Cel­e­brate 250th an­niver­sary of an­thracite

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Hap­pyNewYear from Schuylkill Coun­tyVisi­tors Bureau! We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing in part­ner­ship to serve both our mem­bers and the com­mu­ni­ty­while mar­ket­ing Schuylkill County as an Amer­i­can orig­i­nal to the world out­side our door.

Schuylkill County is most cer­tainly an Amer­i­can orig­i­nal and one of the rea­sons is our rich history, specif­i­cally our an­thracite history and all that it en­com­passes. You might be think­ing, “Yeah Gina, big deal. Tell us some­thingwe don’t al­ready know.” Wellmy friends, it is a big deal. Es­pe­cially this year be­cause 2018 is the 250th an­niver­sary of an­thracite!

Yesmy friends, 2018 is the 250th an­niver­sary of an­thracite in the hard coal re­gion of Penn­syl­va­nia. All the spe­cific in­for­ma­tion and de­tails for the year­long re­gional cel­e­bra­tions of the quar­ter- mil­len­nial can be found at www. 250thanthracite Regina Gargano an­niver­sary. org and on the Face­book page, “250th An­niver­sary of An­thracite.” As the in­vi­ta­tion to cel­e­brate reads, “It all be­gan in 1768 with Con­necti­cut black­smith Oba­diah Gore Jr. re­turn­ing to theWy­oming Val­ley near present- day Pittston, Penn­syl­va­nia, an area then claimed by both Penn­syl­va­nia and Con­necti­cut. Through his con­tin­u­ing ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, he proved by forced draft that our lo­cal stone coal at­tained a very high, even heat, which is ideal for in­dus­trial use. In that Age of Sci­en­tific En­light­en­ment, word and news­pa­per ac­counts spread the ex­cite­ment of his dis­cov­ery. This was the ig­ni­tion spark that launched our An­thracite min­ing and iron in­dus­tries through­out North­east­ern and Cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia and later, our unique sys­tem of canals and rail­roads— all, which even­tu­ally led to us.”

The quar­ter- mil­len­nial is be­ing cel­e­brated and rec­og­nized by “The Peo­ple of the Black Di­a­mond” ( mean­ing us) through­out the en­tire hard coal re­gion of Penn­syl­va­nia in a va­ri­ety of ways. The Schuylkill County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has nu­mer­ous events and ac­tiv­i­ties planned through­out 2018, in­clud­ing a brand newMolly Maguires ex­hibit com­mem­o­rat­ing the “Day of the Rope” and the an­thracite ex­hibit in its Schuylkill Gallery.

The Tamaqua His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety is home to a full cal­en­dar of monthly ex­hibits and events, in­clud­ing its an­nual pre­sen­ta­tion of the “Day of the Rope” dur­ing the Tamaqua Her­itage Fes­ti­val in Oc­to­ber. Our part­ners to the north at Eck­ley Min­ers’Vil­lage Mu­seum are gear­ing up to cel­e­brate the 250th an­niver­sary of coal and the 50th an­niver­sary of the film­ing of Para­mount Pic­tures’ “The Mol­lyMaguires” with two film screen­ings, a cast re­union, a Sean Con­nery mus­tache con­test and a va­ri­ety of spe­cial events dur­ing Patch Town Days fes­ti­val, just to name a few.

T his quar­ter- mil­len­nial cel­e­bra­tion of an­thracite is so much more than the min­ing in­dus­try. So very much more, folks. It’s a cel­e­bra­tion of peo­ple. Peo­ple and their lives. Their art forms. Their foods and bev­er­ages. Their mu­sic and sto­ries and laugh­ter. Their­wor­ship. Their toil and strife. Their con­tri­bu­tions to the in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion and the la­bor in­dus­try aswe knowit to­day. Their love and gen­eros­ity. Schuylkill County’s an­thracite history and its an­thracite peo­ple mimic the Amer­i­can “melt­ing pot” quite beau­ti­fully. We have some­how­man­aged to keep the au­then­tic tra­di­tions, foods, mu­sic, bev­er­ages, cel­e­bra­tions and churches of our an­ces­tors over 250 years ago sur­pris­ingly in­tact and vis­i­tors love it.

Vis­i­tors to our county en­joy an au­then­tic cultural her­itage ex­pe­ri­ence like no oth­er­while vis­it­ing Pi­o­neer Tun­nel Coal Mine & Steam Train, Yuengling Brew­ery, Gi­rardville’s St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade, Shenan­doah’s Kiel­basi Fes­ti­val, Pottsville’s Block of Art, theWalk In Art Cen­ter’s FolkArt & Culi­nary Fes­ti­val, Lithua­nian Days, Cel­e­brate Schuylkill’s Spirit of the Hol­i­days tour and many other tourism in­dus­try part­ners. Our unique blend of small towns, scenic moun­tains, abun­dant out­door recre­ation and de­li­cious re­gional fare keep vis­i­tors com­ing back and more im­por­tantly, telling oth­ers.

If you be­long to a group or or­ga­ni­za­tion that­would like to par­tic­i­pate in the quar­ter­mil­len­nial cel­e­bra­tion, please con­tact The 250th An­niver­sary of An­thracite Board and Sup­port­ers at coalpix@ ya­hoo. com or­www. hard­coalchron­i­cles. com.

Fi­nally, you can go to our web­site atwww. schuylkill. org to sign up for our e- news­let­ter, viewour cal­en­dar of events and pe­ruse our on­line maps and re­sources.

You can also stop by the vis­i­tors cen­ter and pick up the brand new2018Visi­tors Guide, Schuylkill River Trail Map and North­east Penn­syl­va­nia Hik­ing and Bik­ing Trails Map in an­tic­i­pa­tion of spring. We look for­ward to a newyear full of op­por­tu­ni­ties towork along­side you!

( Gargano is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Schuylkill County

Vis­i­tors Bureau)

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