Built in 1892 as the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Breaker (Maxwell #20), then rebuilt in 1939 as the Huber Breaker, it is more commonly known today as the Ashley Breaker. This giant building was used by the Glen Alden Coal Company to crush and size the coal brought to the surface from three nearby mines. The coal was sorted, washed, and put into train gondolas awaiting in the yard behind the breaker. In the 1800's and first half of the 1900's, structures like these produced almost all of the nation's coal right here in Northeastern PA. Millions of men and boys worked in these enormous, noisy buildings. Seven to ten thousand people alone worked in the 134 foot tall, 11-story Huber breaker. Towards the end of the colliery's operation, they painted the coal blue as a marketing ploy. Thus the name Blue Coal Company. There is still over spray on the walls where the coal was painted. Today, it is in a state of disarray due to vandals and exposure to the elements. Walkways are loose, steps are missing, handrails are gone, and hundreds of the steel-reinforced windows are broken or missing. Most of the machinery has been stolen since the breaker was shut down in 1976.
Keywords:Ashley, Blue, Breaker, CNJ, Coal, Colliery, Huber, anthracite
© Matthew Malkiewicz - Lost Tracks of Time