Reproduced with permission from Dave Kuchta, author and publisher of: "Once A Man, Twice A Boy."
In 1819 a coal quarry, which got to be known as "The Old
Mine" in the Summit Hill area, was started. This Quarry was located in the
area of the "Mammoth Vein." This large Mammoth bed of coal got to be
known as the most important of all Anthracite deposits. In 1822 the Coal
Company became incorporated under the name of Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co.
As early as 1814, two prominent businessmen or entrepreneurs, by the names of Josiah White and Erskine Hazard were starting to get involved with Anthracite Coal. These men were very interested in promoting and the marketing of this new fuel. Because of them the building of the Lehigh Canal system came about. Also they were instrumental in building the first gravity railroad and the development of the vast coal lands between Tamaqua and Mauch Chunk. Their accomplishments could fill volumes of reading material.
During 1820, The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company began mining and shipping coal. The price for a ton of coal at Philadelphia was $8.40. Shipment that year was 365 tons. 1829 opened The Lehigh Canal from Mauch Chunk clear down to Easton. In 1837, Lehigh River navigation to White Haven was opened. In 1831 the Nesquehoning Railroad and plane was built. By 1849, the quarry in Summit Hill had to be abandoned because of flooding waters. At that period of time, they didn't have the high volume water pumps and couldn't remove the water to keep the quarry operable.
In view of some coal workings being soon worked out, and also the large quarry being flooded, it was decided to drive a tunnel on a level with the bottom of the Panther Creek Valley into the large (Mammoth Vein) on the south side of the valley. At this point, we can use the dates of 1844-45 as the time of the No.9 Mines conception.
Around 1845, plans for the No.9 Mine were on the drawing board. Two attempts to drive the mine, back in 1851 and 1853, were unsuccessful. In 1851 the Company set its goal to drive in around 800 yards to the Mammoth Vein of coal. On January 14, 1852, a proposal was accepted from Daniel Bertsch for driving the tunnel No.9, and was ordered to be executed under Corporate Seal. In that year the tunnel was driven forward 166 lineal yards at a cost of $6,228.74.
In the Annual Company Report, in 1853 "But little progress has been made in driving forward the No.9 Tunnel, since my last Annual Report. It seems that after driving about 195 yards, the rock suddenly dipped down below the bottom of the tunnel, leaving a bed of quicksand to contend with. After several attempts to secure it with timber, it was given up as impracticable, without incurring a large and unjustifiable expense. As a final resort, it was concluded to make an open cut, about 150 feet in length and 70 feet in depth, which will require three or four months to complete.
There has been expended on this project, $9,807.81."
By January 1, 1856, Tunnel No.9 had been driven forward 1,119 feet without striking any coal. This project took three or four months to complete this work. In time they also found that near the beginning of this mine was an area known as a "squeeze area," During the early years this had to be heavily timbered. It also should be noted that during the years prior to 1867, most mines didn't work during the winter season. This "down time" lasted approximately four months. In the spring, when the canal system reopened for business, they then started mining coal once again. During the winter season, repairs and other work besides mining were done in the tunnels. This work was called "Dead work." The Company used a cut off date of Dec. 10'th when all the Canal systems were shut down, and wherever possible, all the canals were drained of water because of freezing conditions which would damage much of the canal structures. Because of the winter freezes and shut downs of the canals, there wasn't any other way up until that time, to haul the coal in larger quantities to the big city markets. Once Railroads were established, the mines started working year around.
During 1855 and 56, driving the #9 mine had begun in earnest. The miners had reached the large Mammoth vein of coal, on December 25, 1857. The miners had to drive 2,283 feet to accomplish their goals. On January 30, 1858, a proposal for mining the coal from the No.9 Tunnel came from Daniel Bertsch for the years of 1858 through 1860, for 90,000 tons of coal per year, which was accepted by the Company. This led to the first mining contract for this particular tunnel. On March 31, 1858, the mining contract with Daniel Bertsch was ordered to be executed under Corporate Seal. In later years, the LC&N Company named a street after Bertsch in the town of Lansford, Pa.
This photo shows the portal of the No. 9 Mine in Lansford, PA in the year 1887. In 1931 the mine entrance and several hundred feet of the main gangway were rebuilt with concrete and steel collars.
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