Coal Miner’s Great-Great-Granddaughter (Road Trip 2014)

Coal Miner’s 

As I’ve been planning our road trip, I wanted to give my kids a sense of their heritage. One of my immigrant ancestors, Henry (originally Heinrich) Hess, was a coal miner from Germany. Since we were already driving to Pennsylvania where my mother’s family has lived for generations, I decided on a tour of the Pioneer Tunnel coal mine in Ashland. We went on Saturday, on our way up to our family reunion in Wilkes-Barre, which was the next day.

I was afraid my kids might not be interested, but we all enjoyed the half hour tour. We rode the open mine cars into the mountain, and then got out to walk around while our funny guide explained the history and techniques of coal mining.

We didn’t go downward, since the Pioneer Tunnel is a horizontal drift mine. Its level tunnel runs 1,800 feet straight into the side of the Mahanoy Mountain. 

For an additional fee, there is also a train ride and an adjacent museum, but we didn’t do either one, though I did take this picture of my dad and four youngest kids in front of the train.

In the gift shop, I bought a book (Growing Up in Coal Country), as well as a lump of coal, some polished stones, and a cross necklace with a small piece of coal embedded in the middle.

We loved our drive through the beautiful Pennsylvania small towns and country side.  

Small town life
Pennsylvania countryside

Road cut through the mountain

After arriving in Wilkes-Barre, we checked into our hotel and joined the extended family for dinner at a buffet restaurant.  Later, the kids swam in the indoor pool with their second cousins.

Stay tuned for a post on the Hess memorial and reunion.

Virginia Knowles


About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Bible~Theology, Education for Life, Making Memories, My Parents ~ My Childhood, Road Trip 2014, Traveling North, Vintage. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Coal Miner’s Great-Great-Granddaughter (Road Trip 2014)

  1. Judith says:

    We like going to Ferry's Pizzaria in Moscow, PA where the owner has videos and pictures, etc. of mining days. It might be spelled 'Ferri' I can't remember though I pass it all the time. Mosow is outside of Scranton by Moosic.

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