Wednesday, March 9, 2011

St. Nicholas Coal Breaker

The St. Nicholas Coal Breaker, outside of Mahanoy City, is an imposing abandoned industrial mammoth to behold. One time it was the largest coal breaker in the world. Now it lies empty as if the world around it just ended. The place is still in decent shape, despite 45 years of being forgotten. Reports from those who have been on the inside say it looks as though everyone just left one day and never returned. Aside from a lot of broken windows, the place has seemed to not be succumbed with the normal graffiti that happens with places like this.

The breaker started operation in 1932 and was owned by the Reading Anthracite Company. The breaker is so large that half of the village of nearby Suffolk was relocated to make room.

A coal breaker does just what its name says: breaks coal into various sizes to be used in furnaces. During its heyday, the breaker would produce 12,500 tons of coal a day. The setup was so efficient it took only 12 minutes for the raw coal to pass through the entire production process. The breaker was in operation for 31 years before closing in 1963. The breaker consists of 3,800 tons of steel, 10,000 cubic yards of concrete, 1 ½ miles of conveyors, 20 miles of piping and 118 miles of wire and cable. Quite an impressive feat of engineering, if you ask me.

Outta the Way recommends getting a glimpse of this massive factory before it’s sure to meet its demise, the wrecking ball.

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