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Coal and Coke Heritage Center

Youghiogheny

Coal and Coke Heritage Center

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Location Details

PHONE: 724-430-4158
ADDRESS: Penn State Fayette, US 119 S between Uniontown and Connellsville
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
HOURS: Mon-Fri 10am-3pm & by appt.

Event Details

Coal and Coke Heritage Music Festival

Description

Evelyn Hovanec hears voices, but there’s no need to worry. As one of the directors of the Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Dr. Hovanec has spent the past 25 years listening to local miners, their wives, and their children talk about life, love, and work in the Connellsville Coke Region.

Encompassing 137 square miles along the base of the Laurel and Chestnut mountain ridges, the coal patches of the area stretched from Latrobe to Smithfield. And the stories of the men and boys who worked in the mines, as well as of the women and girls who worked at home, span nearly a century. Those stories have become the Patch/Work Voices Project. With more than 700 hours of taped interviews, and a collection of music, videos, and slides, the project speaks to the heart of the Coal and Coke Heritage Center. “When we started,” Dr. Hovanec recalls, “a lot of people didn’t think it was very important. But it’s a project of the little people, not the corporate giants. That’s where the history truly is — with the people.”

Located on Penn State University’s Fayette campus, the Heritage Center tells the history through artifacts, photographs, maps, blueprints, documents, scrapbooks, journals, newspapers, and an array of artwork featuring regional painters. “We have thousands of artifacts,” Hovanec says, “and every one of them is my favorite.” But perhaps the soul of the center can be found in those items that have been created or donated by members of the community. For example, there’s a replica of the Davidson Mine tipple that Ted, a retired draftsman for U. S. Steel, was building to scale in his basement. When his wife suggested he find another hobby, Ted called the Heritage Center.

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