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Summit Hill historians disappointed in decision to close Eckley Village

Published November 21. 2009 09:00AM

Members of the Summit Hill Historical Society are disappointed in the state's move to close Eckley Miner's Village and they plan to make their disapproval known through a letter to the Governor and local representatives about this action. The membership at the meeting voted unanimously last evening to send a letter to these officials expressing their unhappiness with the decision.

"We were at Eckley on a field trip and it was such a great representation of how all our ancestors live and if you lose these museums you lose our ability to tell the story of our heritage," said President Maxine Vermillion. "I hate to see our children lose the opportunity to experience places like Eckley."

Members were disappointed to learn the unique museum would be closed for the winter and may not open again in the spring. While everyone realizes budgets are tight, they can't help but wonder if there isn't a better way to handle things. Vermillion pointed out the loss of such museums and cultural attractions is a loss to not only us but our children and grandchildren.

"When I go somewhere like Eckley, I can see and understand what my grandfather's experience was like growing up in a patch town," she said. "There is no other way to fully understand what life was like without places like Eckley."

Other members said they were disappointed in the priorities of the state in that they would so easily shut down a landmark that is a representation of the history and heritage of the entire region.

Historical Society members hope that other societies and organizations throughout northeastern PA will join in voicing their disapproval to their local representatives and the governor over this decision and ask that they reconsider the damage that will be done to the cultural history of the commonwealth if this jewel is lost forever.

Eckley Miner's Village was refurbished and restored in the early 1970's for the film the "Mollie Maguires" before being turned over to the PA Historical and Museum Commission. It is the only known museum to be created from a village in the United States and has hosted cultural lectures, events and festivals each year.

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