Interesting History Item Re: Coal

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Post Sat. Nov. 17, 2012 8:40 am

I've been reading an excellent local history book on the history of the Delaware Canal, which runs alongside the Delaware river thru Bucks County, PA: ... 1596294876

The canal was used mostly to transport anthracite from mines in northeast PA down to Bristol and then Philly, from 1830 to early in the 20th century.

The canal route passed by many rural farms, and the nearby farmers would place a row of empty bottles along their fence rails which backed up to the canal path. The barge workers couldn't resist throwing pieces of coal to knock the bottles off, kind of like a "shooting gallery." According to the book, many a farmer whose property bordered the canal path could heat his house all winter by raking up the piles of coal which the workers had pitched at the bottles!

I'd love to have a setup where people just chucked anthracite into my backyard for free!

BTW anyone here lucky enough to have a coal seam on their own property? Must be great to rent a jackhammer for a few hours and "help yourself" to it LOL. Kind of like those folks in the Midwest who have natural gas on their property and just run a pipe down and heat for free!

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Post Sat. Nov. 17, 2012 9:06 am

Nice post, being I was raised in Upper Black Eddy ( above Doylestown---rt 611) I'm real familiar with the canal--In New Hope they used to--maybe still do-- have horse/jack drawn flat boats you could ride on & get a good piece of the history from the tiller. Yep, a lot of STUFF moved up & down her. :D

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Post Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 4:54 pm

My dad told the story about when they were kids how they had to pick coal from the rail yards. They lived in Cadosia, NY right next to the O&W rail yard. He and his brothers were supposed to go pick the coal off the ground around the yard. It was from the reloading of the steam engines and just fell off some of the coal cars. He also said that when there were full loads of coal cars in the yard it was much easier to climb up on one and throw down the coal instead of picking it off the ground. I assume they heated all winter with this free coal.

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