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 Post subject: Preservation society continunes after losing Huber Breaker
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:16 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Preservation society continunes mission after losing Huber Breaker
By Paul Golias (Correspondent)
Published: September 24, 2013

The Huber Breaker Preservation Society is forging ahead on its mission to save important historic buildings and artifacts, even if the breaker itself can't be restored and maintained.

The society will continue developing the Miners' Memorial Park on South Main Street in Ashley, and the name of the society will remain unchanged for now, according to actions taken at the society's recent meeting.

A major fundraiser is being planned for Friday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. at Hanover Area Junior-Senior High School auditorium. The new film, "Tales of the Molly Maguires," will be shown and the $5 admission fees collected will go toward development of the park. The Molly Maguires were miners who fought against the tyranny of the mine owners.

A monument to anthracite miners of Northeastern Pennsylvania was dedicated on Memorial Day and further work on the 3.1-acre site will take place this year and into 2014, said Ray Clarke, chairman of the board of the preservation society.

Clarke said everyone is invited to attend the showing. He lauded the Newport Community Organization for offering to support the showing. The Eckley Players, who are in the film, will take part, Clarke said. Hanover Area is not charging for use of the auditorium, he said.

"Tales of the Molly Maguires" was created by Jim Burke of Bear Creek, a co-founder of the Anthracite Heritage Society and a key figure in the filming of "The Molly Maguires" at Eckley 40 years ago.

Burke, Bob Wolensky, a college history professor in Wisconsin, and Don Sanderson, a Wilkes-Barre architect, had talked to Clarke about making a token bid of perhaps $25,000 for eight acres and the breaker. The last-ditch plan to save the Huber Breaker for posterity was sidetracked when a Philadelphia salvage dealer bid $1.28 million for purchase of the breaker and 26.58 acres of land.

Burke said the court would have been asked to bifurcate, or divide, the property into two parcels, one of eight acres and one of about 18 acres. Creditors would still get a return as the 18 acres would have higher value absent the cost of tearing down the breaker, Burke said.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale to Paselo Logistics LLC. A final court order is due shortly.

The society also hopes to rebuild the powder house and to construct a small museum/movie theater and a more ambitious plan would involve recreating a company house of the type that miners' families rented from the coal companies. Clarke hopes to obtain one or two coal cars of the type used in the mines and these will be placed on trackage in the park.

A new 60-foot flagpole has been donated by Mideast Aluminum, Clarke announced, and the base should be installed this fall.

A work session will be held at the park on Saturday, Oct. 5, starting at 9 a.m. Clarke said pavers will be installed to set the grade that will determine the level of the walking trail running from the monument around the tract. Kiosks will be installed along the trail to explain various aspects of coal mining.

For now, visitors to the memorial park can observe and photograph the breaker. Sadly, Clarke said, one day only kiosks will provide a glimpse of what the breaker looked like.

No. 1 Contracting Co., from which the society once hoped to obtain the breaker, had been in bankruptcy since March 5, 2010. The case began as a chapter 11 proceeding but was changed to chapter 7 which calls for liquidation of assets and payments to creditors.

Opened in 1939, the breaker was named after Charles F. Huber, chairman of Glen Alden Coal Co., predecessor to Blue Coal. It replaced the Maxwell Breaker built in 1895. The Huber mine and breaker employed 1,700 people at its peak. The coal was sold throughout the eastern United States and most was hauled out by the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which had a major yard adjacent to the colliery. The breaker was owned and operated briefly by Lucky Strike Coal Co. before its sale to No. 1 Contracting.

The preservation society, formed 22 years ago, wanted to promote civic and political interest in turning the breaker into a living museum. It was hoped it and the Ashley Planes Heritage Park would be key links in the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

Scott K
"Watch Your Top"

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