The Heritage of the Anthracite American
In the late 1960's, a 'model coal mine' was envisioned as the cornerstone of a project designed to demonstrate that abandoned strip mine land could be reclaimed for public use.
County Commissioners Patrick Mellody, Ed Zipay and Chick Harte embraced a plan to use federal funds to back fill and reforest a 250 acre tract and create a county recreation area.
Congressman Joseph M. McDade persuaded the U.S. Department of [the] Interior to fund the bulk of the project, which became known by 1977 as "McDade Park." The Commonwealth built the largest of three State 'Anthracite Museums' in the Park. And when the U.S. Bureau of Mines began to work on reopening the abandoned & caved underground coal mine, success for the grand plan seemed assured.
However, after several years of work, the project came to a halt. Plagued with cost over-runs and a dwindling supply of federal money, work ceased by 1982. As a result, the Board of Commissioners of Lackawanna County were reluctant to commit local money to an unfinished mine project.
The 'model mine', in which more than $2 million was already invested, sat idle for several years.
With the help of a volunteer 'model mine committee'; the advice of local professionals; the donations from private individuals and companies; crucial grants from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, the Scranton Area Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs; sufficient financial resources from Lackawanna County; and the total commitment of Commissioners Joe Corcoran and Ray Alberigi...
...The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour became a reality on Saturday the 26th day of October, 1985.
[Lower center photo caption reads]
When restoration work began in 1977, few would have predicted the effort it would take to reopen the #190 slope as a tourist attraction. The effort to stabilize the collapsed roof of the entrance would eventually require hundreds of tons of loose rock to be removed — most of it by hand. The area shown here is now underground. It was supported by steel arches and backfilled.
[Upper right photo caption reads]
Ground breaking for the "Shifting Shanty" visitor center on Saturday, September 19th, 1987. P. J. McLain and John Jennings, from Pyramid Construction;
[Lower right photo caption reads]
October 26th, 1985 — The duty to cut the opening day ribbon fell upon Scranton Mayor James Barrett McNulty, Patrick Mellody (son of late Commissioner Patrick Mellody) and sons Pat & Steve, Commissioner Chairman Joseph J. Corcoran, retired Commissioner Edward Zipay and Honorary Foreman Tom Supey, Sr.
Erected by Lackawanna County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Education • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1977.
Location. 41° 25.033′ N, 75° 42.926′ W. Marker is in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in Lackawanna County. Marker is on the deck adjacent to the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour Hoist House, near the mine tour loading area in McDade Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton PA 18504, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Anthracite Coal Fields (here, next to this marker); The Slope 190 Story
Also see . . .
1. Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour. (Submitted on March 17, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Going 300ft Underground - Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour on YouTube. (Submitted on March 17, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. History of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Region. (Submitted on March 17, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 17, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 216 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 17, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.