Local historical landmark in need of funding
The sunset in Eckley Miner's Village during the winter.
Photo by Erika Reynolds
Eckley Miner’s Village is a small coal mining patch town located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The village is under the control of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and recently there has been buzz about the village being shut down in search of any leftover coal from the inhabitants of the 1800s.
For many locals, Eckley holds endless memories. The nearby town of Freeland utilized Eckley’s rich history as an opportunity to bring all the elementary school children for a field trip to learn about their ancestors of the area. These field trips have been going on for years and only stopped roughly a year ago. Until this point, almost every local within 20 miles had been to Eckley at some point or another.
In addition to field trips, Eckley holds various events completely open to the public for not only the holidays, but for celebration of historical traditions that people of the 1800s would engage in. The carpenter of the town, Thomas Whittaker, has a home in the village and dedicates a lot of time and effort to all the extracurriculars that Eckley hosts.
“It is very important,” Whittaker said when asked about the importance of getting the community involved in saving Eckley. “If we don’t have the attendance, we can’t run. Also, it is important that people see how their lives began around here. It’s the reason Hazleton and its surrounding cities are standing today.”
Whittaker points out that there is in fact a possible reopening in the near future, suggesting that the volunteers will be able to group again and put on their classic Christmas reenactments. With the importance of Eckley gaining some attention, Whittaker also discussed some potential he sees in the village.
“This place is a tourist attraction,” Whittaker added. “Renting the houses as cottages for hunters and skiers and even making the old Sharpe house a bed and breakfast could make use of the empty houses.”
Because of places like Eckley, the communities can stay in touch with their heritage. It is important to respect where they came from by honoring places like this village. There is so much to learn from Eckley Miner’s Village, so come up that mountain for a tour of the museum for yourself. You might be surprised at how interesting it was the live in Eckley in the 1800s.