Northeastern Pennsylvania is full of unique things to do. Some of these things celebrate the heritage and history of the area, while others are simply activities that you can’t find anywhere else. Of course, there are a few that fit both categories, like the Lackawanna Coal Mine tour and the Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces. Both are located in McDade Park, at 1 Bald Mountain Road in Scranon, PA. The Lackawanna Coal Mine was an actual working mine that has been turned into a museum site. The entire site features coal furnaces, a miners’ camp, a museum, and area archives, among other things.
Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour
The coal mine tour takes place both on foot and in a mine car. The mine car takes you below the surface and into the mine. Once you reach a point that is 300 feet down, known as “the foot” you can explore, literally, on foot. This part of the mine dates back to 1860 when it first opened, so you are walking in the footsteps of some of Pennsylvania’s original miners. The tour takes place every day from April 1st through November 30th, and is closed on certain major holidays. There is a fee to take the tour, and tickets are sold in advance. Since the inner temperature of the mine runs around 53 degrees no matter the time of year, dress accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.
Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces
The Anthracite Heritage Museum is near the coal mine and the iron furnaces in McDade Park. The museum has several old coal mine cars and a steam locomotive on display, as well as pictures of the people who mined for coal in the area and some of the objects that they used or owned. Other local industries, such as silk and lace manufacturing, are represented in the museum as well. There are also a number of Native American artifacts that predate the coal-mining period.
The iron furnaces are outside of the museum and can be reached by car or by trolley. The trolly originates from the Electric City Trolley Museum, and is a great way to reach the site, since you can take in even more local history on the trip over. Once you reach the Iron Furnaces, which are actually blast furnaces made of stones, and are all that remains of the once-thriving Lackawanna Steel and Iron Company. They are a part of the Steamtown National Historic Site.
Other Related Events
The Anthracite Heritage Museum hosts a number of events throughout the year. They are related to coal mining and cover both historical events and literary interpretations of the lives of coal miners. There is also a summer day camp for children between the ages of 7 and 12, called the Anthracite Camp. The camp lasts for several days and teaches attendees about the different forms of energy via a series of fun, related activities.
The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, Anthracite Heritage Museum and the Iron Furnaces provide a number of activities for all ages. Adults will be interested in the museum and its history, while children can take a ride on the trolley, see the exhibits, and take part in some of the age-appropriate activities. Both will enjoy a trip down into a coal mine, which is something that you cannot do everywhere in the United States.
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