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     Nesquehoning is the oldest of the mining towns in the Carbon County. The name is of Indian origin, signifying narrow valley.  

     Anthracite coal was discovered at Nesquehoning in 1785.

     The coal produced at Nesquehoning was originally carried to Mauch Chunk on the Room Run gravity railroad, along the line of the present road between the two places. This railroad was built in 1830. For years mules were employed to haul the empty cars back to the mines, being later displaced by a wood burning locomotive, which was brought across the mountains from Tamaqua by teams. The gravity road was abandoned upon the building of the Nesquehoning Valley Railroad.

     The first house here was built for Thomas Kelly in 1824. One of the memorable events in the early history of the town was the celebration of the centenary of Washington's birth, in 1832. The people of Lehighton, Mauch Chunk, Lausanne and other places participated in this patriotic function, one of the features of which was a great dinner, given at the home of N. Allen.

     This locality was at first popularly known as "Hell's Kitchen" or "the Kitchen."

     The first breaker at Nesquehoning was run by waterpower, and it is believed that with a single exception it was the only one thus operated in the anthracite region.

     The first school here was started in 1830.

     A post office was established at Nesquehoning in 1838 with Joseph Minehard in charge. It was at first kept at the store of the company operating the colliery. In 1910, the office was raised to the presidential rank.

     St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, the first house of worship to be erected between Mauch Chunk and Tamaqua, was built in 1839, under the leadership of Rev. James Maloney. For some time it was attended by missionaries from Easton, and services were held only a few times each year. About 1848, Rev. Patrick J. Hennegan, a conspicuous figure in the early history of Catholicity in this portion of the coal fields, appeared upon the scene. He was at first stationed at Tamaqua, and had a large field of labor. In 1850, he took up residence at Nesquehoning. The only reminder of this church is the grave yard which adjoined it, in which lie the remains of many of the first Catholics of Mauch Chunk, who worshipped here before the organization of a church of their faith at that place. The church of the Sacred Heart is the successor of that first named.

     The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1863 by Rev. Henry H. Davis. David Trevarrow was a local preacher of the congregation. The present building was dedicated in 1890, and is a memorial to Hames Meeds, a former resident of Nesquehoning, who contributed liberally towards its erection.

     St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church, a handsome structure costing sixteen thousand dollars, was built in 1910.

     Nesquehoning Hose Company No. 1 was organized in 1908, and a substantial firehouse was built in 1911.

     To learn much more about the history of Nesquehoning, view the calendars. Each calendar has old pictures with captions.


     There’s a controversy as to the date of Nesquehoning. One history book says the first house was built for Thomas Kelley in 1824. Many old time residents of Nesquehoning question this year because they remember their schoolteachers saying Nesquehoning was started in 1798. 
     Nesquehoning was definitely a result of the coal mining industry. Miners needed a place to live and houses were built to accommodate them.  Records indicate the first discovery of coal at Nesquehoning was in 1786. In 1793 the land was purchased from Jacob Weiss and a company was formed under the title of the “Lehigh Coal Mine Company. An article from 1806 indicates coal from Nesquehoning’s Room Run mine was sent to Philadelphia. Another article from 1814 says, Jacob Cist, Charles Miner and John Robinson, signed a lease with the Lehigh Coal Mine Company on December 10, 1813, to work the mines at Nesquehoning. There are records that show births at Nesquehoning in the early 1800’s. Most Nesquehoning teachers were born and raised in Nesquehoning, their parents and grand parents were born here and were the first settlers. The teachers were probably right when they told their students Nesquehoning started in 1798. 
     In 1820 the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company was started and was incorporated in 1822. When the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company took over the mines at Nesquehoning they also became the owner of most of the land in Nesquehoning. They had the land surveyed and sold building lots. They also built many houses for the miners; maybe the first house they built was for Thomas Kelley in 1824. Nesquehoning was known as a “Company town.” Almost everyone worked for The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company or provided services for those who did. In the early years, the Company built houses for the employees. Rent charged for the homes were extremely low. A Company store, sold to the miners on “the cuff.” On payday, the Company deducted the amount owed from the miners’ pay. Since the Company owned almost all the land and all the mineral rights, as well as numerous homes and other buildings, it was by far the largest taxpayer in Nesquehoning, for example, 60 per cent of all taxes were paid by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. The Company was generous in its help to local governments, schools, churches, and associations of all kinds; it was a “soft touch” for almost every community activity, particularly because so many officials and supervisors were active in many civic and social activities. The real estate department, with its own maintenance crew, was called upon to do much public service work. Garbage collection, snow removal and street repairs were done by the LC&N. Company services were used quite freely by many of the bosses and employees. The Company was generous in making gifts for the community projects. They gave land for parks and playgrounds and sent workers to build ball fields for the children. It donated a former mule stable in Nesquehoning to become a recreational facility. Company foremen and officials were active on town school boards, governments and other community activities. In earlier years, the Company supervisors controlled local politics because of their influence on the workers. Republican candidates usually won elections. The strong Company influence on local politics when the Company was “supreme” eventually had an adverse effect on the relations between the Company and its workers. However, the paternalistic attitude of the Company was beneficial to the local residents. The strong tax base provided by the Company made it possible to have better streets and community services than other mining areas in the anthracite region. 
     The Company’s Board of Managers met in Philadelphia on Thursday, June 24, 1954 and decided to discontinue mining operations. Thus the chapter on Company operation of the coalmines for 134 years was finally closed.

I'll be adding more History about Nesquehoning to this page, so check back later. There are some interesting articles about Nesquehoning to be added.



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