Monday, March 31, 2008

A Small World After All



I was doing some browsing and stumbled on this video that shows my great-uncle's house collapsing into an abandoned coal mine in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Coaldale. A great metaphor for the decline of the region, with a personal twist.

Coal mining was hard work and often lead to a very short life. If you happen to be in the vicinity of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania at some point, I recommend visiting the Eckley Miner's village for an historical perspective on the mining life. My great grandfather was fortunate, as he was able to run his own contract mining crew (not bad for someone that arrived in the US without any adults around the age of 10, speaking only Russian), though he ultimately died of mining related lung disease. My grandfather was doubly fortunate, as he was able to leave the region without working in the mines and before the economic base collapsed.

I don't know who posted the YouTube videos on Coaldale, but they are quite interesting on a personal level. In the business and church video, you can see a quick snapshot of St. Mary's Russian Orthodox church, which my great grandfather helped to build. The last time I was there was for a funeral when I was a child, but I believe it is still there and still functioning. This video is also a neat reminder of what small town America used to be like.

1 comment:

Diane R said...

Hi Greg,

Glad to see you endorsing a visit to Eckley. It's a wonderful place and their special events such as Patch Days and Heritage Days (noted on the web site) are well worth it. I'm in the coal region once or twice a year in a variety of seasons, but Eckley is always worth it!

Diane R
Coal region writer/researcher