Eckley Miners' Village
2 Eckley Main Street
Weatherly, PA 18255
(570) 636-2070

During the nineteenth century hundreds of company mining towns or "patches" were built in Pennsylvania's anthracite region. In 1854, the mining firm of Sharpe, Leisenring and Company leased land from the Trench Coxe estate of Philadelphia, and began work on Council Ridge Colliery (coal mine) and the village to support it, Eckley.

Eckley provided the housing, schools, stores and churches for the miners and their families, and by owning the village, the company had greater control over the lives of its workers.

In 1875, after the company lease expired, the Coxe family either operated the mine themselves or leased it to other companies. Many immigrants came here around this time, creating a broad ethnic mosaic in Eckley that was typical of the anthracite region in general. The town reached a population of about a thousand, but with new mining techniques and equipment being introduced, the population dwindled to a mere twenty inhabitants by the end of the century.

Coal is now strip-mined at the outskirts of the village, but the old Council Ridge Colliery is gone. Eckley was a company town until 1971, when it was deeded to the Commonwealth. Today some fifty people call Eckley home.

While most of the buildings are private residences or businesses, a number are open to the public and can be included as part of a Walking Tour through this neat little town. The Visitor's Center, where a tour begins, features a slide-show orientation and a number of interesting exhibits on the history of Eckley and life in the mining towns throughout the anthracite region.

Visitors can see more than twenty-three historic sites and structures on the tour. Of these, three can be toured with a guide, and several others are under development. Open buildings include the Church of the Immaculate Conception (1862); the Miners' Double Dwelling (1854), furnished as it was when miners lived in it; St. James' Protestant Episcopal Church (1859). The Company Store, built in 1869 as a prop for the movie, The Molly Maguires, is open during summer months. Among several other movie props is a "breaker," a trestled wooden structure used to size coal and break the chunks into marketable pieces.

A tour is educational, really a step back into time. Eckley makes for a nice family outing or a great field trip for School Groups.

Eckley also features a number of special events throughout the year, including Charter Day, when admission to all state museums is free. During the summer a great Civil War Encampment is re-enacted at Eckley, dramatizing an 1863 occupation by the Union Army to quell draft resistance.

Hours: Open Monday - Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm; Sundays 12 - 5. Closed holidays except Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
Adults $4.00
Seniors $3.50
Children (6-12) $2.00
Additional charge for Guided Tours and for Special Events.
School Groups $1.00 per student.
Group Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance.
Lunch: Picnic area available.
Handicapped Access: Partial. Call with your needs.
Directions: Rt. 9 PA Tpke. Ext. North to I-80 West. Exit at White Haven and turn left onto Rt. 940. Go 6 miles to Freeland, turn left at Auto Exchange. 3 miles to Eckleys. 60 - 90 minutes north of Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.