Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Patch Town in Pennsylvania

I visited a coal patch town recently. 
And until then, I had no idea what a patch town was. 
It's a company owned town - in this case owned by a coal mining company.

Patch Town Chimneys at Eckley Miners' Village

In the 1900s Pennsylvania had more patch towns than any other state in the country. 
That's a piece of history I never knew. 

St James Episcopal Church, 1858 in Eckley Miners' Village

The company provided the miners and their families 
with housing and medical care 
as well as 
a school, churches and a company store. 

This company store was rebuilt for use in the movie The Molly Maquires, 1970.

Here's the catch- At the company store where the miners were obligated to make their purchases, 
the prices were ~15% higher than at non patch town stores. 

The Coal Breaker, also rebuilt for the movie, would have been 3 x larger than this. 

While the town today is beautiful with
green grass and blue skies, 
it is hard to imagine the darkness the would have enveloped it
during times of operation. 

Coal Storage

This town, Eckley Miners' Village, 
operated as recently as 1984. 
Some of the guides are descendants of the coal working families
who lived in this village. 

Making Lace

Now I need to go pick up The Mollie Maguires movie 
from the library which was filmed in this town. 

2 Eckley Backroad 
Weatherly, PA 18255 

If you would like to see more of my images 
from the village, click here

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Andy said...

Great reminder of Pennsylvania's past history.

MadSnapper said...

it is a beautiful place and a sad time in our history for the people who had to work in the mines and live in the houses and pay all their money to the company stores. I am glad they have some of them working there. KY has a lot of these places and might even have a few still working

MadSnapper said...

oh my, I hit the mother load at this site and the reason I know about the KY is because I lived in Eastern Ky in the 50's and daddy had coal miners in his church he pastored.

Melissa said...

Wow, that is cool! I'm familiar with company towns such as Gary, IN, but I've never seen one preserved in time like this.

Alicia said...

Beautiful photographs and great history. I never knew any of this either. What do they residents do now? I'm assuming the mine is no longer in operation?

Sarah Huizenga said...

I had no idea what a patch town was either, thanks for educating us. I have heard of company towns before, and I have read that about company stores, you stay indebted for life.

Tamar SB said...

What a cool thing! I'd never heard of this!

Suburban Girl said...

Only some of the homes are occupied and the occupants are employees of the historical village.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is cool! I'm familiar with company towns such as Gary, IN, but I've never seen one preserved in time like this.