Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sheppton Mine Disaster Site

Posted by Stu On January - 24 - 2012

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In August of 1963, three miners were stuck 330 feet below the ground when the Sheppton mine caved in.  Two of the miners stuck together and waited two weeks for rescue, initially eating tree bark and sucking water out of the bark for survival.  Within a week, holes were drilled to them that allowed air, food, water, and the beginnings of a rescue.  One miner, Louis Bova, was never seen again, despite making contact with his two coworkers, and his body was never recovered.

I first heard about the Sheppton mine disaster from a principal in a nearby school where I was doing some observation hours.  I was told a memorial could be found along a main road in Sheppton.  It surprised me that I had never heard of this mine disaster before, and it was more confusing that there was little information regarding its location.  I was determined to find it on my own, so one day in May 2011 I decided to make a small trip out of it; in addition I decided to check out and geocache in a few surrounding towns I had never been to before:  Sheppton, Oneida, and Brandonville.

Sheppton and Oneida are right next to each other, and each is just a few blocks long; the mine site was between the two towns.  I drove around and found no roadside monuments.  Sheppton actually reminded me of Children of the Corn, to be honest; most of the buildings on the main street are vacant, and I saw nothing but groups of kids walking around.  Down one road, however, I saw the following sign, and I figured that was a good starting point:

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I parked near this sign and simply started roaming the field behind it.  For a little while there was a path, but it served little good since it went right into a pond:

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I walked across a rocky stream because I thought I saw another trail to my side:

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Following this path a bit, I saw something off in the distance:

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This monument was certainly not just off a main road, but rather a good distance off a back road.  Still found it all by myself.  It’s much more a grave than a memorial for a mine disaster, however.  It’s dedicated to Louis Bova, the miner who could not be found.

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Popularity: 24% [?]

Grave of Beth Doe

Posted by Stu On August - 12 - 2010

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Who is Beth Doe?  This question has remained unanswered since December of 1976, when a woman’s body, cut up and stuffed into 3 suitcases, was tossed from a bridge along Route 80 near White Haven.  There was no identification on her.  There were no leads.  Nobody ever reported anyone as missing.  She was labeled as Beth Doe, and she and her baby (she was pregnant at the time of her murder) were buried in a potter’s field in Weatherly.

To this day, nobody has any idea who she was.  In 2007, Doe’s body was exhumed to see if modern technology could help identify her.  A few possible leads arose, but her identity remains a mystery.

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Directly behind Beth is a Baby Jane Doe:

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Popularity: 15% [?]

Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery

Posted by Stu On December - 29 - 2009

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Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery is the oldest in the US that’s run by an animal welfare group.  We originally came here because we read about a few celebrities’ pets being interred here, but it’s an impressive place so we stayed a while.  Some sections are especially old and showing their age.

There were 2 particular graves that we came here for, and all I had to do was turn around to find the first one:

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Igloo was Admiral Richard Byrd’s terrier and was there on his expedition to the South Pole, hence the iceberg-shaped stone.

On the way down the path to try and find our second goal, we sidetracked quite a bit and just walked around.

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After a while, we came across our next objective – Lizzie Borden’s dogs are buried here as well.

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We poked around a bit more, then headed for Rhode Island.

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Popularity: 17% [?]

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% [?]

Stockton Mine Disaster

Posted by Stu On June - 18 - 2009

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Stockton Mine was like any other anthracite mine in northeastern PA until one early morning in 1869, when some of the ground above the mine suddenly collapsed.  A few homes were swallowed up, and nobody inside had time to escape.  The rift kept growing, and the buildings that fell into the mine were buried almost as instantly as they had fallen.

Rescue was just about impossible; there was no way to get close with the ground continuing to sink.  A few bodies were recovered, but many were not.  Today, a memorial which also serves as a gravestone marks the site of the disaster and names the people who are still buried there.  One was a Civil War veteran.

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Popularity: 31% [?]

Duffy’s Cut

Posted by Stu On June - 18 - 2009

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In the summer of 1832, Philip Duffy, a railroad contractor, hired 57 Irish immigrants on the docks of Philadelphia.  They were to fill in a ravine near present-day Malvern so rails for a new track could be laid.  They began their task, but only 6 weeks later all 57 were dead.  History blames a cholera outbreak, but cholera generally only has a 50% death rate.  Local legend claims that some, if not all, were murdered.  The locals at the time had a high prejudice of Catholicism and of immigrants.

Whatever happened to them, they were quickly buried in a shallow ditch with no ceremony.  In the 1870’s, a small fence was set up around what people thought was the mass grave site; it turned out to be the wrong spot.  By the 1910’s, it was discovered that at least part of the grave was now under the tracks; some time prior, the railroad had the track reset.  Papers reporting the deaths of the workers were found in the 1970’s, hidden in a vault.  The events at Duffy’s Cut were almost completely lost to history.  The area didn’t even get a historical marker until 2004.

The marker is at the intersection of King and Sugartown.  A few blocks away is the mass grave, which is currently being examined by archaeologists.

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Popularity: 27% [?]

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