024 image by author
Coal conveyor crossing over the road.


2024 image by author
An old Allis-Chalmers coal screen and its reflection.


1999 image by Marie Valigorsky
Centralia, Pennsylvania is an infamous community known for its abandonment after the anthracite coal seams caught fire and caused the town to become uninhabitable. Here's an eerie picture taken in the nearly abandoned community.

Pine Knot Colliery


2024 image by author
The remains of Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company's Pine Knot Colliery can still be found (as of 2024) in Cass Township of Schuylkill County. The mine operated from 1902 until 1933.


2024 image by author
A few of the remaining Pine Knot Colliery structures. The high windows on the building on the right could indicate that it was once a bath house. The red brick building on the left was once the boiler house (power house).


2024 image by author
Other small out buildings probably left over from Pine Knot Colliery.


2024 image by author
Pine Knot Colliery featured two shafts. This structure was associated with Shaft No. 2, which wasn't completed until 1909. The breaker cleaned coal from both shafts, and also for Philadelphia and Reading's nearby Glendower Colliery after its own breaker closed.


2024 image by author
Detail of the textures and colors of the board-and-batten Supply House. Mine maps show the strutcure in the middle as being the mine's stables, but it certainly doesn't look like one.


2024 image by author
The houses on the other side of the street are pure Coal Region.


2024 image by author
And down the creek anthracite coal mining goes on into the 21st Century.

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