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Silliman's Shaft

The Springdale Shaft was operated by the North Mahanoy Colliery which opened in 1858 and was owned by James and Edward Silliman. During the early days of the colliery the main source of mining was driving 5 drifts westward into the mammoth vein. In 1869 they sunk the first slope over 300 feet to the south dip of the 7 foot vein. In 1870 a disastrous fire destroyed most of the colliery buildings and breaker which caused a loss of $60,000. At this time the colliery was sold to Rommel, Hill & Harris who erected a new breaker and sank a new slope 266 feet on the top split vein. The colliery was purchased by the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company in 1873. By the year 1897, the Schuylkill Colliery was abandoned and it was merged with the North Mahanoy Colliery. The coal for both was then prepared in a new remodeled and enlarged breaker. The connection between the two Collieries was made from the North Mahanoy seven foot slope gangway to the third and fourth levels of the Schuylkill buck mountain vein by a tunnel. In 1897, the Springdale Colliery of Lentz, Lilly & Co. was abandoned and allowed to fill with water. This colliery in early mining operations connected with the Schuylkill Colliery workings. The P&R C&I Co. decided not to allow the water to rise more than 20 ft. in the Springdale Shaft as a protection to their own colliery. The Springdale Shaft was reopened in 1914. In 1910, an electric haulage system was installed in the Schuylkill section of the colliery. All mining ceased on January 7, 1931 and the shaft was allowed to fill with water. The breaker and boiler house were removed in 1935.

One building and a few foundations are all that remain at the North Mahanoy Colliery. The Springdale Shaft, located about half a mile from the colliery, is one of only a very few vertical shafts fully intact.



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