Thursday, April 17, 2014

Avondale Mine Disaster

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2010

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With all the attention Centralia gets, it’s amazing most people are unaware of other mine fires and disasters.  I admit I had never heard of Avondale until I went looking for a geocache hidden there.  How does a mine disaster site with a 100+ death toll become overlooked?

There are 2 signs along the side of Route 11 in Plymouth that give a brief history of the disaster.  From them it’s a very short walk to the site itself, maybe 1/3 of a mile.

As the signs say, a fire broke out in 1869.  A coal breaker caught fire right by the mine shaft.  Since this shaft was the only entrance, workers became trapped inside.  Suffocation was the cause for many of the 110 deaths, including a few good Samaritans attempting to rescue the trapped miners.  It’s no secret young children were employed in mines during this time period; a few of them were also killed.

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When we visited, it looked like work had recently been done.  An honorary marker had recently been placed, and what appear to have been two planters were also nearby.  Walls and stairs from the mine can be found all around; we also found a few fairly intact buildings a bit down the trail.

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Popularity: 19% [?]

Abandonment in Hazleton

Posted by Stu On August - 12 - 2010

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I admittedly know little about this.  I stumbled upon it one day and snooped around, not really thinking anything about it.  Turns out this is now set for demolition so I figured I’d post it.  The only information I could find was that this allegedly was supposed to have been for the Hazleton Philharmonic.  Like 90% of the other abandonments I’ve seen, the inside has been tagged up, paintballed, and shot up with shotguns.  The walls have also been largely smashed in, a very wise thing to do while standing inside an unstable building.

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Yeah, that about sums it up:

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Popularity: 14% [?]

Route 309 Cow

Posted by Stu On July - 13 - 2010

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It seems for as long as anyone can remember, this giant cow has been standing along Route 309 in Wilkes-Barre Township.  It stands guard in front of an Amish shed shop.  It’s a popular landmark and has apparently had a few paint jobs over the years.

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As you can see, the cow has its own fenced-in area.

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Popularity: 13% [?]

Giant Coffee Mug of Wilkes-Barre

Posted by Stu On July - 13 - 2010

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I’m not really sure how many times I’ve driven by this without giving it too much thought.  Recently I heard this building was to be sold, so I figured I’d check it out before it was possibly razed.

Turns out this was, unsurprisingly, supposed to have been a coffee shop.  The sign for the business is still out in front of the mug.  For whatever reason it never materialized, and the property was put on public auction a few months ago.

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Popularity: 16% [?]

Angela Park

Posted by Stu On July - 10 - 2009

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Angela Park, found just north of Hazleton, operated for over 30 years from the 50’s to the 80’s.  Once it shut down, much of it was leveled, but some remnants can still be found.  Best part is, it’s completely legal to go there.  Even better, you can fish there.

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We first walked through the old parking lot and found some foundations of rides and mini-golf props.

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A large pool is off to the far end of the area.  The fence around it is missing in spots.  The pool is now filled in and has tall weeds growing out of it.

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Track from a train ride.

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Popularity: 22% [?]

Knox Mine Disaster

Posted by Stu On June - 18 - 2009

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The term “coal baron” exists for a reason.  In 1959, the owners of Knox Mine got greedy and had workers dig within 5-6 feet of the Susquehanna’s river bed; 30 feet is the normal stopping distance.  The river broke through the thin rock layer and immediately began to flood the mines.  Luckily, most of the miners managed to escape, but the twelve who didn’t were never found.  Water poured into the mine so rapidly that a whirlpool was visible on the river’s surface.  Anything within reach was thrown into the river to attempt to plug up the hole, including mining carts.
Today, a small marker can be found along a hiking trail in Pittston, memorializing the disaster and those who were never found.  Farther up the trail is another marker, indicating an air shaft that nearly half the escapees used.

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Popularity: 34% [?]

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