If you spend any time in Northeastern Pennsylvania, one thing that becomes evident is that everything and everyone here has ties to the anthracite coal mining industry. The entire landscape has been permanently scarred by mining, and the reminders don’t look as if they will ever go away. One such relic is the The Dorrance Colliery Fan Complex.
Located on North River Street, right down the road from the long abandoned Hotel Sterling, directly behind the Wilkes-Barre City Cemetery and nestled along the Susquahanna River, remains the last portion of the Dorrance Colliery. For those of you outside of the NEPA region, a colliery is a coal mine and the buildings associated with it.
The Lehigh Valley Coal Company operated this particular colliery from 1880 until 1959 and this fan complex was there for all of it. Fans were required for safety reasons, such preventing gas explosions. (Ahhh, the good old days of mining coal with open flame lamps!)
While this veritable death-trap of a fan house still remains, the actual coal breaker and the other buildings were demolished in the 1980s to make room for a personal care home.
Are they 100% sure that tetanus can’t become airborne? 😉
***2016 Update: Some of these structures were recently demolished
Cheri Sundra © 2012
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