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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Look at the Buck Run Coal Company

This week the staff at the Human Studies Film Archives will be in Philadelphia attending a joint conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (AMIA/IASA).
One of the most widely attended events of the conference is Archival Screening Night where archives are invited to present clips showing new preservation work, footage from recent discoveries and other curatorial curiosities.  This year the HSFA has submitted a clip for Screening Night and is offering up this sneak preview for the SIRIS blog audience:

HSFA# 83.12.1 [Benjamin Harrison Hay’s Footage of a Pennsylvania Colliery, ca. 1930-1940]

Benjamin Harrison Hay’s footage shows the mining village of Buck Run, located about 45 miles west of Allentown, Pennsylvania, built for operators, managers and employees of the Buck Run Coal Company which was in operation from 1902 until 1950.  The original mine owner James B. Neale was socially progressive and wanted to create a real community for the benefit of his workers.  By 1925 the town boasted a school, an infirmary, a community recreation facility, a company store and several churches, in addition to homes with running water, electricity and steam heat.  Benjamin Harrison Hay was Neale’s general manager, vice president and brother-in-law who assumed control of the company upon Neale’s death in 1943.  Buck Run Coal was bought out by Reading Anthracite Company in 1950 and the social experiment came to an end.  Very little of the original company town remains today.
This clip shows a steam shovel loading processed coal onto a rail car and workers entering and returning from the mine.

1 comment:

  1. What great footage--thanks for sharing