BLOSSBURG - A new museum that will display the region's rich coal mining heritage was dedicated to one Blossburg's own, Raymond "Keith" Lindie at Island Park.
The Coal Festival committee has been planning the permanent museum for years and finally, with the help of the community through donations and grants, it finally came to fruition, borough council President Tom Bogaczyck said.
"The idea for this museum was brought forth over 20 years ago," Bogaczyck said.
CHERYL R. CLARKE/Sun-Gazette
Raymond “Keith” Lindie, 89, a longtime volunteer and community historian, breaks down in tears after the plaque honoring him was unveiled at the Coal Museum dedication in Blossburg’s Island Park.
Lindie, 89, broke down in tears as the plaque bearing his name was unveiled.
"We used to go to Morris Run and borrow their stage when this whole thing started," he said, referring to the festival.
He also recalled a year ago when a violent windstorm took out 16 huge pine trees from the park during the Coal Festival.
"We have a great community of people," he said. "I never knew there were so many chain saws and trucks in one community as there were that day."
Others spoke about the days of old when coal was king in Blossburg and surrounding communities.
Ray Kaminski, a former councilman who worked in the mines, said he recalled using carbide lights to see in the pitch blackness of the mines, deep in the mountains.
"I remember if you ran out (of carbide) in the middle, you hiked back out in the dark," he said.
Tioga County Commissioner Roger Bunn said he remembered working on a core truck for Keith Lindie when he was a teenager.
"We got $2 a truck," he recalled.
Blossburg Mayor John Backman said he was "humbled to have been asked to speak" at the dedication.
"It takes a lot of people to make something like this happen, to keep our roots alive," he said.
Backman said he remembered the "streams of coal cars that ran from Morris Run to Corning, N.Y., and the occasional runaway cars."
He also said he remembers the 50-ton steam engines and the sulphur smell from the slag dump.
"In the 1980s when the strip mines were shut down, people said Bloss was dying or dead, but it lives on with the foundry as the main employer now," he said.
With the museum, he said, "we are attempting to save for the future a bygone era."
Backman then issued a mayoral proclamation that the first day of each Coal Festival will be declared as Sally Ward, Harriet Holleman, Kathy Pearson, Keith Lindie and American Legion Post 572 Day.