Legends of the Mines

Legends of the Mines
(by Michael Havrischak, The Valley Gazette, October 1976)

During Coaldale’s recent Labor Day Bicentennial Hobbies and Crafts Show, I had the privilege of having a mini-mining display. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with many people, both young and old, who are sincerely interested in learning about our anthracite mining heritage. One can also hear some interesting stories from others.

Looking back, I remember that once I was told that I was crazy for being interested in preserving and learning about our mining past. The person said, “Nobody would care about it anyway; forget the past.”

Fortunately, I paid no heed to that bit of advice, and persevered. Now it is fashionable to be interested in such things. Unfortunately, the lack of foresight by many has already helped destroy much of our past identity.

After deep mining ceased in the Panther Valley, for too many years it was frowned upon if one said they were a coal miner. No honors were paid to those hard-working men. Now we can see throughout many anthracite towns the dedication of such things as lumps of coal or mine cars as memorials to the coal miners. One can only wonder what will happen when the coal loses its shine and crumbles apart and when the Bicentennial fervor ceases. Will the sacred memory of these humble miners be carried on, or will they again be the forgotten men?