Courtesy of No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum
AAA Editor Notes
No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum is off SR 209, following signs to 9 Dock St. A battery-operated mine locomotive transports visitors 1,600 feet horizontally into the mountainside where anthracite coal was mined 1855-1972. No. 9, owned by Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co., was said to be the world's oldest continuously operated coal mine.

You'll need to duck and bend over as you climb into the bright yellow metal mine car, which noisily clanks and rumbles its way into the dark, dank, chilly world of the coal miners and their search for black diamonds.

A guided walking tour leads down a maze of narrow, dimly lit passageways, as the dangers and hard work required to bring the coal to the surface are related. This is a no-frills tour. Deposits of rust can be seen above and on the sides of the walls, and water drips, forming puddles of water on the floor.

You'll see the muleway (the path taken by the mules that were lowered into the mine to haul the heavy carloads of coal out before electric/battery motors came into use); a “hospital” cut into the stone of the mine (more like a room with a cot, some chairs, bandages, crutches and blankets); and the 700-foot-deep elevator shaft used to transfer the miners and loaded coal cars between the working levels.

Above ground, the museum is housed in a former wash shanty, where miners would hang their clothes from the ceiling. You'll also see a kitchen typical of a miner's home, photographs, tools and mining memorabilia.

Note: A jacket or sweater and comfortable closed-toe walking shoes are recommended; the mine temperature averages 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.

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