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|"A woman drove me to drink and I never had the
decency to thank her." - W.C. Fields
|ALL THINGS PITTSBURGH
|Pennsylvania's single industry towns felt the Depression particularly hard. Unemployment in both anthracite and bituminous coal
mining communities ran perilously high, a circumstance aggravated by the fact that the coal industry had already slumped by the
With mines closed or abandoned, coal miners became one of the most vulnerable occupational groups in the country during the
early years of the Depression. (New Deal relief programs would later specifically target "stranded miners.") Bitter strikes and
violence also flared, especially in the bituminous coal fields of southwestern Pennsylvania, one of the regions struck hardest by the
Great Depression. In 1933, Governor Gifford Pinchot sent the National Guard of Pennsylvania to help maintain the peace during a
futile strike of more than 70,000 that left even more miners idled and economically distressed.
|Physically isolated and dependent on the mines for their livelihoods, many miners in Schuylkill County and throughout the
northeastern anthracite coal region turned to illegal bootleg mining, digging out coal from mines that operators had either
abandoned or shuttered. Bootleg mining became so lucrative and widespread that the Commonwealth estimated it was losing
millions in uncollected tax revenues. Many local businessmen and civic leaders, however, supported it wholeheartedly, for its
revenues were all that kept their towns and their businesses going.
|Duquesne, home to Duquesne Steel, and others steel making communities in the once productive Mon Valley near Pittsburgh soon
faced crippling levels of unemployment. In Braddock, where U.S. Steel shut down entirely for a time, thousands were without jobs.
Even though U.S. Steel had deep pockets, it could no longer fund the libraries, hospitals, athletic leagues, and "welfare capitalism"
programs it had established in the 1910s and 1920s.
|ABOUT THESE PHOTOS:
ALL PHOTOS ON THE 1930 SITE WERE TAKEN FROM THE PITT DIGITAL LIBRARY
PHOTOS RESTORED TO THEIR ORIGINAL BRILLANCE BY THE STEELCACTUS FOUNDATION
|Additional Verbiage Taken From ExplorePAHistory.com
|"I'd rather have two girls at 21 each
than one girl at 42." - W.C. Fields