Thanks to modern technology, and the Plymouth Historical Society, it is now possible to “visit” the site of Wyoming Valley’s worst mining disaster without leaving home.
Countless family trees compiled by Wyoming Valley genealogists include miners and other people who worked in and about the area’s old anthracite coal mines. Often genealogists of today want to see those sites, particularly those where fate took the lives of ancestors and others who went to work in the below-ground darkness every day.
Recently the society put online a 20-minute video tour of the dilapidated old Avondale mine area, which lies just off U.S. Route 11 in Plymouth Township.
That is the place where on Sept. 6, 1869, 110 workers perished after a fire started above ground, trapping the men below and cutting off their air supply, bringing their deaths by noxious gases. Several brave men who tried to rescue the miners also died.
The site is open to the public, and many people have visited. But, as the video warns, conditions for visitors to the ruins and the brushy area can be treacherous, and great care is advised. To access the video, go to www.plymouthhistoricalsocietyluzernecopa.org. Scroll down to “Tour of the Avondale Mine Site” and click on it.
While you’re on the website, take a look at the Plymouth Historical Society’s holdings, which could be of great help to genealogists seeking information on Plymouth-area ancestors.
The society is at 115 Gaylord Ave., Plymouth. It’s open noon to 4 p.m. Thursday and Saturday from April through November. Call 570-779-5840.
Genealogical Society News: You have two more days this month to visit the research library of the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, where you will find huge quantities of material to advance your genealogy study. The library will be open Thursday and again on April 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The library is in the caretaker building of the Hanover Green Cemetery, Main Road, Hanover Township.
Nanticoke History: The Nanticoke Historical Society will offer its Virtual Tour #4 at 3 p.m. on April 22. “Explore the streets of old Nanticoke through pictures and video of things and places long since gone,” the society said. The event will be held at the St. Faustina Cultural Centre, Church and Maple streets, site of the former St. Stanislaus Church. Admission is free.
Kingston History: The Kingston Historical Society will present “The History of Kingston High School” on April 26. The event is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Wyoming Valley West Middle School, located on Chester Street in Kingston. Displays will feature photos and artifacts about the high school. The venue itself is part of the exhibit. The middle school served as Kingston High School from 1928 until the mid-1960s, when the Wyoming Valley West School District was formed. The presentation is free and open to the public.
News Notes: Congratulations once more to the Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society for its quick work in rehabbing and restoring the 18th-century Zebulon Butler House. Recent Facebook postings have highlighted the infrastructure work that will make it possible for the public to visit the historic building.
Meanwhile, fundraising continues for the restoration of another historic Wilkes-Barre building – the Irem Temple. Now more than a century old, the huge building has been the site of hundreds of events down through the years, not the least of which were talks, performances and other appearances by leaders in the arts and public affairs.
Tom Mooney is a Times Leader genealogy columnist. Reach him at [email protected]