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Old 06-15-2015, 04:01 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,634 posts, read 14,275,248 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
One thing to keep in mind is the WB/Scranton area isn't exactly what most people would have in their mind when they think of a coal area, there isn't any dueling banjos here. Scranton was one of the fist cities in the country with electric and the first electric trolleys. Towns like West Pittston where I grew up weren't exaclty a bunch of a coal shacks. During a renovation we found gas pipes in the walls and that particular house was built in the very early part of the last century. You can take virtual walk up Susquehanna ave or some of the other streets. This is where the very well to do people many of whom were involved in mining lived.

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.3301...8i6656!6m1!1e1
I am very familiar with West Pittston. My friend Lisa, the original "Victoriana Lady" was from there. When I was expressing admiration for some of those riverfront Victorian homes, Lisa informed me that sadly many had suffered during the flooding that took place several years ago ... basements got flooded and created mold and mildew problems.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:35 PM
 
41,817 posts, read 48,605,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
I am very familiar with West Pittston. My friend Lisa, the original "Victoriana Lady" was from there. When I was expressing admiration for some of those riverfront Victorian homes, Lisa informed me that sadly many had suffered during the flooding that took place several years ago ... basements got flooded and created mold and mildew problems.
You either had to get right on it or you were going to have a big issue in about a week or two. Total removal of everything right down to the studs.

Here is some pictures I took the day after right after the sun came up, it was chaos for weeks so they are some really unique pictures. Almost looks like there is nothing wrong. It was really eery being there at that time because there was so little noise and noise and all you could smell was oil. It was more than basements if you had a house next to the river, every one of them had first floor flooding. Think it was like 800 homes.




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Old 06-16-2015, 08:28 PM
 
1,271 posts, read 2,463,626 times
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I'm from Sunbury, PA but I have/had relatives from all over the area, into the heart of the coal regions. Looking at population declines it's easy to see why this is happening, ageing population, no jobs or influx of jobs moving into the area to support any growth or prosperity. In terms of blight, I am talking the landscape, former coal mining landscape, I think they improved much of it doing restoration, but even growing up and seeing my relatives just burn trash in their back yard and also seeing others who used the sides of the roads as dumping grounds, it just boggled my mind. I have not driven down any back roads in or around Mt. Carmel or Shamokin lately, but I always remembered seeing garbage just dumped along the road along with tires.

When you look at a city like Shamokin, once in the hey day was a prosperous city, which had a some local businesses, F & S Brewery, both the PRR and Reading Railroad had a decent presence there, factories that made things and etc and of course the big one Coal, but the population stated declining in the 30's and many of those places and the railroads were soon gone along with the jobs.

Shamokin, PA

Historical population
Census Pop. %±
1850 2,191 —
1860 2,159 −1.5%
1870 4,320 100.1%
1880 8,184 89.4%
1890 14,403 76.0%
1900 18,202 26.4%
1910 19,588 7.6%
1920 21,204 8.2%
1930 20,274 −4.4%
1940 18,810 −7.2%
1950 16,879 −10.3%
1960 13,674 −19.0%
1970 11,719 −14.3%
1980 10,357 −11.6%
1990 9,184 −11.3%
2000 8,009 −12.8%
2010 7,374 −7.9%
Est. 2012 7,316 −0.8%

Shamokin, PA over the past 20 years or so, decline, Skinheads, crime, Meth, but the Prison created some jobs and brought in some issues as well. Last time I was through Shamokin, it just looked depressing, when I lived in the area and went there to cruise the loop, it wasn't that bad. When I see it now, it looks similar but not the same.

Sunbury is another example of the above, big Railroad and Manufacturing economy, bustling nice downtown if you see old films that were made back in the 30's and 40's, looked like a nice city, when I growing up it was in decline, stores that were there for years prior were still hanging on, but many disappeared around that time or soon after. Factories closed, jobs that paid good wages and gave pensions all went up in smoke. Aside from Weis who still remains, there isn't much in terms of prosperity for Sunbury, no downtown charm like Selinsgrove or Lewisburg has, no Universities, no real draw. They did spend some $ fixing up the park and doing the river side deal and still draw crowds to their summer events, but what else does it have to offer someone to move there?

Sunbury, PA

Historical population
Census Pop. %±
1850 1,218 —
1860 1,803 48.0%
1870 3,131 73.7%
1880 4,077 30.2%
1890 5,930 45.5%
1900 9,810 65.4%
1910 13,770 40.4%
1920 15,721 14.2%
1930 15,626 −0.6%
1940 15,462 −1.0%
1950 15,570 0.7%
1960 13,687 −12.1%
1970 13,025 −4.8%
1980 12,292 −5.6%
1990 11,591 −5.7%
2000 10,610 −8.5%
2010 9,905 −6.6%
Est. 2012 9,835 −0.7%

Much of the above can be applied to many areas in and around the coal regions, changing demographic, changing times.
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:03 AM
 
41,817 posts, read 48,605,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blauskies View Post
1910 19,588 7.6%
1920 21,204 8.2%
1930 20,274 −4.4%
Anthracite coal production peaked about 1920 as did soft coal production which is found in western PA. Coal production out west is still substantial for use in power plants, PA is ranked fifth by state. Anthracite plays a very minor role. It's expensive to mine compared to soft coal and has a very limited market; home heating, coking and water filtration. It's certainly not a dominant industry but still employs thousands either directly or indirectly.

It's unfortunate it hasn't been marketed well as it has very large benefits over other forms of heat like pellets which are very popular. That's not to say it could become a huge industry like it was before either.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,147 posts, read 15,956,997 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Anthracite coal production peaked about 1920 as did soft coal production which is found in western PA. Coal production out west is still substantial for use in power plants, PA is ranked fifth by state. Anthracite plays a very minor role. It's expensive to mine compared to soft coal and has a very limited market; home heating, coking and water filtration. It's certainly not a dominant industry but still employs thousands either directly or indirectly.

It's unfortunate it hasn't been marketed well as it has very large benefits over other forms of heat like pellets which are very popular. That's not to say it could become a huge industry like it was before either.
blauskies data actually shows population decline began in the 1920's which is consistent your point about coal (and everything I've ever heard about it). the coal regions fueled the great boom in manufacturing in Philadelphia nd NY/NJ, it makes sense that the change in power would affect the supply region first.
spain has found that high speed rail can change the fortunes of places like scranton/wilkes barre, altoona, sunbury, etc. for example, putting scranton an hour outside of nyc is a big deal...same if you did that to harrisburg-philly.

Last edited by pman; 06-18-2015 at 11:26 AM..
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:48 PM
 
41,817 posts, read 48,605,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
blauskies data actually shows population decline began in the 1920's which is consistent your point about coal (and everything I've ever heard about it). the coal regions fueled the great boom in manufacturing in Philadelphia nd NY/NJ, it makes sense that the change in power would affect the supply region first.
The primary use for anthracite is and always has been residential/boiler heating. It's not suitable for power plants, industry or even blacksmithing. Even if it was suitable becsue of the higher expense to mine it they would opt for soft coal anyway. There is no soot with anthracite and it only has a slight odor no worse than something like oil burner. Soft coal makes a lot of soot when burned and has a very powerful sulfur smell. You can use anthracite in an urban environment, I used it a block from some of those homes I posted previously for 35 years. Even had the one neighbor ask what the hell the ashes were from 20 years after we put the boiler in.




Quote:
spain has found that high speed rail can change the fortunes of places like scranton/wilkes barre, altoona, sunbury, etc. for example, putting scranton an hour outside of nyc is a big deal...same if you did that to harrisburg-philly.
I don't see someone sitting on train for an hour+ and whatever else time is involved just so they could live in Scranton or WB. It would take me 1/2 hour to get to either city, get on the train for an hour... I can be in Philly in 2 or 2 1/2 hours driving and when I get there I have a car.

There is lot of people here but it's very spread out, you have a 50 mile strip of land no wider than about 10 miles but it's mostly houses. You can actually see the area on Google maps zoomed out to the the entire country. Looks like a fingernail, a small local line would do well.
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:59 AM
 
658 posts, read 1,108,523 times
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sadly , there is no way the bigwigs in PA govt will ever develop the kind of forward thinking plans to revitalize the area (jobs, transit, etc) because the taxpayers HATE**** tax increases. IF there is not an immediate short term profit(sic) to be had, then dammmmmitttalll, we're not doing it. Never mind we have past $B's worth (in present dollars) of investment to build infrastructure in the area)
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:57 AM
 
41,817 posts, read 48,605,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
spain has found that high speed rail can change.....
FYI Spain is next up in the batters box after Greece. As I understand it Greece has one of the most modern mass transit systems in the world and people use it freely, too bad their country is bankrupt because no one paid for projects like that.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:03 AM
 
41,817 posts, read 48,605,368 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeaderOCola View Post
sadly , there is no way the bigwigs in PA govt will ever develop the kind of forward thinking plans to revitalize the area (jobs, transit, etc) because the taxpayers HATE**** tax increases. IF there is not an immediate short term profit(sic) to be had, then dammmmmitttalll, we're not doing it. Never mind we have past $B's worth (in present dollars) of investment to build infrastructure in the area)

The infrastructure is already here and actually quite unique in that respect. You have 80, 81 and 476. 80 is one of the biggest corridors for freight moving east or west, it's direct shot from San Francisco to NY. 81 gives you access to points north and south like Baltimore via 83 and also allows you to avoid 95. 476 is direct link to Philly. Rail is also still active in the area.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,191 posts, read 4,799,527 times
Reputation: 1784
The only real rail enhancement I could see - that would be easy, all things considered - would be for SEPTA (or COAL-TA, perhaps), to purchase dual-mode locomotives. The tracks are already there, connecting the coal regions with Reading and Philadelphia. However, would service restoration like this help the coal regions? Maybe - I don't know. And, like is always the issue, who's going to pay for this? I guess proceeds from the new gas tax but will it actually provide a real economic boost?
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