One of the major selling points of the initiative to make Summit Hill's government "green" through solar power is its educational and historical opportunities, Summit Hill Water Authority officials were told during a recent evening presentation.
"We have the chance to make history here and that will make this project more attractive to everyone," said Manufacturing Resource Center technical services director D. James Marler. He said the proposed location is "not too far from the first coal mine and the site where coal was supposedly discovered" in 1791, an event that fueled the American Industrial Revolution.
"This creates an ideal educational tool. People and students can come to Summit Hill and witness the history of energy from its roots in fossil fuels to its future in renewable energy sources," said Marler. He told the authority officials this is a story the world wants to hear about energy.
According to him, Summit Hill could potentially become the first community in Pennsylvania if not the country running its government totally on a renewable energy source. This opportunity is what the state and federal governments want to promote solar energy.
Marler was referring to the hilltop's history in which Philip Ginder in 1791 either on a hunt or in search of a new millstone for his mill stumbled across the black rocks that would soon become famous as the best quality anthracite coal in the world. It took an accident by a person burning it to realize that a draft all around the chunk of anthracite is what it took to make it burn well.
While coal existed in other locations prior to this discovery it was Ginder's find that led Josiah White and Erskine Hazard to the area to discover this coal on the surface of the ground which several years later resulted in the area's first strip mine and the country's oldest operating deep mine to harvest the precious energy source.
Now 218 years later, Summit Hill will be poised to make history once again as the once leading coal- producing town may become the country's first entirely "green" governed town, if the vision of the Summit Hill Water Authority bears fruit.