The region is a study in contrasts. Cutting across mountains, waterfalls and lakes, it’s as flush with beauty as it is with coal. Houses peek out of the green, tree-lined valleys that spawned famous Americans such as writer John O’Hara, actor Jack Palance, musicians Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and former Vice President Joe Biden. But violence and disaster also mark the rugged terrain — from the massacre of striking Lattimer miners and the hanging of alleged Molly Maguires in the late 1800s, to the tragic breach of the Knox Creek Mine in 1959.
The industry that once defined and supported the people living there has burned out. In its place are poverty, sickness and addiction.
This is the first article in an absolutely fantastic series of articles about the region of PA that I’m from and where we now live (we’re in Tamaqua, a neighboring town of Lansford, which is mentioned heavily in the article).
Things are really, really bleak for a lot of people out here in the sticks and it’s pretty sad.