Coal Region

Coal Region
Anthracite Coal fields of Pennsylvania.
Anthracite, or hard coal
Counties of the Coal Region of Pennsylvania, known for anthracite mining.

The Coal Region is a term used to refer to an area of Northeastern Pennsylvania in the central Appalachian Mountains comprising Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northumberland, and the extreme northeast corner of Dauphin counties.

The region's population was 890,121 people as of the most recent census. Many of the names in the region are from the Delaware Indians or Lenapes and Susquehanna native American Indians. The region is home to the largest known deposits of anthracite coal found in the Americas, with an estimated reserve of seven billion short tons (PA DEP Website). It is these deposits that provide the region with its nickname. The discovery of anthracite coal was first made in the Schuylkill County by Hunter, Necho Allen.



The Region lies north of the Lehigh Valley and Berks County Regions, south of the Endless Mountains, west of the Pocono Mountains, and east of the Susquehanna Valley, though the Susquehanna River passes through the Wyoming Valley located within the coal region in the central Appalachian Mountains. The Wyoming Valley is the most densely populated area of the region, containing the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Hazleton and Pottsville are two of the larger cities in the southern portion of the region. The headwaters of the Lehigh and Schuylkill Rivers both lie within the region.

History and miscellany

Settlement in the region predates the American Revolution, the discovery of the anthracite coal for which it is named occurred in 1762, and the first mine was established in 1775 near Pittston, PA.[1] Population rapidly grew in the period following the American Civil War, with the expansion of the mining and railroad industries. English, Welsh, Irish and German immigrants formed a large portion of this increase, followed by Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Italian, Russian and Lithuanian immigrants. The influence of these immigrant populations is still strongly felt in the region, with various towns possessing pronounced ethnic characters and ethnic food.

The anthracite mining industry loomed over much of the region until its decline in the 1950s. Strip mines and evidence of mine fires such as the Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire are still visible throughout much of the area. Several of the more violent incidences in the history of the US labor movement occurred within the coal region as this was the location of the Lattimer Massacre and the home of the Molly Maguires.

The Knox Mine Disaster in 1959 essentially served as the death knell for deep mining within the region; almost all current anthracite mining is done via strip mining. Tours of underground mines can be taken in Ashland, Scranton, and Lansford, each of them also having museums dedicated to the mining industry.

Also evident are "patch towns", small villages affiliated with a particular mine. These small towns, with populations typically less than 500, were solely owned by the mine; the resident miners were tenants, the general store was owned by the mining concern, and police were mine employees whose most prominent charge was to protect the coal from theft by the residents. Though no longer company owned, many such hamlets survive; one of them, the Eckley Miners' Village, is a historical park owned and administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which seeks to restore patch towns to their original state.

Famous people from the Coal Region

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Department of Labor|publisher=Mine Safety and Health Administration

External links

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