Huber Breaker memorial dedicated to Ashley miners
ASHLEY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- Standing on the shoulders of giants who came before.
"My great grandfather was a Northeastern Pennsylvania coal miner. I'm proud to say that," said Lorena Beniquez, author of "Lost Coal Country of Northeastern Pennsylvania".
Today, unveiling a part of history people in this community recall with pride, dedicating a Pennsylvania historic market to the Huber Breaker and the borough of Ashley.
"The legacy of coal, however, is much more than just an economic legacy. The legacy of coal is written in the faces of the families that gather with us today to remember the toil, sweat and tears of our forefathers who earned their living with a pickaxe and a shovel," said Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon).
The Huber Coal Breaker was one of the last and largest anthracite coal breakers in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Blue Coal went bankrupt in 1976 and was demolished three years ago, despite efforts by the The Huber Breaker Preservation Society.
Senator Yudichak says this newly dedicated memorial, located at Miners Memorial Park, will serve as a window to the past.
"Coal sparked the industrial revolution, and it fueled the light of democracy across the full breath of the 20th century," he said.
And honoring those that built up the region.
"I'm proud to know that his work ethic lives on in my family today and we still tell stories about how he built this family after coming from Sicily with nothing in his pocket," said Beniquez.
"It not only honors the miners, it honors their wives, their children, those people who carried that legacy forward of hard work, of commitment to community, of pride and of faith," said Michele Casey, secretary of the Huber Breaker Preservation Board.
They aspire to give future generations a legacy to find inspiration in.
"Think twenty-five, fifty, even a hundred years from now. The educational value of this, the fact a child's going to be going past that and say 'what was the Huber Breaker?' And who knows what they'll be 'googling' or 'binging' or doing seventy-five or a hundred years from now, but somebody's going to have interest in what happened on this site and what it did to change America and to change the world," said Bill Lewis of the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission.
Ashley borough officials also say there is a new economic strategy in the works called Ashley Vision 2020, a plan with Penn Strategies to revitalize the borough in time for its 150th anniversary in 2020.