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Friday, November 08, 2013

Classic Patch Town

I found this picture on the net. It is a classic patch town. The title of the picture was Cranberry Coal Breaker - 1940. Coal companies built patch towns so that workers could live within walking distance of the job. Workers walked down the street with their metal lunch cans - miners could not afford cars. If the mine worker quit or died - the family was thrown out of the house. In some cases - they were not paid in cash - but only got credit in the company store.

In the Tamaqua Area - there were plenty of patches. My Mom lived in "The Vulcan" by Mahanoy City. Reevesdale was west of Tamaqua. Seek was part of Coaldale. Andrewsville was east of Lansford. How many patch downs can you name?

In my Dad's case - they lived in Seek. When my grandfather Roy Everhart left the mines - the company administrators came to the front door. They told my grandmother she would have to leave and take her 4 little ones with her. After much anguish - the company left them stay in the house. In return - my Dad would work in the Number 8 along route 209 in Coaldale PA. He was 7. After he finished school he worked for Old Company's Lehigh from 1934 to 1959. Then the mine closed leaving him will 25 years of coal dust in his lungs at age 43. For the rest of his life he worked in a factory about 80 miles away down by Philly. He died at age 66 living on Social Security and a Black Lung pension. 

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