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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Blast Back to 1950 in the Endless Mountains


5. An Oddball Day

The Lackawanna Coal Mine  

Just a 45-minute drive south from Susquehanna County is one of the lesser-known parcels of the National Park Service: Steamtown National Historic Site, which gives a powerful sense of the dank, dark, filthy working conditions of the late industrial revolution. After touring a roundhouse and watching mechanics repair the park’s working engines, hop on a steam train for a ride through the autumn countryside (reserve in advance). Alternately, sign up for the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour in McDade Park, where you’ll board a mine car and rattle 360 feet down into the heart of the old 190 Continental Coal Mine. Most tours are led by retired miners, who explain how coal was extracted, tell of the terrible dangers and diseases, and gamely answer the inevitable question about how workers went to the bathroom underground.

Published on Sep 25, 2007 as a web exclusive.

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