Coal in the Swatara Creek

Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: LDPosse On: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:03 pm

I live just up the street from the Swatara creek near Hershey. I went out for a walk yesterday since it was so nice out. This is the first I had been in this area since the flood back in September. Interestingly, I noticed that there was a lot of sand that was stirred up and deposited up above the banks of the creek. The sand appeared to have granular coal mixed in, and looking around, i began to find pieces of coal mixed in. As I walked upstream towards the low-head Hershey dam, I noticed nut and stove sized pieces of coal. I collected some samples and brought them back to the house to see if they were indeed coal. I put them in the stove, and sure enough, they burned!

It looks like this coal must have been in the creek for a long time, it is very weathered. I had heard that the Swatara Creek used to be called the "Black Swattie" back in they heydays of coal mining, I think this must just be the remnants of those days gone by.

Although I'm less than 30 miles as the crow flies from the Tremont / Donaldson / Good Spring area where the Swatara creek originates, that coal has travelled over 50 miles in the creek to get to here!

First Few Pieces
Image


Coal I picked up
Image


I was able to break it apart fairly easily
Image
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: mozz On: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:10 pm

Maybe they used to float coal barges in the creek?
mozz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: crazy4coal On: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:24 pm

I wonder if it's from some of the houses that washed away or outside coal bins. The pieces with sharp edges can't have been there to long.
crazy4coal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: buderus
Stove/Furnace Model: logana


Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: LDPosse On: Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:21 pm

mozz wrote:Maybe they used to float coal barges in the creek?


The creek isn't navigable by a vessel of any appreciable size. In some spots, I'll get stuck in my kayak. There is, however, about 100 yards to the north, the remnants of the Union Canal, which was used to transport Anthracite in the 1800s. I might have to go poke around there and see what's sitting on the bottom.
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: LDPosse On: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:34 pm

crazy4coal wrote:I wonder if it's from some of the houses that washed away or outside coal bins. The pieces with sharp edges can't have been there to long.


The only sharp pieces were ones that I broke apart, however, I guess the coal getting into the creek from a home being flooded would be likely. Not so much in the 2011 flood, but similarly devastating floods in 1972 and 1889.

The flooding this past year though, was almost unimaginable. The creek is normally 1-2 feet deep, and we saw flood waters nearly 30 feet deep.
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: pine grove coal user On: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:46 pm

I am sure this is old coal. There used to be a dredging operation in Jonestown that 'harvested' the coal that washed down the Black Swattie from the operations in Pine Grove and above.
pine grove coal user
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: H. S. Tarm, model 202, 1983
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Reading 'bucket a day' stove in storage, waiting for attention
Coal Size/Type: Oiled Pea coal
Other Heating: New Yorker oil burner which almost never runs, thanks to the Tarm!

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: LDPosse On: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:45 pm

pine grove coal user wrote:I am sure this is old coal. There used to be a dredging operation in Jonestown that 'harvested' the coal that washed down the Black Swattie from the operations in Pine Grove and above.


Wow, that's neat! Any idea how long it's been since they've dredged there?
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: pine grove coal user On: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:44 pm

I don't, but I'm sure the Lebanon County Historical Society would have information on it.
pine grove coal user
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: H. S. Tarm, model 202, 1983
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Reading 'bucket a day' stove in storage, waiting for attention
Coal Size/Type: Oiled Pea coal
Other Heating: New Yorker oil burner which almost never runs, thanks to the Tarm!

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: LDPosse On: Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:01 am

pine grove coal user wrote:I don't, but I'm sure the Lebanon County Historical Society would have information on it.


I will have to check that out.

Looking at the maps of the southern coal field, I see that it skims the northern border of Lebanon county. I've walked around the area of boxcar rocks / chinese wall, and along the stony valley rail trail towards cold spring, rausch gap, yellow springs, etc. There is visible evidence of coal being mined in these areas, but there isn't much information online about mining. Just a few blurbs about the towns and that is all. Sounds like a trip to the historical society is in order!
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine, Warm Morning
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Heatrola

Re: Coal in the Swatara Creek

PostBy: MATTHEW D. On: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:13 pm

pine grove coal user wrote:I am sure this is old coal. There used to be a dredging operation in Jonestown that 'harvested' the coal that washed down the Black Swattie from the operations in Pine Grove and above.

Remember the Swatara Creek Coal Co. between Branch Dale and New Town. Maybe it came from there? :gee:
MATTHEW D.
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AXEMAN-ANDERSON & EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 & 900 x 2