Carbon County: Stone Coal in the Switzerland of America

Carbon, the primary component of an­thracite coal, is also a county in eastern Pennsylvania – for the same reason. The value of anthracite to the burgeoning industrial revolution of the mid­-nineteenth century created in 1843 a new county from the northern fringes of the once­-immense Northampton County. Beginning in the nine­teenth century, an entire county of coal was carved and moved to...
read more

Drawing from Jack Savitsky’s Sketchbook

The work of Jack Savitsky (1910-1991) is highly prized by aficionados of twentieth century folk art. A native of Schuylkill County, Savitsky drew the subject matter for his art from his own experience as a hard coal miner in north­eastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite region, as well as from the area’s miners and mining villages. Interestingly enough, his paintings and drawings depict a...
read more

Concrete City, Garden Village of the Anthracite Region

The dilapidated buildings stand empty and forlorn at the end of a rutted, overgrown dirt road, isolated from their nearest neighbors. Several bear signs of former use: Registration! Ladders! Extinguishers! Others scream with epithets and slogans – some angry, some sophomoric-of faded causes and bygone radical movements. A swastika affronts visitors. Obscenities abound. There is little...
read more

Bookshelf

Historic Houses of Philadelphia by Roger W. Moss University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998 (256 pages, cloth,$34.95) Sumptuous, a word frequently used by restaurant reviewers and critics of haute cuisine, aptly describes Historic Houses of Philadelphia, the latest fare by Roger W. Moss, known widely for his books on Victorian era architecture and ornamentation. Fifty historic houses, mansions, and...
read more

Life After the Mines Closed

Pennsylvania’s hard coal region, stretching northeast from Tower City, in western Schuylkill County, to Carbondale, in the upper reaches of Lackawanna County, covers five hundred square miles. The region depended almost entirely on the mining of anthracite for a century and a half, beginning with the development of commercial mining operations in the 1820s. Ninety-five percent of the...
read more

Lost and Found

Lost Shamokin, Northumberland County, native William H. Lee (1884-1971) was well known as an architect of theaters and academic buildings, designing more than two hundred movie theaters, including the Victoria Theatre in his hometown. Opened in 1918, Shamokin’s Victoria Theatre – known affectionately by generations of residents as “the Vickie” – was commissioned by...
read more