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Breaking Down The Huber Breaker

ASHLEY — There’s not much left of a building that stood as a symbol of the mining heritage in the Wilkes-Barre area.

On Thursday, demolition crews brought down the Huber Breaker in Ashley.

Newswatch 16 found people showing up to say good-bye to the piece of history.

Cell phone video shows it only took a matter of seconds to bring down what stood for decades as a symbol of the mining heritage in the Wyoming Valley.

The Huber Breaker in Ashley is now only a heap of scrap metal.

“It’s breaking my heart, it’s sad, it’s almost like going to a cemetery,” said Calvin Bell of Ashley.

It did seem a bit like a wake for the old breaker on this day after the demolition. Many people stopped by, some getting emotional.

They watched as heavy equipment continued ripping apart Huber history piece by piece.

Calvin Bell worked there in the 1960s.

“It’s hard to talk about. The whole breaker, I’ve been all over it, from the top to the bottom.”

“I wanted my grandson to see a part of history,” said Effie Patts of Sugar Notch. “Being from this area, it’s been a big part of the scenery here and the way of life.”

Patts and her grandson took some old chunks of coal as mementos.

A group led a fight to save the place, but a company from Philadelphia bought the facility that was visible for miles and brought it down.

“It’s very sad. I remember when it was in running order and a lot of the men were employed,” Patts recalled.

There’s a memorial that stands for all those who worked in the mines. The memorial stands for a lot more now, for the breaker itself.

“It just buckled and came straight down. It was just gone in seconds, just a matter of seconds,” said Mark Kane of Ashley.

Kane watched the breaker crumble. He took cell phone video that quickly went viral online. He witnessed the end of a building where his grandfather and great-grandfather worked and he and many other kids in the area explored.

“It was real interesting because I’ve been there so many times. It was almost like a playground for me when I was a kid. Now it’s going to the junkyard in shambles.”

2 comments

  • Karen

    I grew up in Nanticoke and I remember the whistles blowing for the shift changes of the miners plus seeing the last of the breakers working then…my Grandfather and Uncle worked for the mines, so did my husband’s Grandfather, Father and Uncles…it is a loss of history that founded many towns in NE Pa…sad to see these landmarks torn down…our State or Federal Governments should have saved them all and turned them into historic landmarks …unfortunately it’s all about money and politics…too bad because once this is all gone there won’t be any reminders of how our ancestors worked so hard to build the towns. As many know it was and still is dangerous and very hard work for the men ( and boys back then ) to put a roof over their heads and food on the tables for their families… Our mining heritage is something to be very proud of !

  • ME

    I don’t live in Ashley, but it’s sad to see this piece of history, lost forever.
    I know it’s very expensive to move and maintain something like this, but it’s a shame, some museum or other organization, can’t get a piece of it.

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