Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour

The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum

Useful Information

Location: McDade Park, Scranton.
I-81 north, exit 182, at lights turn left, next lights again left, follow Davis St. for 5 km. I-81 south, exit 191B, then McDade Expressway to Keyser Avenue exit, turn right onto Keyser Avenue, 5 km.
Open: Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour: APR to NOV daily 10-16:20.
The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum: all year Mon-Sat 9-17, Sun 12-17.
Fee: Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour: Adults USD 6, Children (3-12) USD 4, Seniors (65+) USD 5.75.
The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum: Adults USD 4, Children (6-17) USD 2, Children (0-8) free, Seniors (60+) USD 3.50.
Classification: anthracite mine MineCoal Mine, SubterraneaMining Museum GeologyGlacial Mill
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=10 °C.
Guided tours: D=90 m, L=400 m.
Bibliography: Kevin Patrick (2004): Pennsylvania Caves & other rocky roadside wonders, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pa, USA, 248 pp, illus. p 215-216, 229
Address: Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, McDade Park, Scranton, PA 18504, Tel: +1-570-963-6590, Free: 800-238-7245.
The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, RD #1, Bald Mountain Road, Scranton, PA 18504, Tel: +1-570-963-4804, Fax: +1-570-963-4194. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1860 coal mine opened.
1904 457 men mined 246,560 tons of coal.
1964 51,870 tons of coal produced.
1966 mine closed.
1985 opened to the public as the Lackawanna Coal Mine.


In Lackawanna Coal Mine hard coal or anthracite, a special form of nearly pure natural carbon was mined. The passages wind along the veins of this rare form of coal. The Pennsylvanian Llewellyn Formation contains numerous rather thin anthracite seams.

Anthracite is rather rare, as it is the end stage of a very long process converting biologic remains, peat, into coal and then into carbon by a certain amount of pressure and heat, called coalification. If the temperature and pressure are too low, the layers will only become coal, if they are too high the carbon will disappear. The exact conditions needed to produce anthracite are rare and so are anthracite deposits, at least compared to the amount of other coal deposits.


Originally called the Continental Mine, when opened in 1860. The 528 foot [160 m]deep shaft intersected half a dozen coal seams.

The underground tour is taken on a mine train which takes the visitor to a depth of 300 feet [90 m] below the surface to the Dumore 1 and 2 levels. The former is only 15 inches [30 cm] high, which means that the miner had to work, outstretched on his side to mine the coal. As all the equipment was left in situ when the mine closed, the tour has the appearance of passing through a working mine. There are life sized mannequins showing everyday working in the mine. At one point there are some fingers protruding from a rock fall. Although more Disneyland than Industrial Archaeology, there is something here to interest both adults and children alike.

Text by Tony Oldham (2005). With kind permission.

The anthracite was a very important factor for the prosperity of the area and so a nearby museum, The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum tells the story of this anthracite mining. This two sites are very close together, in a geographic way, and in a more substantial way, so it is a good idea to combine both visits.

Another impressive feature nearby is locally called a Archbald Pothole. It is a natural geologic feature, a sort of erosional cave, but it was also part of the mining activities. It is a famous tourist destination since 1940, and today it is part of Archbald Pothole State Park.

During the Wisconsin Glacial Period (some 15,000 BP) northeastern Pennsylvania was covered by a glacier. Meltwater flowing on top of it broke through a crevasse and fell to the bedrock hundreds of metre below. Rock fragments whirling at the bottom of the waterfall carved into the bedrock, deeper and deeper. The result is a glacial mill or moulin, 11.5 m deep and 13 by 7m wide at the top, 5 by 4 m wide at the bottom. It was found by in 1884 by a coal miner, and used as a ventilation shaft for the mine. Another glacial mill about 350 m away is thought to be bigger, but it is filled by younger sediments.