May 17, 2013

The Coal Yards of Sumner Avenue

The West End Branch train line ran along Sumner Avenue, crossed Tilghman diagonally at 17th Street, then looped back east, at the northeastern end of the Fairgrounds, terminating at 12th and Liberty Streets. The branch allowed this area to become the coal district of Allentown, when city homes were mostly heated by that fuel. In the early 1970's,  I photographed Sumner Avenue. Although the coal era was mostly over, some relics still remained. Shown above is a coal sorter at the Morris Wisser Coal Company, at Fulton and Green Streets.



Anonymous said...

When I was a 12 I would go down to Sumner Ave and collect the coal along the tree line by Jordan park. I even did a seventh grade project on coal. I always wondered why there was so much down there. Thanks for posting.

-Steven Ramos

RS said...

Out here in Northwest Lehigh, a fair number of homes are still heated with coal. Not many local suppliers.
The coal stoves from the 50s and later had either augers or pushers so you just fill the hopper when needed at most a couple of times a day. You empty the ash about once a day.
It is the cheapest way to heat unless you're cutting you own wood.