Pennsylvania's No. 9 Coal Mine Holds Annual Labor Day Event
By Lindsey Bowman
September 8, 2020 - The No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum in Lansford, Pennsylvania held its annual Labor Day Weekend Picnic and Civil War Living History event on Sunday. The event provided a lot for attendees to do such as tour the No. 9 Coal Mine, browse the artifacts at the museum and visit the Civil War encampment area.
The event also sold homemade coal region foods unique to the area such as pierogies, halupki, halushki, bean soup and sausage sandwiches. There was a fee to tour the museum and mine as well as to make food and gift shop purchases, yet general admission to the grounds and parking were free. Mask usage and social distancing were encouraged due to COVID-19.
For those interested in local history, the No. 9 Coal Mine tour was a great opportunity to learn more about the coal mining region. The No. 9 Coal Mine was in operation from 1855 until 1972, making it the longest continuously operated anthracite coal mine in the world. Now it stands as a museum to educate the public about the local heritage as well as inform people about the lives and working conditions that coal miners faced.
The inside of the No. 9 Coal Mine.
A tour stop named "The Mule Way" which was used as passageways for young boys to lead mules hauling coal carts through the different levels of the mine.
A section of the No. 9 Coal Mine seen on the tour.
The tour of the mine began with a train ride taking passengers 1,600 feet into the mountain and 190 feet underground. Afterward, the group embarked on a 600-foot tour on foot led by one of the tour guides.
Despite sunny, 80-degree weather aboveground, participants of the tour were encouraged to wear light jackets or sweaters considering the temperature underground was roughly 50 degrees. Notable stops during the tour included a 900-foot-deep mining shaft that brave guests could look down, a passage called “mule way” where young boys used to lead mules hauling coal carts through the mines and an original underground mining hospital.
Upon coming back aboveground, guests could visit the museum, which contained a number of artifacts relevant to the coal mining region. These artifacts included tools, equipment and household goods that belonged to the actual workers of the coal mine. By reading these displays, participants could learn a lot about the lives of the local coal miners.
Aside from the coal mine tours, history fans could also visit the Civil War Living History Encampment held on the museum grounds. Participants were able to view authentic-looking tents that were set up as well as discuss aspects of the Civil War with well-versed re-enactors dressed as if they came straight out of the 1860s. Their purpose in holding the encampment was to educate and teach the public about lesser-known truths surrounding the Civil War as well as exhibit the lifestyles of the people from the years 1861-1865.
The No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum runs from the beginning of April until the end of November from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Days of operation are Friday-Sunday during April, October and November and Wednesday-Sunday during May, June, July, August and September. For more information, call their number at 570-645-7074 or visit their website at https://no9minemuseum.wixsite.com/museum.