The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the commonwealth’s official history agency, invites the public to explore Eckley Miners’ Village and other state-owned historic sites along the Pennsylvania Trails of History for free on Sept. 24.
Eckley will host author Mitch Troutman, who will read from his new book, “The Bootleg Coal Rebellion: The Pennsylvania Miners Who Seized an Industry, 1925-1942.” The book tells the story of Depression-era anthracite miners who secretly dug coal on company property to support their families through the worst economic crisis in U.S. history.
Troutman draws timely lessons from the firsthand accounts of bootleg miners and the unlikely labor union that they formed, demonstrating how anthracite communities today can find inspiration in their histories to meet contemporary challenges.
The program will also feature rare archival footage of bootleg coal mining. Troutman’s talk will begin at 2 p.m. in the Eckley Visitors’ Center auditorium, located at 2 Eckley Main St., Weatherly.
Eckley will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Walking tours of the historic village will be available.
Visitors may also explore Eckley’s exhibit hall, including a restored, hand-built coal cracker dating to the 1930s.
Built from recycled materials by a former Eckley resident, the coal cracker was used to process scavenged coal and offers unique insights into everyday survival strategies during the heyday of bootleg mining.
Eckley Miners’ Village is the United States’ most intact 19th-century anthracite mining company town. Preserving more than 200 structures built as early as the 1850s, Eckley tells the story of anthracite coal mining, the history of patch towns and their residents, and the evolution of regional culture.
Eckley is located 12 miles from the I-80/I-81 junction.