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Preserving Pennsylvania's coal mining history

It's a way to preserve the efforts of working-class families that helped fuel the nation from right in northeastern Pennsylvania.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — They say you should walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

Jane Welki from Dallas got a chance to do just that at Eckley's Miners Village on Sunday afternoon. And the footsteps she was following belonged to family. 

"My grandparents were breaker boys, worked in the mines. Supposedly my aunt is in a picture down the road, I think. Someone said she taught in a school," said Jane Welki, Dallas.

While Jane tracked down pieces of her family history, plenty of others immersed themselves in this 19th-century mining town as part of the annual Patchtown Days summer festival.

Mark Prime volunteered to give visitors a taste of what the 'company store' would've been like for the workers who lived here.

"Basically, you would have come here and if you needed any your supplies and basically the company owned the store. But they were not necessarily here to help the miners out. You would get a paycheck every so often, but they would deduct anything you needed, like food supplies, you know mining equipment like shovels, pick axes, explosives," said Prime, volunteer.

It was a tough life back then; an experience that's now preserved for people to learn from. 

"It started with the Museum looking at all the pictures with the kids and that. I mean, these kids are like eight years old. We're trying to relate them to our nephews and grandkids. It's crazy. I'm sure a lot of people don't know any of this stuff. Hopefully, it'll continue to stay preserved, because I think it's something people need to, especially if you have a tie to it," said Welki.

For Lalit Chauhan and his family, they had no idea this place even existed.

They're from Connecticut and were on a camping trip nearby looking for another activity to do and they picked a good weekend for it. 

"I came across this place Eckley's Miners Village. I thought okay, let's go try it out. Apparently, this happens to be one of the special days when they show you the inside of the house and this looks amazing," said Lalit Chauhan, Connecticut.

It also happened to be a good fit for Father's Day.

"All the miners, they did a good job, and the fathers must have been working really hard and so did their wives and kids. So yes, it's good to be out here on a Father's Day," said Chauhan.

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