Eckley Miners’ Village

Eckley Miner’s Village

Useful Information

Location: 2 Eckley Main Street, Weatherly, PA 18255.
I-80 exit 273 White Haven, PA 940 West 10 km, turn left Highland Road 5 km. I-80 exit 262 Hazleton, PA Route 309 South, second left PA Route 940 through Freeland, turn right Highland Road 5 km.
(40.995174, -75.856060)
Open: Eckley Miner’s Village: All year daily dawn to dusk.
Eckley Miner’s Village Museum: All year Thu-Sun 10-16.
Fee: Eckley Miner’s Village: free.
Eckley Miner’s Village Museum: Adults USD 8, Children (3-12) USD 6, Children (0-2) free, Seniors (65+) USD 7.
Classification: SubterraneaMining Museum MineCoal Mine, ExplainCompany Store
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Eckley Miner’s Village, 2 Eckley Main Street, Weatherly, PA 18255, Tel: +1-570-636-2070. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1854 village founded.
1974 Eckley opened as an historic site.


Eckley Miners’ Village is an open air museum of a historic 19th century coal mining town. Beneath the homes of the miners, there is a Coal Breaker, which was used as a movie set. The village is free to walk or drive each day dawn to dusk. There are around 50 buildings in the museum. This includes numerous miners houses, two churches, the company store, the slate pickers' house, the sports and social club, and the doctor's office. There is no underground tour though, this is more about the private life of the miners and their families. The only industrial site is the historic Coal Breaker. Eckley Miners’ Village is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The village was founded in 1854 with the construction of laborers’ dwellings. In the town had already 130 houses, mostly double homes, which were home to two families, and probably boarders. As a result up to 30 people lived in such a house. The wooden buildings were quite primitive and lacked insulation, electricity, and plumbing. As Pennsylvania is not exactly warm during winter, the living conditions were not very comfortable. The only improvement were Insulbrick covers which were added between 1930 and 1950 on many houses. This faux brick consists of asphalt and provided at least a little insulation.

Even worse are the so-called slate pickers’ homes, a sort of mass quarter for slate pickers or breaker boys, who worked in the breaker and separated slate and other impurities from coal by hand. This work was dirty and dangerous and was frequently filled by young boys and disabled miners. They had two living rooms in the first floor and a sleeping loft in the second floor. Due to their poor quality they were actually all destroyed, some burned down, others were demolished. The two existing are actually reconstructions.

In 1859 St. James Episcopal Church was consecrated. It was the church of the English, Welsh, and German residents. It was located at the western end of town, where skilled miners, contractors, and mine bosses lived. The original church fell into disrepair in the 1880s and was demolished in 1938, in 1974 the village was transformed into an open air museum and the church was replaced by the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from nearby White Haven. The Catholic church Immaculate Conception was built at the poorer, eastern end of town in 1861. It served the Irish miners who were on a lower social level. In the 1880s eastern European immigrants arrived, which had to walk 5 km to Freeland for the next Orthodox church.

The Sharpe House is the village’s largest and most ornate home, built in 1861 for Richard Sharpe, one of the founders of the town. There were actually four mine owners’ homes at the western end of town.

The doctor's office was actually provided by the mine, financed by wages withheld from miners, a sort of minimalistic social system. Since the US still has problems with this concept today, it is not surprising that company doctors often became points of contention. They were specialized on mining related problems, like respiratory conditions, and performing amputations and other surgeries. Medical care outside of company control was provided by folk healers, midwives, and numerous home remedies.

But the central part of the suppression of the miners was the Company Store. Mining families relied on those stores for both mining equipment and domestic goods. Often miners were paid in scrip or company credit, which was only valid in those stores. In other words the stores had a monopoly and prices were often inflated by up to 15 %. This created a massive dependency. Even the introduction of mail order did not help much, the post office was part of the Company Store and thus under the control of the mining company. The mining companies exploited not only the resources, but also their people.