The Infrastructure of Coal Mining


"This is a sequestered, romantic place, apparently as far out of the world as one would ever desire to be.  Great coal breakers are upon the right hand and the left, and the dark, yawning pits, the entrance to the subterranean passages traversed by the coal diggers, are seen in every direction.  Mountains of coal dust, the refuse of the breakers, project into the valley and give a sombre hue to everything.  Even the leaves upon the trees become darkened by the coal dust, and black, turbid streams wind among the rocks and from out dingy caverns in which they originate."


The mines at Heckersville, PA
The mines at Heckersville, PA
 
An air funnel to provide ventilation for the mines
An air funnel to provide ventilation for the mines
 
(These were furnaces that burned in the mine to create a draft, which then brought air into the mine from other openings.  Small boys sometimes were hired as "trapper boys" to operate the trap doors in the ventilation shafts.)
A building for loading coal cars
A building for loading coal cars
The 25 mile-long "Gravity Road" to the mines
The 25 mile-long "Gravity Road" to the mines
 
A panoramic view of barges being loaded at the coal depot at Port Carbon