Dorrance Colliery

1956 Tunkhannock field trip, which included a tour of the mines. Virginia Miner photo.

See also: Dorrance Fan Complex

The Dorrance Colliery was located along the Susquehanna River in the eastern section of Wilkes Barre. The Lehigh Valley Coal Company built the first version of the colliery in 1883 on North River Street. It later built a new breaker in 1929, upgraded to electric operation and prepared coal using the “Rheo-Laveru” method from Belgium. This circulated coal along inclined planes or “launders” to remove impurities. At the peak in the 1930s, the Dorrance employed more than one thousand men and processed over one million tons of anthracite coal each year.

The operation covered 550 acres and up to 12 veins of coal under Wilkes Barre, as far as 1,400 feet underground. Production declined through the 1940s, and eventually in 1960 mining ended and the shaft was demolished. The breaker stayed in operation, cleaning coal brought in from other mines. In 1963, Pagnotti Enterprises purchased the breaker after leasing it for several years.

Various historic photos of the colliery, from the collections of Virginia Miner, Eric Bella, and UGM archive.

Wilkes Barre Times Leader, 4/13/1982, Page 10