SCRANTON -- The hoist car at the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour carried fifth graders from the Hanover Area School District at long last. They were one of the first to take the tour after its opening was delayed by three weeks.
"Well, I wouldn't want to be a coal miner, but I would want to ride that everyday it's really fun," said fifth grader Jarrett Gorham.
The kids learned coal mining is a tough job. And caring for the 150-year-old mine is tough, too. A lesson employees at the tour were reminded of this year.
"The maintenance changes every year, it's ongoing. This year, mainly, it was the props there was some minor carpentry work that needed to be done and annually we redo the cable on the car here as well," said Bill Davis of Lackawanna County Parks and Recreation.
The weather kept workers from the mines some days during the winter. And after the off-season they said you never know what you might find all those feet under ground.
When the maintenance workers first got down to the mines after the first of the year, one of the first things they noticed was that many of the timbers that help keep the mine safe needed to be replaced.
Park officials also needed to replace the mine foreman. Someone with actual mining experience is required to look over the tour and mine foremen are a rare breed these days.
That was another thing that held up the tour's opening date.
Some school tours needed to be rescheduled. The Hanover Area students got lucky, though.
"My favorite part was when we saw the breaker boys up in the shaft and watching them throw down the coal," added fifth grader Connor Hummer.
The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour will show off the important part of our history through November this year. As this history gets harder and harder to preserve, employees said they'll roll with it.