Up in the Air

This week, guest blogger Robert Quarteroni fills us in on a major project at Eckley Miners’ Village. Thanks, Bob.

Typical miner’s house at Eckley

When they say things are up in the air at Eckley Miners’ Village, they are not kidding.

In fact, 10 things are up in the air: 10 buildings, eight miners’ houses and two superintendents’ dwellings, have been lifted right off their foundations and set to the side.

One of the hydraulic jacks used to raise a house off its foundation

A giant Gulliver playing with the buildings? No, rather a fairly comprehensive facelift for the historic “patch town” turned living museum situated in southern Luzerne County. Or, in the official language of Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services (DGS), “Restoration of Miners Houses – Eckley Miners’ Village.” (DGS oversees procurement of goods and services, manages non-highway capital projects and is responsible for numerous core operations of state government, including management of state buildings and facilities. DGS also serves as the state’s real estate agent and insurance broker.)

One of the rollers used to move the houses off their foundations

The comprehensive $2.181 million project will remake the face of the Village. According to the plan, “The intent of this project is to structurally stabilize the designated buildings, reconstruct those (or portions thereof) which are beyond repair and repair exteriors.” Ten buildings are being lifted to allow workers to completely rebuild each foundation. At the same time, remediation efforts can remove any asbestos insulation or lead paint from the dwellings. Work takes place on one building at a time.

Workers from Panzitta Enterprises preparing to move the houses via the roller/beam arrangement

“This project is an important step in preserving the Village’s historic buildings so that future generations will be able to enjoy the legacy of our coal mining heritage,” says David Dubick, Eckley historic site administrator.

General contractor for the work is Panzitta Enterprises. Work started in early September and is slated to be completed by January, 2012.

Five years ago, a similar project stabilized 12 Village buildings.


Anonymous said...

What a great project! Thanks for preserving this part of our history!

Craig A. Benner said...

When I was doing a photo project at Eckley quite a few years back I had the great pleasure of meeting David Dubick. He impressed me greatly and I left Eckley with the impression that he was indeed the right man for the job.

As part of the photo project I also had the chance to stay overnight in one of the miner's houses, which was an experience in an of itself!

I enjoyed my time at Eckley very much! It is good to see what all is happening elsewhere in the PHMC!

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