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2012 Newsletter

President, David Kuchta

Every year since we first started our mine tours, 10 years ago, tour numbers have improved. 2010 was a record year, even with having a bad economy and high gas prices. 2011 was a different story. The economy was worse than ever, schools cut back big time on field trips, because of cut backs from the State and Federal funding. “Mother Nature,” wasn’t too kind to tourism with a lot of rains, which was one of our biggest problems throughout the summer months.

We had record rains, threats of hurricanes, large hail storms, even power outages and last but not least, on what could have been a record turnout for the “Haunted Mine Tours,” we had a record snow storm of 12 inches. Put this all together and we ended up with a disappointing year.

What had happened was that weathermen were predicting heavy showers and high winds on many of the weekends during the summer. So…a lot of families didn’t go on mini vacations, biking or camping over the weekends. This cut down on weekend mine tours. When there was just a regular rain on a weekend, we received many calls from campgrounds and hotels where people asked the proprietors where they could go on a rainy day. Most proprietors all suggested going down to No.9 Mine and Museum. In this case, rain helps. But, it doesn’t help if the weathermen are calling for torrential rains with high winds.

Enough of the gloom and doom! The goal of No.9 Mine & Museum has always been to return Lansford’s No.9 Mine and the Panther Valley, back to some semblance of its former glory and to help preserve our coal mining heritage. No.9 Coal Mine Museum has a wealth of information about what our forefathers used with tools and equipment. The museum has one of the largest displays of tools, pictures and information on our mining past. The mine tour is an experience that leaves you knowing what a real mine is all about but it isn’t only Mining Heritage but ethnic heritage as well. A lot of people don’t realize that the old No.9 Mine Breaker had a lot of “Mollies,” working there.

We must all work together to save our past, our present and our future of our coal mining history. Above all, it is important that this generation of children living in the coal regions will grow up with the memories past down by past generations of coal miners

Many of you members are thinking…we know all this, and so what! The bottom line is that with fewer mine tours, means less revenue. It costs a lot of money preserving all the pictures, tools, books and info in the museum. This past year we had to fix/coat half of the museum roof. The roof is an ongoing problem. This is an added expense. Last but not least, it costs a lot of money to maintain a safe tourist mine and along with advertising, insurance and electric bills that have escalated over time.

In last year’s news letter I mentioned we paid out $17,000 for a new escape way. The final costs were around $19,000. The second escape way is something we hope never to use (just like fire insurance), but it is something that had to be done. For safety and security, it is a state and federal law that a second escape way must be built and in a safe workable condition. Luckily we built up a “Rainy Day Fund,” for such occurrences. Well, that rain had come! Like the old saying goes, “It Rained On Our Parade.”

What I normally don’t do is talk about our expenses for the year but a few people do wonder where all the money is spent? They also wonder just how much money is spent each year to operate a Mine & Museum tourist attraction. It doesn’t only cost us a lot of money but takes a lot of time and effort to maintain such a facility. That is why we always ask people to join our organization and volunteer any help in the overall maintenance of the property, buildings and mine, or just become a social member.

The Mine & Museum attracts many people from all over the country and even from other countries around the world. It does put Panther Valley on the map and being located in Lansford, also gives the community and surrounding towns a little prestige on having one of the oldest longest operating Anthracite Coal Mine in the entire world when it shut down in 1972. That is impressive!

One problem is that the Mine is still the worlds best kept secret and this doesn’t help matters. Our advertising costs are tremendous. In 2010, we spent 12 thousand dollars on advertising. Last year, trying to conserve our funds, we paid out nine thousand dollars. We try to advertise where we get the best response. We belong to half dozen or more organizations that advertise our mine. We use bill-boards, radio, TV, Internet, rack-cards and any means that gets the word out about the Mine & Museum tours.

No 9 isn’t just an organization, it is a business, with big expenses. With all the work done down through the years to open the mine for tourism…we can’t let it fail.

If you can afford it, please think about donating any amount (no matter how small) to the “Panther Creek Valley Foundation.” Every bit helps. We don’t ask for much, but starting off this year with the threats of more bad economy and whatever “Mother Nature,” will throw at us, we could use a little help. We are a non-profit organization and are a 501-C3 which means you can deduct any donation from your income tax.

I’m also proud to tell our members that the new coal company, “Anthracite Energy,” has been kind enough to supply us with coal, which is a big savings!

During May, the mine tours will be, Friday through Sunday.
Tickets start selling at 10 A.M. until 3:00 P.M. Mine tours are on the hour, with the first tour going into the mine at 11 A.M., last tour about 3 P.M.

Starting in June, July and Aug: MINE TOURS ARE: Wed. thru Sunday,

Beginning in September ,through the end of October, tours will run only on Saturday and Sunday. Throughout the mine tour season, special tours are available during the week for groups of 20 or more. For groups of Students and scouts we have special prices of $5 each. Please call for information. Regular ticket price is $8 for the Mine tour including the Museum.

The museum is also open Wednesday through Sunday, all year long. When the mine tours are closed, the museum opens at 12:00 noon and closes at 4 P.M. weather permitting.

Arrange Group Tours For Your School, Organization, Employees, ETC. By Calling
(570) 645 7074
Email me at:

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