WILLOW LAKE

Back in the early 60’s, while I was still in High School, I was told about a place named Willow Lake that was up North of here in Schuylkill Haven.  This was about all I knew, so I had forgotten about it until one day last week when the Wife and I got into having a conversation about the Lake.

Eileen was born & raised in Minersville, a small Coal Mining town, that was not too far away.  Since she was in HS about the same time as me, she told me about this place that she & her friends went to a few times.  Willow Lake was a swimming pool where a whole lot of local people & teenagers went to swim, dance, and have a good time.  Every Saturday night a Band named The Jordon Brothers, played here.  Music from the 60’s were their specialty.  Everyone loved them.  The Lake not only had swimming & dancing, but it also had a Stand for Hot Dogs, FF, Hambergers, Soda,  and Candy for everyone.  Since, I was never able to go there, I had no idea about it except for what is told to me.

Now, let’s Fast Forward, to Present Time.

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This is a Image of Willow Lake from the 60’s.  It’s not my Image, because it does not exist any more.  Over the passing years, Willow Lake started to go down-hill for a reason that I don’t know.  Why this very popular place went under is anyone’s guess.  Over time, it just sat there, empty.  No one used it.  So the Owner decided to cover it over with dirt & back fill.  Now, very little remains unless you know where it was.  So, in our conversation, Eileen told me about where it used to be and it got me interested to see this once popular place from the past.

Ok, so I grabbed my camera gear, and went to the place she told me about.  It turned out that it was not as easy to find as I thought it would be.  More than 50 yrs. have passed since the place existed.  I had a heck of a time finding what was left.  I drove up to the location 2 times, but could find nothing!  Frustrated me!  So, I was determined to see this, so I went up for the 3rd time, looking around all over!  Finially, I found it with the help of some local people.

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Ah, yes.  Welcome to what used to be Willow Lake.  My trustee steed sit’s on History from the past.  Like I was told.  There’s not much here anymore.  Just a bunch of trees, grass, and scrub where a Pool used to be.

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What remains of the ole’ Bath House.

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The Door to the Mens Bathroom was open, so I took a look.

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Wash your hands?  The color of the Walls still remain.

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The Girls Bathroom is a mess!

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Here you can still see the black top.  Look at the other Image and you can see what it was used for.

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The outer edges of the Pool are still here.  The Blue color is ice from the cold.

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A closer look.

It has been more than 50 yrs. since this Pool was used.  Now, it has faded into History, like many other places.  While walking around here, I felt a total saddness for this place.  At one time it was full of people enjoying themselves on a warm summer day.  Now, there is nothing but a memory.  What a shame.

 

Thank you.

Les

 

WALKING THRU THE PAST

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Since I do enjoy photographing sites that are up in the Historical Coal Region area, I decided to return to the Primrose/Lytle Colliery that was once here long ago.  When here the last time, I could only go so far for fear of falling into a Mine Shaft that might have been there, but not able to see since the years have passed.  You must be careful on just where you walk, at times.

So, on my return trip here, I wondered if there was another way into this place.  In my slow drive around on the Main road, I happen to notice a small parking area.  I pulled in, stopped the car, got out to take a look around.  I figured the parking lot was there for a reason, and sure enough I was right.  I noticed a path that led into the woods close by the Coal fields that I wanted to explore.  Again, I looked for “Private Property or Keep Out” signs, but found none that I could see.  The above Image shows what I have to walk thru, at times, to get to a site that I want.  It’s wet, dirty, full of Coal dirt, and trees that have fallen down.  It can get messy!  I have learned to wear boots that are made for this sort of thing.

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This is looking back behind what I walked thru.  The parking lot is up on the left of this Image.

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One big pile of Coal Dirt that has been eroded by weather.  Has probably been here for years.

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This is the old Weigh Station that was used to weigh Coal Trucks as they left the yard.

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A barren waste land of nothing but coal dirt/scrap.  It was cold here, and quite windy.  Tried to shoot a video with the camera, but it didn’t turn out very well.  Too much noise from the wind.  I deleted it.

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As I had stated before, area’s like this are used often for 4-wheelin’.

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Looking back to where I had been before.  Notice the cement wall that once was part of the Colliery.

So, that’s it.  I took some other Images, but I think I’ve posted enough.  This will be my final walk thru here.  I’ve seen pretty much of it.  I know what was here, but not the full story.  Only “Ghosts from the Past” will know.

Thank You.

Les

PRESERVING HISTORY.

In my last Post about the Lytle Colliery, I had mentioned that I was having trouble finding this place.  Well, after 2 day’s of snooping around and asking questions and talking with other local people of the area, I finially found this elusive place off one of the main traveled roads in Minersville.  I found that I just did not go far enough up the road.  It was located on a 2 lane coal dirt covered road.  By the looks of it, you could hardly know that there was once a mighty, coal producing Colliery in the area, until you got closer to the property that it once stood on.

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After turning on to this 2 lane coal dirt covered road and driving in coal dirt that I was not sure if my car would make it, I came across this, as I was told it would be.  There were no “Private Property or Keep Out” signs, so I continued on.  Behind my car, the dirt road goes back about a half mile to the main road thru Primrose.  It was bumpy, full of holes, coal dirt, and soft ground that I was afraid of getting stuck in with the car that is not built for roads such as this.

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This is a “Tool Shed” that has been on this spot since 1902.  I’m surprised it was still standing.

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The only piece of Coal moving machinery left on the property.  Must have sat here for many years.  Don’t think it works anymore!

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This is the only large cement wall that is left over from the Colliery.

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This is looking down the “road” that leads to really nothing but piles of Coal Clum that is a left over from the Colliery.  That Black dirt is very soft.  If you choose to drive thru or walk in it, there is a real good chance you’ll sink in a bit far.  Not a good idea, unless you walk over to the left.

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Looking down from where the Colliery used to stand.

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More Coal waste, with the bleak landscape.

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Even though there is nothing here any longer, this is what remains of the Lytle/Primrose Coal Colliery that was in operation from 1890-1950 employing more than 300 miners and working all 3 shifts to supply the Nation with Coal.  The name Primrose comes from the Primrose Coal Vein that runs right under this land.  The other main part of the Colliery is on the top left where you see the tall attena.

Unfortantlly, there is a very sad note that goes along with this Image.  In the late afternoon of April 20, 1892, a near-by Coal Shaft that had filled with water over the years, broke thru another Vein and flooded a active Mine Shaft just when the shift change was happening, drowning 10 miners.  There is no Memorial around that I know of to give Tribute to these Miners who lost their Life.  Over the many years, when Coal was King, hundreds of Coal Miners lost their lives in these man made hell holes in the ground.

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Looks like a black Moon-scape to me.  I did not walk down thru all this.  This is what you see allot of around a old abandonded Coal Breaker or Colliery.  The buildings in the far foreground are part of Primrose.

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The left over Coal dirt that seems never to end makes the Country side so empty and not life giving to any wildlife that may be in the area.  Sadly, I don’t think their is any.

Thank You.

LYTLE COLLIERY

As most of you already know, I love the Historical area of the Coal Region where so much History is still around, and some of it is gone but always remembered by those who know.

Just a few day’s ago, I had grabbed my camera gear, and headed back up to my favorite region looking for a specific area to try and find.  A long time friend of my Wife, who she has know since High School and has lived in Minersville all of her life, told her that there used to be a Colliery/Breaker up in a area called Primrose.  I knew about Primrose from before but just really never knew where it was located.

So, I packed up my camera gear and headed up to the region that she was talking about.  I sorta knew about where Primrose was, but not exactly sure.  Found out by calling my Wife’s good friend and asking her just where this place is.  Primrose is located just on the outskirts of Minersville on RT209 North.  Now, the reason I missed it was because you have to take a small road off the main one.  I never knew that.

I found Primrose. The little Town of Primrose was named after the Primrose Coal Vein that ran thru the area.  Upon arriving there I saw such a nice, quaint little Town nestled in a small valley.  It only had 10 or 12 very well kept white Homes that were all bunched together.  It was what you could call a “Coal Patch”.  I drove thru it hoping to catch someone outside so I could ask questions, but no one was around.  Drove down the dirt road as far as I could, but found nothing on where the Colliery used to be.  Turned around and came back the way I came in.  Frustrated that I did not find what I was looking for I left the area.  What I should have done is stopped and took a Image of this little “Patch” just to show you what it is.  So, anyway  . .  .  .

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After coming home with nothing to show, I searched the Internet for what may be there about the Primrose Colliery/Breaker.  This is what I could find.

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I know that this Colliery/Breaker is in the area that I looked for, but just can’t seem to find it.  I will be going back up there again in the near future and this time I’ll find it by asking around from those who may remember.

Thank You & Happy Holidays.

COAL HOLE

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Photographed in the outskirts of Coaldale, PA is what remains of a Coal Hole that was used years ago to remove Coal that was fairly close to the ground surface.

Known also as a “Strippie Mine” Coal was dug out and shipped to a near-by Colliery for further process where shale and stone were removed from the Coal.  The Shale & Stone that was not wanted was then dumped near-by creating what is called a “Clum Pile.”  Thru out the Coal Region area there are many Clum Piles that still exist from all the different mines that were in the region.

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This is not my Image, but it shows just what a “Clum Pile” looks like.  Today, they are more used for 4 wheeling and play area’s.  Just outside of Tamaqua there are many of these.

Most of these “Holes” were quite deep.  Some of them were known to be over 100 ft. deep or more.  Miners back then sometimes left the machinery at the bottom of the Pit and then moved on to another dig.  Over the many passing years, the Strippie filled with Spring and rain water creating just a deep water filled hole in the ground.  The water in them is very cold.  During Winter months they freeze over and create a skating area, but don’t fall in!

My Wife was born & raised in the Coal area.  She can still remember going swimming in one of these during her HS years, because of no place else to go, and it was free.  No charge to swim here, but it can take your Life if not careful.  Coal machinery left over in these can be just hidden below the surface of the water!  Jump or dive in may have you encounter a un-wanted object that you don’t know is there.  There have been reports of this kind of death.

A good portion of these Holes are now gone.  Filled in with ground from other places, it then looks like nothing was ever there.  Only those who remember know.

Thank You.

LEARNING

As most of you know by now, I just love the History around my area and going to nearby Historic spots.  Yesterday, I went up to one of my favorite area’s that I used to play in while a young boy.  However, this time I went there for a Historic Walk at the Kerney to learn more about what used to be there long ago.  I found out that there is so much more to this place than what I knew.

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Here, Glenn, is telling how the old Canal Locks would work and why they did what was normal for that day and age.  Back in the day, Canal Boats were charged a fee to go thru the Lock.  The price depended on how much tonage they were hauling.  Coal, Wood, Goods, etc. were all charged.  Didn’t matter who you were.  If you look close, behind Glenn, you still can see what remains of a Lock.

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Here, our teacher, is telling of what was once here that you don’t see anymore.  Believe it or not, this area where we are standing used to be under water.  The water actually went up as high as the blue train cars to the left of the Image.  Changes in the River, over the passing years, changed all that.  When this area was dry, and the water recedid, there were some cabins built here.  If you look close while walking, there still can be seen stone foundations from those cabins of long ago.

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Our group is being told about the Covered Bridge that was once here, back in 1892.  The Stone supports still remain.

Even though the ground was a bit wet and sloppy at places from all the rain we had, I liked this Tour that was given.  I learned about things that I never knew where there and how much the area changed.  Thanks for coming along.

Thank you.

TRAILS OF HISTORY.

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This is the famous Independence Hall located in Historic Philadelphia, PA.

Inside this Historic structure is where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776.

This structure is one of the most favored places to visit.  Tickets must be purchased to see the area, where the Declaration was signed, that has been restored back to it’s orginial look.  When I shot this Image it was early morning before it was open.  Not many people were here.  This was a good time to capture a Image.  By the time I was ready to leave, the area was filled with hundreds of people.  The Park Rangers are kept busy all the time.

Security around here is very tight.  Just in front of me, and out of the Image, was a fence that had a sign on it that said “No admittence without a ticket”!  You should not go beyond it, or you’ll be stopped.  No firearms.  Bags can and will be checked before entering the area.  Police are everywhere.  Security camera’s are watching every move!

One of the things I like to do, is just sit and watch people do what they do.  Sit and watch the world go by.  People are here from all over.  Different cultures and nationally come here to see this.  I have observed that most visitors obey the signs that tell what you can do and what you should not.  However, there are some who just don’t care and do what they want.  Not good, in my opinion.  Rules here are done for a reason.  People throw trash on the ground, and don’t take time to throw it into bins placed around the area.  I hate seeing that.  If caught doing so, you might be fined.

Thank you.