David Beroff (d4b) wrote,
David Beroff

The End of Anthracite

Cat Lady's old riding lawn mower had stopped working a few days ago; the motor is fine, but it's no longer connected to the wheels. She had the guy who rebuilt her stone wall take a look at it, but he wasn't able to get to the belt that's likely the culprit. He came up with a very innovative solution: His company needed another mower, and rather than have her sink more money into repairing it, he proposed a barter where he'd have his one guy repair and then keep the mower, in exchange for free cuts for the rest of this season, and $20 cuts next year. (The going rate here is $50.) She loved the win/win, and quickly agreed.

After talking about it for a few years, we finally took the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour today. It's 48° to 52° and breezy 300 feet down there. (Yes, it was 95° outside today with a heat index over 100°; why do you ask? ;-) ) The county puts on a very impressive presentation, and we got quite a solid flavor of what the mine workers had to endure for over a century. One aspect that I hadn't expected was the job descriptions for the boys at various age ranges, starting at just five years old. There was also just the sheer enormity of the mining area, pretty much underlying the entire Wyoming Valley.

Northeast Pennsylvania was known for having the only anthracite (residential heating) coal mining in the country, and that effectively shut down abruptly in 1959 with the local Knox Mine disaster, putting ten thousand men out of work. The event was the result of illegally mining underneath the Susquehanna River with far too little separation, and the river broke through, flooding the mine with an estimated ten billion gallons of water and ice, entombing a dozen men.

Knox Mine Disaster - The End of Anthracite Preview from Pitch Films on Vimeo.

Tags: cat lady, scranton, travel, weather
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