Taylor Borough donates items to Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour

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LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Uncovering history. Rustic coal mining equipment will soon be on display as it was donated to Lackawanna County.

Pieces of history lay amongst weeds. Once used to process coal in Taylor.

“The breaker was the most visible site. It tends to be what people think of when they think of anthracite coal mining. They were huge structures, they were mostly open inside,” Sarah Piccini, the assistant director of Lackawanna County Historical Society.

Sarah Piccini shares the history of the former, Moffat Breaker, which was located off North Main Street.

It’s where coal would be crushed into different sizes to be marketed, it’s where you would find the “breaker boys.”

“Moffat was like that last man standing, almost. That absorbed the Taylor Breaker, they absorbed Glen Alden in the 1950s,” explained Piccini.

In 1955 Moffat closed its operation 200 men lost their jobs.

“It wasn’t feasible to continue it anymore. It just became a ghost industry after that,” said Piccini.

66 years later this is what’s left of the building. The machinery was moved away from the building and is now once again going to be moved.

“McDade Park stepped forward and they thought several of the pieces would be a great display up at the park, “said Daniel Zeleniak.

Four pieces including a part of concrete from the former Moffat structure will be moved to the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour. Last week commissioners approved the donation from Taylor borough.

“This was a huge, major employer, industry, difficult for the people, our four fathers that worked in the mines and you know its something we need to remember,” explained Zeleniak. “It makes it a lot more immediate, you can get a lot more visceral reaction from someone if you can show them exactly what it was. Rather than telling them a vague story.”

A chapter once closed reopens for many to see. Once the machinery reaches the coal mine tour county commissioners plan to install plaques for each piece to explain its purpose for visitors.

These items donated include:

  • a concrete support/footing monument,
  • a coal separator and washer,
  • coal crusher,
  • a fine coal washer,
  • a shaker cam 

The plan is to find good utilization for the remaining equipment instead of selling it off for scrap. 

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