Located in Wthe Poconos, Pennsylvania, Eckley Miners’ Village is a 73 acre historic coal mining town. Eckley Miners’ Village is the perfect location to explore the historic and cultural significance of coal mining and the people who were involved in it. Prior to the 1850s, Eckley was known as Shingletown. Shingletown was rural and was known as a forest community. Tench Coxe Estate, who were the owners of Shingletown, used Shingletown as a place to manufacture shingles.
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In 1853, Richard Sharpe, Asa Lansford Foster, Francis Weiss, and John Leisenring traveled to Shingletown with the intent to explore the land in search for coal. The men found an abundance of coal in Shingletown and decided to create a company, which is known as Sharpe, Weiss, and Company. The primary owner of the Tench Coxe Estate, Judge Charles Coxe, decided to give the four men a lease on his establishment, so they could operate as coal miners. One year later, the men started working.
Within the first year of operations, the company made many advancements in the coal mining industry. Firstly, they created a saw mill to supply the town with their own lumber. Then, they began creating a small village where coal miners could rest and spend their free time. Initially, the town was named Fillmore. A few decades after, the town was renamed Eckley to honor Eckley B. Coxe, who was Judge Charles Coxe’s son.
Eckley’s first inhabitants primarily came from Great Britain. This community of English and Welsh immigrants were mostly made of coal miners. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s, Irish farmers began immigrating to Eckley. Then from the 1880s to 1890s, Eastern and Southern European immigrants moved to Eckley. Many immigrants who came to Eckley throughout the mid to late 1880s traveled with the intent of working long and hard hours in coal mines, which would allow them to make and save enough money to eventually purchase their own land and resume their old career and lifestyle as farmers. Unfortunately, few people were able to successfully carry out this dream since it was hard to rise from poverty and leave the company system.
Eckley Miners’ Village has a variety of historical attractions, which tell the history of the Village and the people who lived there.
Visitors’ Center was established in 1975. Every Eckley tour starts with an orientation and brief background of Eckley, which takes place at the Visitors’ Center. Some of the highlights of the Visitors’ Center includes a small exhibit hall, resemblance of the schoolhouse that used to sit at the site of the Visitors’ Center, and a movie presentation.
Immaculate Conception Church was established in 1861 and is a Catholic Church located on the poorer side of Eckley Miners’ Village. Irish immigrants primarily used this Church. The inside of the Church resembles what it looked like during the 1920s, as it was restored.
Eckley Sports and Social Club was established in 1946 and was used as a social hotspot for the residents of Eckley. Today, people still visit and use the club.
Slate Picker’s House was established in 1854 and is located on Back Street. The Slate Picker’s House is comprised of three rooms, which Irish immigrants occupied upon their arrival. The house is named after the position many men had who stayed here. Slate men were laborers who organized slate from the coal. This job paid the least among any other job in the village.
Laborer’s Dwelling was also built in 1854 and served as another residence for workers. Each structure was comprised of two half houses. Up to fifteen people would live in one half house. Each half house was comprised of 1.5 levels and four rooms, including a kitchen and a bedroom for a family.
Company Store was originally built in 1857, and then rebuilt during the 1960s by Paramount Studies for a movie. Although there were privately owned stores who had the cheapest prices in the area, miners were mostly required to purchase anything from the company store.
St. James Episcopal Church was built in 1859 and was the primary church for Welsh, German, and English residents who were Episcopalian.
Since visiting Eckley Miners’ Village is an educational opportunity within itself, there is a minimal amount of educational opportunities at the Village. While visitors are allowed to explore the Visitors’ Center by themselves, they are required to participate in a guided tour to explore the rest of the village. Eckley Miners’ Village offers a variety of general and specialized guided tours, which focus on different aspects of the Village.
2 Eckley Main St. Weatherly, PA 18255, Phone: 570-636-2070