Eckley Miners’ Village engages diverse audiences by preserving and telling the story of anthracite coal mining, the social and physical history of patch towns and their residents, and the evolution of regional culture. Eckley Miners’ Village is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is actively supported by the Eckley Miners’ Village Associates, which is a non-profit community-based organization.
Eckley Miners’ Village – A village frozen in time.
Founded in 1854, Eckley is an example of a planned nineteenth century coal mining town. It is a community, or coal “patch town,” which provided mining families with the basic necessities such as housing and medical care, as well as basic amenities like a store, a school and churches. Companies often designed and constructed industrial communities to house their employees in close proximity to the collieries, or mining operations, for which they worked. Such mining towns were built to attract other mining families to live and work among the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania. The company greatly influenced the lives of its village residents and each family member faced challenges every day. The way in which they faced these challenges is the history of the region that is studied, preserved and interpreted.
Coal is why they came.
Many immigrants who came to America hoped to work in the mines just long enough to save money, buy land and return to the farming lifestyle they had known in Europe. However, once they became part of the company-owned system, very few were able to escape the years of poverty and hardship that faced them. Despite these challenges, many immigrants were able to achieve marginal improvements, not only to their lives, but to the lives of descendants.
The story of the Eckley village and the people who lived and worked in it is one of dynamic economic and social change. Beginning more than 160 years ago, it exemplified the clamor and conflict of the anthracite coal industry, which almost singlehandedly fueled the early stages of America’s industrial revolution.
Remembering the time when coal was king.
Today, Eckley is a museum representing the lives of the immigrant anthracite coal miners and their families. Come for a visit and experience life in northeastern Pennsylvania coal patch towns during the time when coal was an essential industrial fuel. Visit the Visitors’ Center exhibitions, take a guided tour, plan a trip around a living history event, and learn more about housing and daily lives within the village.