Lackawanna Historical Society Collects Covid-19 Data to Build Local Archive

DATE: 4/1/2020

Lackawanna Historical Society
Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus, Executive Director
232 Monroe Ave., Scranton, PA 18510
[email protected]

Lackawanna Historical Society Collects Covid-19 Data to Build Local Archive

SCRANTON, PA – History happens every day, some days are more historic than others. Right now, we’re certainly living through a bit of history that will undoubtedly be studied by scholars in the future. To make their job easier, we’re excited to unveil the LHS Covid-19 Archive project, a virtual ‘instant archive” for members of our community to record their thoughts and reactions to the pandemic. In an effort to document this historic moment, the Lackawanna Historical Society has prepared two online surveys, one for students and one for adults, and created an upload link where individuals can share their personal experiences and reflections of how the pandemic is effecting them. The Lackawanna Historical Society is dedicated to documenting, preserving and interpreting Lackawanna County history and whats happening right now is a significant part of that history.

We invite the public to participate by going to:
to complete our survey or upload their story.

The Society will continue to not only document and collect data but is also working to provide interesting and educational local history programs including an online local history curriculum with discussion questions at

The public is encouraged to check our website and daily Facebook posts for more details on future projects.

For more information or to make reservations for the opening, contact the Lackawanna Historical Society at 570-344-3841 or email [email protected].

10Best / USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Nomination!

News alert! Your market is represented in the nominee list for a USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice contest category which has just launched.

The nominees for Best Underground Attraction were announced and Lackawanna County represents 1 of the finalists competing for a spot in the winners list.

Prior campaigns have seen a full range of social media influencers: a US Senator, Governors, mayors, and – of course – those already loyal to the nominees. I’m sure nominees would appreciate the support of Lackawanna County during their campaign to win.

The full list of nominees for Best Underground Attraction is as follows:

  1. Bunker at The Greenbrier
  2. City Market Catacombs
  3. Consolidated Gold Mine
  4. Downtown Tunnel System
  5. Forestiere Underground Gardens
  6. Havre Beneath the Streets
  7. Hidee Gold Mine
  8. JFK Bunker on Peanut Island
  9. Lackawanna Coal Mine
  10. Louisville Mega Cavern
  11. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  12. Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
  13. Old City Hall Station
  14. Old Sacramento Underground
  15. Port Angeles Underground
  16. Queen City Underground
  17. Queen Mine
  18. Seattle Underground Tour
  19. Shanghai Tunnels
  20. Soudan Underground Mine

Voting is open now, runs for four weeks only and ENDS ON Monday, April 11th, 2016 at 11:59am EDT. You can rock the vote at and of course we encourage you to share the contest URL with your social network. The public can vote once per day, per category.

To follow live voting action (and discover the most active campaigns for award categories), search #10BestChoice on Twitter (we are @10Best). Some contests also have custom hashtags, which you will discover. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Please reach out if you have any questions, concerns or exciting news!

Warm regards,

The Editors

Blue Coal Company Mine Fire Engine Restoration

Blue Coal Fire Engine Restored – The Lackawanna County Commissioners gather in front of the 58-year old coal mine fire engine which was completely restored by Carl Orechovsky, third from left, and put on permanent display at the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour. This 14-month project involved a complete overhaul of the car. New wood and a carriage, tank repair, painting, large tank installation, new hose lines and valve work were all a part of the restoration. L-r, Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley, Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien, Mr. Orechovsky, Commissioner Jim Wansacz and William Davis, the County’s Deputy Director of Parks & Recreation.

A 58-year old coal mine fire engine, which symbolizes the proud, rich industrial and coal history of Lackawanna County, has been completely restored and put on permanent display at the County’s Coal Mine Tour at McDade Park, Scranton.

The refurbishing of the Blue Coal Company Mine Fire Engine Restoration and Preservation project was undertaken as a 14-month labor of love by Carl Orechovsky of Old Forge, who is also a Hoist Engineer and Tour Guide at the Coal Mine Tour.

“Carl Orechovsky has preserved a piece of our history that symbolizes the foundation of our community – trains, railroads and coal.  He did an outstanding job on this project.  It will be a source of great pride for many years to come and a landmark for visitors and residents to enjoy,” said Commissioner Jim Wansacz.

“Carl did a tremendous job on restoring the engine to working order,” said Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien.  “He used his ingenuity to make this project a reality and to put it in a place of honor at the Coal Mine.  This spot is a symbol of what made Lackawanna County such a great place to live, work, raise a family and experience our proud past.”

“I want to personally thank Carl for his efforts.  This project represented his passion for the rail and mine industries and his commitment for keeping our rich history alive,” noted Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.

Mr. Orechovsky began this project in April of 2012.  He dissembled the tanks and carriage down to the axles.  All of the wood was replaced with oak, painted and sealed.  All of the metal parts underneath the carriage were restored to working condition or replaced and all were coated with heavy grease.

The cross beams and side beams were joined with four inch mortise and tendent joints and held in place by five cross rods.  The tanks were repaired, sanded, painted and reassembled.  This April, the new box and Nott hose cage were placed on the carriage.

Mr. Orechovsky also had to enlarge the display track at the coal mine to accommodate the newly restored engine.  He added 45 feet of 30 pound rail and six small wooden ties to the park area were the engine rests.

According to Mr. Orechovsky, the twin tanks engine was originally constructed from scrap or spare parts at the car maintenance shop of the Huber Breaker in Ashley around 1955.  It was state-of-the-art in its heyday, featuring brass piping and valves and top-of-the-line hosing.

The two-ton engine was donated to the County’s #190 Slope Mine by the Beltrami Coal Company in 1988.

This chemical engine used baking soda mixed with acid to produce a crude foam that was released through the hoses to fight fires.  A rotating handle was used to control the flow of acid into the baking soda.  Propellers in the tank were used to mix the materials. The foam was passed from a compressor hose in the tanks out to the main hose and nozzle.

Further information on the project can be obtained by contacting Mr. Orechovsky, who is the President of the Old Forge Coal Mine website and Editor for the Anthracite Archives, at [email protected].