Huber Breaker – Ashley, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura
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Ashley, Pennsylvania

Huber Breaker

This demolished goliath of American industry once loomed over the depressed town it once made thrive. 

Sorry, Huber Breaker is permanently closed.

Update: Unfortunately, the Huber Breaker stood for the last time on April 24, 2014. It now lays as a heap of steel waiting to be transported for scrap. 

An abandoned anthracite coal mine that was once at the forefront of American industry, Pennsylvania’s Huber Breaker is a symbol of the country’s industrial past that is in danger of being turned into scrap.

Built in 1938 by the Blue Coal company, the Huber Breaker was the most technologically advanced coal mine of its time. Standing 11 stories tall at over 130 feet, the massive operation was capable of processing over 1,000 tons of coal an hour, literally breaking large chunks of anthracite coal into household-sized pieces. Closed in 1972 after the valley was flooded, and still lying abandoned today, the breaker still looms over the town which it once caused to thrive.

At its height, the neighboring town of Wilkes-Barre was home to an elevated railroad, a gilded opera house, four theaters, and a booming downtown area. Today, Ashley and Wilkes-Barre suffer the same fate that most coal mining towns do when the mines lie dormant. A depressed economy has settled into the towns which are still lie in the shadow of the hulking breaker that dominates the landscape. A dedicated group of volunteers though are trying to preserve the area’s rich history and the coal mine that was once at the heart of the American industrial revolution.

The Huber Breaker Preservation Society are trying their utmost to preserve this important landmark of American history. Unfortunately, it seems that the land may be out of their reach and estimates are being drawn as to the breaker’s value as scrap metal. Whether the society succeeds in saving the industrial relic, they have established a nearby memorial park, ensuring that the breaker’s importance to both American history and the legacy of its attendant towns will not be forgotten.