Southwestern Pennsylvania's Coal Region

Book by Marion M. Piccolomini

The author, in her introduction to Southwestern Pennsylvania's Coal Region, says: “This book shares the importance of the region and the uniqueness of the area across several counties in southwestern Pennsylvania through pictures. Images of sites when the industries dominated the region are paired with pictures of those sites today, integrating the past with the present and paying tribute to the people and industries that made it all work, setting the foundation for the region today.”

She is not exaggerating. This 95-page book is filled with photos – historic as well as current.

It is not a book with tons of information, but the extensive cutlines are sure to teach readers something new.

Southwestern Pennsylvania's Coal Region is divided by chapters: Coal-Coke-Steel, Coke Production, Organized Labor, Communities, Disasters, and Industry Leaders.

Locals will be particularly interested in photos of Windber and, in fact, six pages are filled with photos from the borough.

The Sonman Mine explosion that killed  63 men in 1940 was not included in the Disaster chapter, but possibly Portage is not considered part of the Southwestern Pennsylvania coal region the author included in the book.

Overall, lovers of history and lovers of our coal heritage will be interested in Southwestern Pennsylvania's Coal Region.

Arcadia Publishing produces some very fine books. In fact, it bills itself as “the nation's leading publisher of books of local history and local interest.” Its mission is to “connect people with their past with their communities and with one another.” Arcadia Publishing has published 15,000 local titles.

Those of local interest include: Around Cresson and the Alleghenies by Sr. Anne Frances Pulling; Northern Cambria by Sr. Anne Frances Pulling; Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains: The First Frontier by Dave Hurst; Johnstown by Lyndee Jobe Henderson and R. Dean Jobe; Johnstown Trolleys and Incline by Kenneth C. Springirth; Johnstown, Pennsylvania: A History, Part One: 1895-1936 by Randy Whittle; Johnstown, Pennsylvania: A History, Part Two: 1937-1980 by Randy Whittle; Banished from Johnstown: Racist Backlash in Pennsylvania by Cody McDevitt, Foreword by Tony Norman; and

Vintondale by Denise Dusza Weber.

There also are books about Ligonier, Somerset, Indiana, Idlewild Park and many others.

For more information or to purchase books, go to

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