Last weekend, literally a stone’s throw from the historical marker indicating the site of the first anthracite coal mine in the area, members of Carbondale’s Shade Tree Commission and its historical society held a dedication for a newly improved walking path.
The path, parallel to the Delaware & Lackawanna Railroad tracks between Seventh Avenue and the Cedar Shopping Center parking lot, has been a convenient shortcut for a long as anybody can remember. But it was overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash.
All that has changed, thanks to the hard work of volunteers, members of the shade tree commission, the kids in the science club at Carbondale Area High School, the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW), and the cooperation of railroad officials (the railroad actually owns the property).
“We pulled 14 bags of trash out of the lot,” recalled Tony Mikloiche of the shade tree commission. “Then the DPW came in and pulled out all the junk trees and weeds. The trees were mulched right here on the site and that mulch is serving as the bed for the trees we’ve planted.”
There is also a historical element to the project: The walking path has been named in honor of William and Maurice Wurts, the founders of the Pioneer City.
On a cold day in 1825, the brothers famously demonstrated the effectiveness of anthracite coal by heating a coffee house next to Wall Street for a group of investors. Investments poured in, and the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. soon had the capital to build a railroad over the Moosic mountains (which many declared could never be built), allowing them to transport anthracite coal to waiting customers.
“This is one more example of how good things are happening in Carbondale,” noted S. Robert Powell, president of the historical society. “Good things are happening.”