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 Post subject: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:05 am 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
A relic of the anthracite era, the Ashley structure could soon be sold, demolished.
July 26. 2013 12:15AM
By Jerry Lynott - jlynott@civitasmedia.com - (570) 829-7237

The Huber Breaker on Main Street, Ashley, is among the assets set to be auctioned next month to pay debtors in bankruptcy case.

WILKES-BARRE — The rusting hulk of the Huber Breaker is destined for demolition and worth more in pieces than left standing as one of the most visible reminders of when coal was king.
The towering structure in Ashley where anthracite was sorted, cleaned and shipped to market as Blue Coal is among the assets up for auction next month.
Its owner, No. 1 Contracting Corp., reached a deal with debtors to sell the mineral rights, real estate and personal property at an Aug. 22 auction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre. Proceeds of the sale will pay off taxes and cover a small fraction of the millions of dollars in debts owed.
A June 18 filing stressed the urgency of the sale, saying it should take place “as quickly as possible in order to preserve the value therein for the benefit of all.”
The breaker has been shut down since the late 1970s. An appraisal done in September 2005 by Kanton Realty Inc. of Scranton estimated the 900 tons of steel in the breaker had a scrap value of $85,000.
Attorney Michael Oleyar, Chapter 7 panel trustee of bankruptcy estate of No. 1 Contracting, did not return a call for comment.

Miners Memorial Park

The Huber Breaker Preservation Society was created with the intent of saving the structure, but has all but abandoned that goal. Instead, it is building a Miners Memorial Park on 3.1 acres along Main Street, within the shadow of the breaker. The park already has a monument, and plans are for walking trails and kiosks explaining the Huber’s history.
Ray Clarke, chairman of the board of the society, said it will cost “quite a few millions” to purchase and develop the breaker and prevent demolition.
“We never thought this was going to happen to it,” he said.
During its heyday, the Huber produced 1,000 tons of coal an hour and 7,000 tons a day, Clarke recalled.
“I used to get dynamite boxes out of there as a kid,” said the 79-year-old Clarke. The wood was used for shelving, and when times were tough, it was burned as firewood, he said.
The closest he came to working there was in 1957, he said, when he hauled coal on his uncle’s coal truck.
At one time there were more than 300 breakers in anthracite’s northern field spanning Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, excluding the Hazleton area, said Robert Wolensky, a society member and Swoyersville native who teaches at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Wolensky has written and lectured about this region’s mining and labor history.
“It would be a tragedy if it was lost,” he said of the Huber Breaker.

Can it be saved?

Wolensky held out hope for a last-ditch effort to save it, saying there’s an effort under way.
There were missed opportunities when government money was available, and he criticized local government leaders for doing a “pathetic” job of historical preservation compared to Lackawanna County, where there are several museums and sites dedicated to its railroad and mining history.
For Wolensky, the Huber is worth more in tourist dollars than if it was scrapped.
“We are hopeful that this might be the one site we can preserve out of all the hundreds of sites,” Wolensky said.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:50 pm 
Well that sucks. How many breakers are left?


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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Its the last one left in the northern anthracite field.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:46 pm 
But there are others in the state/country, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:22 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
So word is demolition has started at the breaker site. The conveyor going under the bridge to where the rotary dump is gone, the siding is off of the head house and main conveyor and the elevator building next to the silos for the power house is down.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:30 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
one other historic one in the anthracite.. but part of it is down now too.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am 
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Location: philly 'burbs
Miner Dave wrote:
But there are others in the state/country, right?


every coal mine has a prep plant of some sort, but breakers are specific to anthracite. not too long ago you couldn't walk six feet without tripping over an abandoned breaker in NEPA, now they're just about all gone.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:37 am 
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Some shots of the beginning demo last week. Conveyor to rotary is gone as of Friday afternoon.
JW


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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:20 am 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
Hey John, glad to see you signed up. for those that don't know John is the one doing the documentary on the breaker. nice photos John, sad to see though. I plan on swinging down next weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:25 pm 
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John,
Welcome aboard!!! Can't wait to see the documentary. Nice pictures.
It's a shame to see the old girl go. It might be easier to watch them implode it like the Harry E then to watch it taken apart piece by piece. See her go out with a bang!!!!!!! I know that wouldn't happen because of the residential area so close to it. I guess I've taken my last tour of the old girl. Glad I got all the pictures when I did. I'll get off my soapbox now.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:08 pm 
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Location: Philadelphia
Thanks Scott,

and yes going out with a bang would at least make a statement - though it would take a huge one that would mess up half of Ashley and send a toxic cloud of doom over Wilkes Barre...or something like that. Ask Murley that exact wording 8)

Just got back to Philly now from Ashley...the Foothouse is now gone and main conveyor probably within the next week or so. The rest probably within a couple months.

That's the latest, I'll report in when there's more news.

Looking to have a trailer out by summer...
J

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Scott, you around next weekend? i think i may swing down one day in the afternoon. yep, wont be long now.......

John, it was something along lines. not like its on video or anything :wink:


oh by the way, may as well get this over with John..........

John is affectionately known in the anthracite region as "The Rock Whisperer" because of his ability to stop water from dripping out of the top rock by pushing the drippers back in with his finger, like a sponge..........

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:27 pm 
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Chris,
Let me know when exactly and I will get back to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:19 pm 
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That's correct, I do have a unique skill...may as well let it be known!

Here's a shot from Bob's phone cam today - Huber sans the Foothouse.


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 Post subject: Re: Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:23 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
my guess is the retail pockets go after the main conveyor.

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