One of the other family stories that my Dad tells is that when he was a boy in the late 1920’s and 1930’s, his family frequently rode the train from Norristown where they lived via the Reading Railroad all the way to the coal regions including Tamaqua and Mahonoy City. These trips were free since by then my grandfather was a Reading Railroad employee. Dad remembers visiting a relative whose house was actually directly atop a coal mine. In one room there was a large trap door in the floor and when the trap door was open he and his cousins would drop rocks into the vertical shaft below the house. It took several seconds of falling before the rocks would hit bottom. Apparently, a miner could somehow lower himself, or be lowered, into the shaft to mine and remove coal up into the house.
By John Spitko, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Singer