Schuylkill County has a a rich history: We fueled the Industrial Revolution.
Schuylkill County has a proud history: The U.S. labor movement got a foothold here.
Schuylkill County has an enduring history: The anthracite and farming legacies that built Schuylkill County remain important elements in our lives today.
Schuylkill County was created March 1, 1811, from parts of Berks and Northampton counties; it was named for the Schuylkill River.
Today, Schuylkill County is known for Yuengling beer and Mrs. T’s pierogies, for major U.S. companies like Lowe’s and Alcoa, and for unique tourist attractions like the Pioneer Tunnel in Ashland and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in the New Ringgold area. And more good things are happening.
An economic development highlight is the Highridge Industrial Park on Interstate 81. Area residents are coming together in Ashland, Frackville, Girardville, Mahanoy City, Ringtown,Shenandoah, Tamaqua, Pottsville, and Schuylkill Haven to revitalize their communities. preserve their rich cultural heritage, and promote economic growth through downtown revitalization.
Agriculture continues to be a viable industry today, generating more than $42 million annually. Of the more than 500,000 acres that make up Schuylkill’s territory, 20 percent remain farmland. The Ag Land Preservation Act and the Clean and Green program are in place to ensure that production doesn’t wane.
In 1840, nearly 60 percent of the county’s 29,053 people were involved in operations dependent upon the coal industry. The world now knew what Necho Allen had discovered on a cold night on Broad Mountain in 1790 — that coal was a hotter and longer-burning fuel source.
As the coal market emerged in the 1800s, however, dangerous and often unfair work practices resulted in the formation of a unionized labor movement. John Siney of Saint Clair in 1868 was one of the founders of the Workingman’s Benevolent Association, a predecessor of today’s United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
Despite the industry’s decline throughout the 1900s, Schuylkill County still has 90 percent of the world’s anthracite reserves. Coal refuse is currently being used in co-generation plants to make electricity, and its byproducts can be used to make linoleum, synthetic rubber and other materials. And coal remains a potential part of the county’s future, too. An effort is under way to develop an anthracite-to-oil conversion plant.
Meanwhile, the county continues its progress in other areas. Schuylkill County’s VISION is laying a groundwork of goals to guide the county to an even brighter future.
A vision for the future, and a proud heritage, drive us forward.
For more information on Schuylkill County’s rich history visit the Schuylkill County Historical website at: http://www.schuylkillhistory.org/