Northeast Pennsylvania region observes Mining Heritage Month


A regional observance of Anthracite Mining Heritage Month will take place during January, with programs in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Pittston, Port Griffith, Plymouth, Nanticoke, Wyoming, and Ashley. The annual event focuses on the history and culture of the anthracite region in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

This year’s events will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Connecticut Yankees’ return to the Wyoming Valley. Obadiah Gore Jr., a blacksmith who knew about hard coal’s properties, was among them and his early use of anthracite marked the beginning of The Coal Region.

The schedule of free public events is as follows.

• “A Day in the Life of an Anthracite Miner: The Remarkable Coalmining Artwork of Remo Trieste Russo,” at 2 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Lackawanna Historical Society’s Catlin House, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton. Presenter is Clarks Summit resident Charles Kumpas and moderator is Mary Ann Savakinas.

• “An Interview with Mineworkers’ Union President, Johnny Mitchell — A One-Act Play,” at 6:30 p.m. Jan 11 at Wyoming Presbyterian Church Institute, 40 Institute St. Wyoming. A Luzerne County Historical Society program presented by Clarks Summit resident Robert Hughes. Moderator is Aimee Newell. Refreshments will be served.

• Huber Breaker Preservation Society-Public presents “A Demonstration of Anthracite Mine Equipment and Other Mining Objects,” at 7 p.m. Jan 16 at the Ashley Fire Hall, Fireman’s Park, 160 Ashley St., Ashley. Presenter is Mike Mostardi. Moderator is Bill Best. A members meeting will be held at at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

• Plymouth Historical Society presents “Plymouth’s Coal Mining Pioneers: Abijah & John Smith, Freeman Thomas, and Other Innovators,” at 7 p.m. Jan 17 at Plymouth Borough Municipal Building, 162 W. Shawnee Ave., Plymouth. Presenters are Georgetta Potoski and Steve Kondrad. Includes refreshments.

• King’s College’s Annual Msgr. John J. Curran Lecture, 7 p.m. with refreshments at 6:30 p.m. Jan 18 in the Burke Auditorium, McGowan School of Business, King’s College, 133 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre. The presenter is Mark Balik, Senior Editor, New York Times, who will speak on his book, “The Sons of the Molly Maguires: The Irish Roots of America’s First Labor War.”

• “A Discussion of Four Historic Anthracite Labor Strikes,” presented by The University of Scranton at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in the school’s DeNaples Student Center, Room 509, 900 Mulberry St., Scranton. Presenters include Sarah Piccini (1871, Scranton), Lucia Dailey (1877, Scranton), Michael Knies (1912, Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties) and Robert Wolensky (1928, Pittston and Old Forge). Chester Kulesa is the moderator.

• “Two Knox Mine Disaster Documentaries, 1984 and 2018: Screenings and Commentaries,” at 2 p.m. Jan 20 at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, 22 Bald Mountain Road, Scranton. Presenters include Erika Funke and David Brocca, with coal music by Jay Smar. Bode Morin is the moderator. Refreshments will be served.

• Annual Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Mass, 10 a.m. Jan. 21 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 35 Williams St., Pittston.

• Annual Commemoration of the Knox Disaster, 11:30 a.m. Jan 21 at the PHMC Historical Marker, Main St., Port Griffith, Baloga Funeral Home. Coffee will be served.

• Annual Walk to Knox Mine Disaster Site, 12 p.m. Jan. 21. Gather at Baloga Funeral Home, Port Griffith, following the commemoration. Weather permitting.

• “Who Killed Rebel Miners’ Union President, Tom Maloney? — The Wyoming Valley Good Friday Bombings, April 6, 1936,” at 7 p.m. Jan 22 at the Nanticoke Cultural Center, 38 W. Church St. Nanticoke. A Nanticoke Historical Society program presented by Robert Wolensky and Michael Chimola and moderated by Chet Zaremba. Includes refreshments.

• Book signing with Chet Zaremba and Robert Wolensky from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Nanticoke Public Library.

• Greater Pittston Historical Society program “Ethnicity in the Anthracite Region: An Appreciation of Five Local Heritage Groups,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at St. John’s the Evangelist Church basement, 35 William St., Pittston. Presenters include Carol Gargan (Lithuanians), Jim McFarland (Irish), Christine Patterson (Africans), Fiona Powell (Welsh) and Stephanie Longo (Italians). Moderator is Ron Faraday. Includes refreshments.

• “Professional Baseball and the Anthracite Region: Four Authors Discuss Players, Teams, Games, and Stories,” 6:30 p.m. Jan 26 at Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, in the Educational Conference Center, lower campus, Room 132. Presenters are William Kashatus, Jack Smiles, Paul Browne and Sean Carroll. A book signing will be held at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The events are sponsored by the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Anthracite Heritage Foundation, King’s College, Luzerne County Community College, The University of Scranton, Wilkes University, Lackawanna Historical Society, Luzerne County Historical Society, the Boy Scouts of America-Northeastern PA Council, the Greater Pittston Historical Society, the Plymouth Historical Society, the Nanticoke Historical Society, the Huber Breaker Preservation Society, and the Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Committee.

A “Mining in Society” Merit Badge Day, open only to Boy Scouts of the Northeastern PA Council, is also scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 6 on the fourth floor of the Mulligan Science Building at King’s College, 133 River St., Wilkes-Barre.