Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Lackawanna County Coal Mine preserves the remains of the retired Lackawanna Coal Mine, allowing visitors to travel down the mine’s #190 slope as part of hourlong guided tours. Pennsylvania’s Northern Anthracite Coal Field has historically been the home of the largest known anthracite coal deposits in North and South America, containing approximately seven billion tons at the time of the field’s discovery in 1762.
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The first coal mine servicing the area was founded outside of Pittston, Pennsylvania in 1775, and in 1792, the Lehigh Coal Mining Company, which serviced the Philadelphia metropolitan area, was established following the discovery of anthracite coal near Pisgah Ridge, near the border of Schuylkill County and what would be established as Carbon County. The Lehigh Navigation Company, which was established in 1818, merged into the Lehigh Coal Mining Company in 1822 for use as transportation for coal through the Lehigh and Delaware Canals. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the region grew rapidly in population and economy due to the mining industry and the subsequent rise in railroad transportation of coal, but by the 1950s, the industry began to severely decline due to a number of fires and natural disasters, most notably the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster. Though strip mining rose as the dominant means of extracting anthracite coal by the mid-1960s, a number of historical remnants of the area’s coal mining era remain today in the form of patch towns preserved as historical sites and museums operating tours of remaining underground mine slopes.
The Lackawanna County Coal Mine attraction is located within Scranton’s McDade Park, offering an opportunity for visitors to tour the preserved Slope #190, which descends into the Clark Vein coal region. Guided tours are offered daily between April and November, with the exception of the Easter and Thanksgiving holidays. Tickets are available the day of tours at the attraction’s box office, with tours beginning at 10:00am and lasting through the late afternoon. Prior to tours, a short orientation video is shown at the attraction’s interpretive center theater, detailing the history of the slope’s use and mining activity within the Eastern Pennsylvania region.
Tours last approximately one hour, led by former miners who used the slope, and travel 300 feet below the Earth’s surface via mine car. All tours explore the mine’s main gangway area and travel to the Dunmore #1 and Dunmore #2 Veins, exploring a fault room, peg shanty, and other preserved structures within the mine. Tour docents explain the workings and history of the mine through personal anecdotes and explanation of mining methods. The use of small veins, air doors, nippers, and alternate exits is also explored.
A gift shop is offered within the attraction’s interpretive center, offering a variety of souvenirs and gift items, including glazed pieces of anthracite coal and jewelry created from coal pieces. More than 50 varieties of minerals and rocks are also sold, including fossils, arrowheads, and birthstones, and rock collector sets and books are available for purchase. Children’s apparel and souvenirs, books and multimedia related to the history of coal mining, and miner’s scrip currency is also sold.
The mine is kept at a constant temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit year round, and as such, visitors are encouraged to dress in temperature-appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes, though jackets are provided upon request. Slope descent in mine cars takes approximately four minutes, with walking tours spanning a ½-mile route. The tour is mostly handicap accessible, though tour participants with disabilities should contact the attraction via phone or email prior to tours to confirm accessibility needs. Handouts are available for tour participants with hearing disabilities, and sign-language interpreters are welcome to accompany tour participants upon request.
Tour rates for adults, seniors, children, and active military members are offered, with children under the age of three admitted for free with a paying adult ticket. Group tour rates are offered for small groups and organizations of 20 or more, with special tour programming available for elementary and secondary school groups. Deposits are required for tour groups scheduling outside of regular business hours and are non-refundable within 24 hours of tour dates. Souvenir packages and box lunches for tour groups may be arranged through the attraction’s box office.
The Lackawanna County Coal Mine attraction is located within Scranton’s McDade Park, which was created from former coal mine terrain and opened to the public in the 1970s. The park is anchored by the Boundless Playground, opened in 2009, which provides safe play opportunities for children of all ability levels. Near the mine attraction, the park’s Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum features exhibits recounting the history of coal mining in the Eastern Pennsylvania region. Other amenities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool and bath house, a children’s fishing pond, a two-mile running and hiking trail system, and several sporting fields with sporting equipment rental available.
Bald Mountain Road, Scranton, PA 18504, Phone: 800-238-7245