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 Post subject: Group Hopes To Plug Hole In Anthracite Mining History
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:16 pm
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Group hopes to plug hole in anthracite mining history
By David Falchek (Staff Writer)
Published: April 23, 2012

An historical group is looking for artifacts or information about the last days of coal mining in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Old Forge Coal Mine Inc. hopes to hear from former miners, their families, or anyone with information about the anthracite industry from 1940 to the 1970s, when the last mining operations closed.

Official data about mining from that period is sparse compared to the detailed reports about mining in its heyday, Carl Orechovsky, research editor for the Anthracite Archives, a project of Old Forge Coal Mine Inc., said.

"As time went on, you saw less and less information in mine inspection reports until they got the point where they were recording tonnage," Orechovsky said. "This has left a huge hole in the record of anthracite history."

Orechovsky is hoping to change this odd flip in historical understanding where less is known about recent history than is known about distant history. He wants to collect the nitty gritty of the last days of coal mining in the area after the Knox Mine Disaster, low coal prices, and the rise of oil and natural gas as home heating fuel combined to render the area's key industry nearly obsolete.

Oral history collection, reviewing and scanning documents, photos, or other artifacts are planned, Orechovsky said. He expects to share that information at a public forum Tuesday, May 29 at 6:30 p.m., at the Eagle McClure Hose Company Hall, 375 Milwaukee Ave., Old Forge. The moderator will be Robert P. Wolensky, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, an area native and co-author of several books on Northeastern Pennsylvania history.

Reaching the last miners is a challenge. They are up there in age and unlikely to have emails, Orechovsky said, adding, "There are still guys out there that we want to find."

The Anthracite Archives at http://www.oldforgecoalmine.com is one of the largest online repositories of information about the anthracite era, Orechovsky said.

Anyone with artifacts or information can contact Orechovsky at 570-702-4217 or info@oldforgecoalmine.com.

The Old Forge Coal Mine Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of anthracite coal mining history.

dfalchek@timesshamrock.com

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