Monday, November 9, 2009

Eckley Miners Village in the Snow

"Apple" made a comment on my last entry that she also enjoyed the Heritage sites scattered across Pennsylvania, in particular, one she had visited called Eckley Miners Village near Hazelton. That brought back memories for me. I was working at Susquehanna Nuclear Plant near Berwick, PA, in the Susquehanna River Valley, and on my day off, I drove a short distance to Eckley and took one of my favorite photos shown below.

From Life's Journey
Incidentally, my friend, Jon, recently re-acquainted me with the beauty of Black and White photos and Sepia-toned images- even for nature shots (and coal tipples).

What you are seeing here is a coal tipple. Coal was hauled to the top of the slanted conveyor belt and then dumped though giant sieves to "size" the crushed coal. Before the turn of the 20th century, boys were hired to cull the slate, which was a waste product, from the usable and more valuable coal. The teen aged, or even younger, boys were called "breaker boys".

Several years ago, a friend of my late father, told me that the smaller coal tipples around Ramey in Clearfield County, PA, made great "Jungle Gyms" in the old days. He told me that my Dad would take his waist belt off, loop it over one of the supporting steel cables of the tipple, and then, hanging onto the loose ends of the belt, slide and ride the cable all the way down to the ground. "He was a real dare devil" my Dad's friend recalled.

Muddy coal mine tipple, Muddy, Illinois. Song by Rocky Alvey. Youtube video

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