Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The Palo Alto Cut
THE OLD YORK FARM TUNNEL
There are seven coal veins that lie under the conglomerate rock strata in the Pottsville basin, or under Pottsville itself.
The York farm breaker once stood northwest of the Pottsville High School veteran’s memorial stadium. Back in the old days, (1880’s and 90”s) the big black structure could be seen from all parts of the town.
The Tunnel was bored southward in the direction of sharp mountain. It was done in the late 1890’s. It went under the hill on which the high school stands, under a section of town near 19th and 20th Sts., and right up into Sharp Mountain.
It cut acr4oss a lot of veins, most of them twice, on the north and south sides of Pottsville basin. What that means is it cut them on the hill where the colliery stood and again where they came up on Sharp Mountain.
There was an air hole drilled from one of the veins to the surface, and it is said to have come out near the southeastern entrance of St. John Cemetery at 20th street, and then known as Broad Street.
The tunnel was driven at an elevation of 485 feet above sea level. And if the elevation of Center and Norwegian st., is 618 plus, as we always have been told, (Actually GPS Verifies this) Then it is easy to conclude that the old York Tunnel is some 133 feet or 44 yards lower than Pottsville’s busiest intersection, though still not low enough to cut the shallowest vein in the basin.
But it apparently deep enough to have pierced all the veins on the south slope of Sharp Mountain, had it been driven farther south through the mountain. If it had been driven all the way, all arguments about coal on the southern slope of Sharp Mt. would have been settled;. As they really never knew if coal extended below the Sharp Mountain.
In the 1950’s the Boulevard or Route 61 was cut through Sharp Mountain in 1950, from Palo Alto to Mt. Carbon, we now have the opportunity to view the last of the southern veins of coal in the Anthracite region on the south side of Sharp Mountain. It is apparent that they were not workable, but you can still see them when you get off 61 and head into Palo Alto. Maybe they could have been worked, who knows.
A FEW SHOTS OF THE LAST VEINS OF COAL IN THE LOWER ANTHRACITE REGION ON SHARP MOUNTAIN NEAR PALO ALTO