Tamaqua Historic District

Tamaqua Boro, Schuylkill County, PA

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The Tamaqua Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Text, below, was adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. []



The Tamaqua Historic District's ... period of significance, c. 1801 – 1950, begins with the 1801 log home of first settler Burkhardt Moser (307 East Broad Street) and continues through its boom and decline as an anthracite center. It closes with the year 1950, reflective of contributing resources and the 50-year National Register criteria for significance. Physically intact, Tamaqua contains a locally and regionally important collection of nineteenth century residential, industrial, and commercial architecture, both in vernacular and high style interpretations. A post town and village, Tamaqua grew to be an important mining and manufacturing center, second within the Southern Anthracite Field only to Pottsville.

The successful first run of the Little Schuylkill Railroad in 1831 cemented Tamaqua's century-long future as an anthracite coal center and regional hub. Tamaqua boomed throughout the first half of the nineteenth century — distinctly a mining town, its manufacturing interests related to the mines and rail transportation and its commercial district serving the needs of area residents. By the century's third quarter, Tamaqua's manufacturing interests were diversifying, the result of the consolidation of coal land ownership and labor troubles closing local mines. In the twentieth century, new mining techniques improved production — in 1907, the new Greenwood Breaker opened just south of this historic district — and the industry rose to its World War I peak production. From the 1920's on, the increasing adoption of new fuels (oil, and later, natural and manufactured gas) brought about anthracite's decline and Tamaqua's wane as a coal and rail center.


Tamaqua was taken from the territory of West Penn and Schuylkill Townships, named for the Tuscarora king of the Turkey Clan, Chief Tahkamochk, or Tam-a-kwah, and known as the "Valley Among Four Mountains" and "The Land of Running Water." First settler Burkhardt Moser arrived in 1799, built a saw mill, and is credited with the local discovery of coal in 1817.[2]

His 1801 log home near East Broad and Greenwood streets is noted as the site of the first birth (Elizabeth Kershner, b. 1812), the first school, the first tavern, the first religious service, the first wedding, and the first death. It is reported that he transported this coal over the Blue Mountain, where he sold it in Berks and Lehigh counties for 7 to 12 cents a bushel.

By the 1820's, mining, railroad and land speculators had arrived.[3] The Little Schuylkill Company, chartered in 1815 as a railroad and navigation company, was to chart Tamaqua's future through mid century. In 1827, the company built Tamaqua's first hotel of mountain stone on a rise at the northeast corner of Market and Mauch Chunk Streets. In 1829, after abandoning the idea of a canal at Tamaqua due to the difficulties of the area rivers — extreme flooding in spring, which crashed barges, and summer droughts which turned the waterways to trickles — it began work on its railroad, completed in 1831 and running from Tamaqua to the canal head at Port Clinton, thus opening the eastern end of the Southern Anthracite field to the Philadelphia market. The line (today, the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern) remains in continuous operation running north-south through the center of the Tamaqua historic district.[4]

By 1829, the Little Schuylkill Company had secured large tracts of land, and the community of Tamaqua was laid out with individual lots being sold or prescribed for. A c. 1830 lithograph, "Plan of the Town of Tamaqua," shows Tamaqua lots, rivers and planned rail lines as well as regional coal communities, rail roads, proposed railroads and the Schuylkill Canal running 108 miles between Port Carbon to Philadelphia. Population was about 150 and grew to about 300 when the town was incorporated in 1837.

Growth continued unabated through the 1840's. About this time, the town fathers moved the Schuylkill River from its course west of Center Street along the railroad tracks to a point about 200 yards to the east of Center. The swampy ground was filled in with coal waste. That proved to be costly, for in the Great Flood of 1850 the river reverted to its old course and wiped out Center Street with a great loss of life and property.[5] The great fire of 1857 destroyed buildings in the commercial district, stopping only at the Anthracite Bank building (the first in that row built of fireproof construction). Loss was estimated at $44,550.

In 1851 an Act of Assembly was passed that regulated the creation of boroughs. In 1852 the Borough of Tamaqua was created and received a charter allowing it to borrow money for improvements. First came the waterworks (1852), next came fire protection — hydrant pressure enabled by the new water system. At this same time, the Perseverance Fire Company was formed. Numerous improvements followed and, increasingly, the Little Schuylkill Navigation Company was selling its land within the borough to enable them. The Tamaqua Gas Company was formed in 1854 with a capital of $50,000 and the Little Schuylkill Navigation Company sold land to the company for the construction of its Greenwood Street plant adjacent to the Schuylkill River. That same year, the Little Schuylkill Railroad extended its lines northward, driving the Little Tunnel and continuing on to connect with the Catawissa Railroad at Tamanend. For the first time, there was a direct route between Philadelphia and Buffalo making Tamaqua a busy railroad center, and its population reached 5,000.

The 1860's saw the consolidation of coal lands, labor uprisings, and the first attempts at industrial diversification. It also saw the creation of the non-denominational Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in 1865 for burials without restriction of race, color or creed — today a focal point of the historic district. Toward the end of the Civil War — where many hundreds saw service, particularly in both Schuylkill County regiments, the 48th and the 96th — the I.O.O.F. purchased ground at Mount Anthracite. Doubleday Post 189, Grand Army of the Republic was formed. It erected the tall monument with the cemetery circle reserved for veterans burials.

The Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company (P&RC&I) was created in 1870 and by 1872 had acquired virtually all of the coal lands west of the Little Schuylkill. The Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N) owned all land east. Price fluctuations, production quotas and working conditions in the mines brought labor unrest. The 1870's brought the Molly Maguire trials, with the July 1875 murder of Tamaqua Police Officer Benjamin F. Yost, shot at the corner of West Broad and Lehigh streets, figuring prominently in the proceedings. The panics of 1873 and 1877 brought a shutdown of all mines between Pottsville and Tamaqua.

The Great Strike of 1902 brought martial law to the area and a victory for the United Mine Workers union. Tamaqua grew. As events in Europe were leading to the First World War, Atlas Powder of Wilmington, Delaware, came to the area, purchasing the Tamaqua's 1906 Potts Powder Company, which had served the blasting needs of the mines and would now employ hundreds. Around 1905, the East End Improvement Company was extending Broad Street east to the borough line at Federal Street and building homes in that neighborhood.[6] About 1910, the LC&N opened No. 14, or Tamaqua Colliery (now known as the Greenwood, borrowing the historic name of that first colliery east of the early town), bringing eastern European immigrants to Tamaqua. The growth of Atlas Powder continued.

Following the stock market crash of October 29,1929, the No. 11 Rahn Colliery closed and the remaining mines severely curtailed operations. The anthracite industry experienced a 14 percent drop introduction in 1931, followed by a nearly 20 percent drop in 1932 and a drop in prices. Numerous mines were abandoned or closed by the 1940's. World War II provided a brief industrial boom when both the coal mines and Atlas Powder were on double shifts.


The pattern of growth through coal was replicated in town after town through the anthracite region — typically after 1855 when railroads became the primary mover of anthracite.

Identification of coal fields and extension of a rail line spurred initial growth. Settlements first grew as mining communities and, based upon local circumstance and location, might develop to become regional centers. The Little Schuylkill Company's early success in the 1830's with its commercial rail line from Tamaqua to Port Clinton and the high volume, high quality coal in the Panther Valley fields locked in Tamaqua's position as the eastern regional center in the southern field.[7]

Tamaqua grew as a center of commerce and social activity, beginning with the speculative coal boom of the late 1820's and continuing well into the twentieth century. Commercial growth paralleled industrial and economic cycles. In the first half of the century, Tamaqua was distinctly a mining town and Pottsville (known as "Little Philadelphia"), the urban center of the Southern Anthracite Field. Post-1850, when Tamaqua became a passenger travel hub in addition to the coal transport center for the eastern southern field, the commercial district grew as a regional center: businesses, hotels and social clubs flourished and specialty shops developed. In the last quarter of the century, in the face of both coal monopolies and labor strife, the industrial base diversified and kept commercial growth steady in the face of mine shutdowns. In the early twentieth century, wartime production kept the economy healthy and commerce lively through the Roaring Twenties. The Great Depression, the decline of coal and the rise of the automobile and the strip mall contributed to the waning of the Tamaqua commercial district through the 1950's.

In 1832 (population 300), the town consisted of about 30 dwellings, two hotels and three stores. Market Street, with its rise to higher ground at Dutch Hill, was planned by the Little Schuylkill Company as Tamaqua's main thoroughfare, hence its siting of the 1827 Little Schuylkill Hotel at the northeast corner of Market and East Mauch Chunk streets. Others preferred the lower level at the west, hence the area at West Broad and Hunter Street developed.[8] Tamaqua's second hotel was built in 1836 by James Taggart on the north side of West Broad Street just above Hunter Street (years later to become the site of the Victoria Theatre, now the site of the Salvation Army Community center).[9] Each area had a post office. But it was the Five Points hub — located at the juncture Broad Street and the rail line — that was to become the heart of the commercial district and today is central to the Tamaqua Historic District. One of Tamaqua's first businesses, Benjamin Heilner's general store, opened there in 1827 and represented the beginning of a business district that began to expand.

Business sprouted through the 1830s — generally small one- and two-story frame structures — and the commercial district expanded rapidly in the 1840's, the decade of Tamaqua's greatest growth. In 1840, E.J. Fry located his hardware and drug store on the corner of West Broad and Hunter streets. In 1845, Tamaqua had six taverns, four stores, a defunct brewery, three churches and a car and coach manufacturer. A year later, business interests included 7 merchants, 4 agents, 5 blacksmiths, 2 cabinet makers, 3 butchers, 2 hucksters, 65 miners, 5 hotel keepers, 12 carpenters, 2 tailors, 4 shoemakers, 6 boardinghouse keepers, 4 clerks, 44 laborers, 5 physicians, 1 watchmaker and a tinsmith — over one third directly related to the coal industry and all others supporting it.

Rapid development continued. The railroad shops (no longer extant) were built central to the downtown in 1848 and at mid-century and beyond, foundries and factories thrived. Tamaqua businesses served coal interests, miners, and the growing populations of factory workers and the industries by which they were employed. The Anthracite Bank was created in 1850 — the elegant brick commercial block with marble facade stands today. Hotels, rooming houses and warehouses were clustered near the five points intersection and along the rail lines. Tamaqua business notices in the 1874 Atlas of Schuylkill County include 34 merchants, 5 hotels, 5 saloons and restaurants, 4 lawyers, 2 banks, 3 blacksmiths, 7 carpenters and builders, and a butcher. More specialty shops providing consumer goods were opening, including watchmakers, booksellers, druggists, clothiers, tailors, milliners, clothing shops, furniture, cigars, confectioners and a retail dealer in teas. The town had a passenger and freight depot (listed on the National Register) where coal and products were shipped to markets across the region and to world markets, where locals traveled to and from Pottsville and Philadelphia, honeymooners passed through on their way to Niagara Falls, and travelers passed through on their way to points near and far. Its churches, parks, social clubs, and varied commercial enterprises brought people into Tamaqua from outlying patches and smaller mining communities. Commercial architecture became high style reflecting trends of the day and the affluence of this regional center. (E.J. Fry built a second West Broad Street hardware store catering only to miners' needs at 10 West Broad Street just west of the rail line: the four-story building is brick with Hummelstown brownstone trim and boasts ornate pressed metal trim cornice detail commemorating his construction: E.J. Fry, 1 895). By 1901 the mercantile business of Tamaqua was represented by 148 retail business places and 8 wholesale establishments. By 1917, anthracite's peak, the borough's population had exceeded 12,000.

The growth of the anthracite industry and the rapid growth of the Atlas Powder Company in the early twentieth century spurred commerce, with over eight blocks of shops, services and offices, soon including automobile dealers, gas stations, diners, parking garages and a department store. Banks, typically of stone and in the Classical Revival style, anchored the center, testament to the solidity of local commerce and industry. Entertainment and social facilities appeared, including an opera house, theaters, and a bowling alley making Tamaqua a destination for entertainment. Several fraternal societies had halls in Tamaqua, including the Odd Fellows, Elks, Masons, Moose, and American Legion. The Tamaqua & Lansford Street Railway, opened in 1898, and the rising use of the automobile, made it easier for people from surrounding communities to travel to Tamaqua to shop and recreate.

Most of Tamaqua's commercial buildings continue in commercial use, although upper stories are now more often residential or vacant. Concentrated in the center of town, many have undergone renovation since their construction and many late nineteenth century commercial buildings replace earlier commercial buildings. The earliest surviving commercial buildings are generally hotels, and Tamaqua boasts many intact survivors (the 1827 Little Schuylkill at 47 Market Street, the c. 1842-1 850 Washington House at 44 Mauch Chunk, the c. 1845 White Swan at 256 Cedar Street, and the 1871 Kramer's Hotel at 300 East Broad Street). Early commercial blocks are found in the diagonal section of Mauch Chunk Street at Five Points, and on South Centre Street, where there is a high concentration of intact early- to mid-Victorian buildings. The Broad Street commercial area consists largely of late nineteenth and early twentieth century high style and vernacular 2-, 3-, and 4-story commercial blocks. The four bank buildings are still intact, although two are no longer banks. The 8 churches also are intact as are the social halls: The Masonic Building (139 West Broad Street), the Moose Building (133 East Broad Street), the Elks Building (201 West Broad Street. The Tamaqua Diner (37 Center Street) and companion Mission Revival service station, as well as a former auto showroom and garage at 801 East Broad Street (capacity 35 cars) and the Rowe Street "auto service and storage" garage (capacity 40 cars) are testament to the impact of the age of the auto. This concentration of resources, plus its Post Office and local government centers, reflect Tamaqua's role as a local commercial and social center.

Regional Context for Commerce:

Pottsville is the major city of the Southern Anthracite field, the central hub of mining capital, services and transportation.[10] The local elites were linked by capital, business services and kin into the smaller cities of the coal fields and forward to the railroad, banking, and manufacturing firms of nearby industrial cities in the Lehigh and Schuylkill Valleys and the more distant metropolises of Philadelphia and New York.

Tamaqua, Shenandoah and Mahanoy City became secondary population centers: Tamaqua, early in the nineteenth century; Shenandoah and Mahanoy City, in its later half. Tamaqua was important as the earliest regional center and the secondary city of the Southern Anthracite Field. It grew from a population of 3,080 in 1850 to 7,267 in 1900 and peaked in 1940 at 12,486.[11]

Shenandoah grew rapidly to become the boom town of the Western Middle Field, surpassing even Pottsville in population, with little industry but over 500 businesses. Mahanoy City grew to surpass Tamaqua in population in the early twentieth century and developed both commerce and industry.[12] Minersville and Saint Clair in the Southern Field and Ashland in the Western Middle Field were smaller coal centers, never breaking the 10,000 population benchmark.[13] All had similar patterns of development. Extension of a rail line accelerated growth. First businesses were blacksmiths, general stores, breweries and hotels, followed by churches, schools and banks and industries related to anthracite mining. Social and fraternal organization abounded.

Shenandoah grew as the western middle anthracite field was opened. Shenandoah was planned by the Philadelphia Land Company in 1862 and boomed with the opening of the Western Middle Field. It was incorporated in 1865, experienced mushroom growth surpassing even Pottsville in population. Its mines, with few exceptions, were owned by the P&RC&I. Shenandoah was located on the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia & Reading, and Pennsylvania railroads. It had 8 Protestant Churches, 7 Catholic churches, a growing Jewish population and was populated by citizens of almost every ethnic group including Lithuanians, Hungarians, Slovenians, Italians, Russians, Germans, Irish, Welsh, and Poles. The physical growth of Shenandoah was seriously limited because land surrounding it was owned by corporations who would neither improve nor sell it.

In 1874, its district boasted attorneys, banks, butchers, booksellers and stationers, boots and shoes shops, carpenters and builders, carpet manufacturers, coal operators, carriage makers and blacksmiths, cigars and tobacco shops, confectioners and bakers, dry goods and groceries, furniture dealers and undertakers, hardware stores, house and sign painters, ornamental painters, insurance agents, livery stables, lumber merchants, masons and contractors, merchant tailors, two newspapers, physicians and druggists, plasterers, plumbers and gas fitters, real estate dealers, stove and tinware dealers, a slate manufacturer, and watchmakers and jewelers. Its population in 1900 was 20,321, surpassing Pottsville (population 15,710) and grew to 26,321 by 1926. The population physically outgrew the confines of the town, it was second only to New York City's Lower East Side in population density with miners sleeping in shifts on boarding house beds or floors. In 1900 it had 561 retail businesses, 6 wholesalers, 2 breweries, 2 national banks, a trust company, and many liquor houses. Schalck and Henning's 1907 History of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania describes its commerce as "somewhat peculiar," for businesses developed to serve the different nationalities and, generally, were stocked with goods to serve only the working people. Shenandoah's Main Street commercial district is of smaller scale with structures generally 2- and 3-stories tall.

Mahanoy City, settled in 1853 and incorporated in 1863, boasted 2 banks and 4 hotels. It was a late but strong commercial center north of the Broad Mountain. By 1900, it ranked third in county population (13,504) and second in commercial enterprises with 409 businesses of similar scope located in two story buildings along Centre and Market Streets. Among these, Tamaqua was unique for its early status as both mining town and regional shipping point.


Industry in Tamaqua developed for and around the mining industry. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Tamaqua was distinctly a mining town, its manufacturing interests related to the mines and rail transportation. At the end of the century, manufacturing interest were diversifying. Restrictive policies and production quotas were imposed by the P&RC&I (created in 1870 but buying coal lands through its rail company throughout the 1860's) and alleged Molly Maguire-related violence caused Tamaqua area mines to be idle for ten years while the Western Middle Field boomed.

After their 1817 discovery of anthracite, Burkhardt and Jacob Moser's first sales were to made to blacksmiths.[14] 1825 ushered in a new era in the history of the coal trade. Prior to the establishment of anthracite's utility, some of the most valuable coal lands had been sold for the taxes against them, and much more possessed but a nominal value. The general acceptance of anthracite as a fuel for domestic use and for manufacturing and steam generating purposes stimulated the demand and established a healthy market. The era of speculation began and increased land values a thousand fold within a few months. The intense excitement stimulated the growth of towns and villages, even beyond the capacity of local builders and houses were frequently framed in Philadelphia and sent up to the field on the canal boats. Speculation culminated in 1829 when nearly $5 million dollars had been invested in the coal lands of Schuylkill County and many shrewd capitalists acquired fortunes. In 1825, 6,500 tons were shipped from the Schuylkill region; in 1836, 16,767 tons; in 1827, 31,360 tons; in 1828, 47,282 tons; and in 1829, 79,973 tons. By 1853, the coal lands worked were owned by 6 corporations and about 60 individuals, 25 of whom resided in Schuylkill County.

The demand for coal and the companion industries it founded fostered the quick development of Tamaqua, starting with mining and the creation of the horse-drawn Little Schuylkill Railroad in 1831. One of the first major mining operations was the Greenwood Coal Company east of the village in the early to mid-1800's. Up until 1832, 14,000 tons were sold from Tamaqua. Between 1832 and 1874, Tamaqua provided over 23 million tons of anthracite to the world market.

Through mid-century, industry grew and was generally related to coal or rail service. Extensive manufacturing, especially in iron products, was carried on at Tamaqua. The Tamaqua Manufacturing Company started as early as 1822 and it thrived under various owned until purchased by Atlas Powder in 1919. Another foundry, the sprawling Tamaqua Iron Works, began in 1846 at the corner of South Railroad and Spruce streets. Founded by John K. Smith, it later became the Allen Machine Shops, grew to fill the entire block and became the largest foundry in Pennsylvania employing over 400. The shops burned twice, today the only surviving building is south of this historic district. Walters Foundry was also founded in 1846. Many of the ornate spires topping Tamaqua's turn-of-the century Victorian houses were crafted at these foundries in addition to all manner of mining machinery.

Additional industries include Conrad Bischoff's planing mill and furniture factory, a three-story extant brick building on Lafayette Street, built in 1865; William Boye's Lumber Mill on Rowe Street, 1865; Walters Foundry, 1846; Freudenberger Tannery, West Broad Street, 1850; Isaac Haldeman's Wagon Shop on Pine Street, 1840's. Several breweries operated in Tamaqua, the first established in 1850 by George Goeldner on Broad street.[15] The Philadelphia & Reading Shops at Railroad Street north of Mauch Chunk Street were built by the Little Schuylkill Railroad Co. about 1848, when it enlarged the 1857 round house (hailed as an engineering triumph with its large, circular, teepee type roof with no center ground supports and capable of sheltering 21 locomotives). Repairs to engines and some coal- and freight-car work was done here by 100 employees. Today the site of the yard is a plaza and parking lot adjacent to historic district. The Wire Screen Works (1865) was established by Nicholas Seitzinger on the first floor of Seitzinger Hall on Center Street. It relocated on Cedar Street in 1871, welcomed a partner, L.F. Remaly, and Remaly Manufacturing survives today within the historic district on Cedar Street, manufacturing screens and related items used in the mining industry.

This was the era of individual coal company ownership.[16] At mid-century, the collieries operating in the vicinity were known as the East Lehigh, the Greenwood, the Alaska, the Newkirk, the East-East, the Buckville, and the Reevesdale. The 1850 Census of Manufacturers of the United States identifies 5 coal operators: James Taggart — 14,000 tons with 40 men employed; J&R Carter — 45,000 tons, 125 men; Wheaton & Carter — 8,400 tons, 30 men; R. Ratcliff & Son — 20,000 tons, 70 men; and William Donaldson — 20,000 tons, 70 men. Total tonnage mined within the borough: 107,400 tons by 225 men; value, $161,100. The 1860 Decennial Manufacturers Census identifies 3 coal operators employing 2,292 men who mined 785,116 tons of anthracite valued at $309,832. (In adjacent Schuylkill Township, 7 mine operators employed 722 men; in Blythe Township, near Middleport, 15 operators employed 1,472 men in mining coal valued at $1.5 million.)

By 1870, though, coal carriers (rail and canal) had entered the coal-mining business to ensure a steady source of supply for their roads. Competition was fierce. The P&RC&I was created as a subsidiary of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company in 1870 and purchased of 70,000 acres of coal lands in Schuylkill County. LC&N, based to the east in Lansford, owned rail lines to the Eastern Middle Field. Three collieries are still identified in Tamaqua Borough by the 1870 Decennial Manufacturers Census: the Alaska Coal Company employed 60 men, Eugene Borda employed 295, and G.W. Cole employed 200. Work stoppages that year resulted in a 9 month calendar with 218,731 tons mined, valued at $427,462.

By 1872, Tamaqua coal lands were firmly consolidated under the P&RC&I and LC&N. The P&RC&I owned the Tamaqua shaft, the Alaska, the Tamaqua and the Anthracite collieries (total tonnage 50,689). LC&N owned the Greenwood and the Greenwood No. 2 collieries (total tonnage 88,122).[17]

The anthracite industry increased its output of 14,172,004 tons with 35,600 employees in 1870 to an all-time high of 100,445,299 tons with 156,148 employees in 1917. While the production of coal showed tremendous gains in this half century, mining methods and conditions remained fundamentally unchanged. From 1860 on labor unrest became common in the anthracite industry, marked by strikes and violence. The Workingmen's Benevolent Association formed July 23, 1863, led by John Siney of Saint Clair, and launched a 3-month strike for an 8-hour work day that involved the counties of Schuylkill, Columbia, Dauphin and Luzerne. Work stoppages in 1869 and 1870 were efforts to exhaust the coal supply and increase wages. The Long Strike, lasting from January through June of 1875, was a response to the general reduction of wages. While, in the past, it was believed that violence that drew national attention in the 1860's and 1870's paralleled formal labor activities, it has recently been shown that in times of labor successes, violence dipped, only to rise again when organizing efforts failed.[18]

The seeds for what followed were sown from 1857 on, when — prior to any murders — Benjamin Bannan, editor of The Miner's Journal, Pottsville, began ascribing local violence in the Southern Anthracite Field to "Molly Maguires," harkening back to a secret society of the same name that settled scores in County Donegal, Ireland. "Molly Maguires" became a blanket term applied to perpetrators of an array of criminal activity and civil unrest in Schuylkill County, from the Civil War, through the WBA's organization and the Long Strike.

Tamaqua and Tamaquans played a central role in the climax of the Molly Maguire episode, where — following the Long Strike's failure — P&RC&I President Franklin B. Gowen, a former Schuylkill County district attorney, led a series of prosecutions based on the testimony of Pinkerton agent James McParlan, who — undercover as James McKenna — infiltrated Schuylkill County lodges of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and alleged the AOH was a cover for the secret schemes of the Molly Maguires. It is now argued that McParlan was an agent provocateur.[19] His revelations led to the first round of what are now considered show trials that resulted in the "Day of the Rope," June 21,1877, where 10 men were hanged in Mauch Chunk and Pottsville for five slayings in four Molly Maguire incidents, one of the largest mass hangings in American history.

One of the slayings — the assassination of Tamaqua Police Officer Benjamin Yost — occurred within this historic district on the corner of West Broad and Lehigh Streets on July 5, 1875. Shot, Yost was taken to his nearby home, still standing at 9 South Lehigh (also within the district), where he died. James Kerrigan, bodymaster (leader) of the Tamaqua AOH lodge, and two other men were implicated in a second one — the assassination of mine superintendent John P. Jones on Sept. 3, 1875, in Lansford.[20]

Molly Maguire sites are found throughout Tamaqua. Built resources include the homes of key figures — Benjamin Yost, Daniel Shepp, and Marmaduke Fowler — and the Reading Railroad Passenger Station, where purported "King of the Mollies" John J. "Black Jack" Kehoe's body lay in the baggage room prior to burial. Sites, many identified by local historic markers, include the Benjamin Yost murder site, Carroll's Saloon, the United States Hotel, and site of James Kerrigan's house. Graves of Molly figures are located in both Old St. Jerome's and Odd Fellows cemeteries. Burial sites in Old St. Jerome's Catholic Cemetery are John Kehoe, Mary O'Donnell Kehoe, Margaret O'Donnell, Charles O'Donnell, Ellen O'Donnell McAllister, "Yellow Jack" Donahue, and Thomas Duffy. (The O'Donnells were figures in the Wiggan's Patch Massacre, where pregnant Ellen O'Donnell McAllister (sister-in-law of John Kehoe) was murdered, still a mystery believed to have been committed either by Pinkerton men or by the Coal & Iron Police.) Interred in Odd Fellows Cemetery are Benjamin F. Yost, John P. Jones, Dr. E.J. Solliday, Daniel Shepp, Marmaduke Fowler and Samuel Beard.

The coal industry in the vicinity of Tamaqua was seriously crippled for a decade with the destruction of breakers and other mining property in the Molly Maguire era.[21] All of the mines between Tamaqua and Pottsville were shut down for ten years — none are identified in the 1880 Census of Manufacturers — and no new collieries were built.

Tamaqua leaders attempted to diversify. The Tamaqua Shoe Factory was an organized effort of local leaders to provide jobs in the Molly Maguire era when collieries were burned and mines closed. The first building was at Broad and Center streets and, when it became too small, the 3-story, 1875 building was constructed on Hazle Street at a cost of $12,000, and survives today within the historic district. Those with interests in the erection of the building and work of manufacture included many coal entrepreneurs: Daniel Shepp, W.B. Bensinger, H.A. Spiese, Michael Beard, Philip A. Krebs, J. J. Kauffman and others.

The Greenwood Rolling Mill, Railroad and Elm streets (1865), grew to manufacture cotton ties and merchant iron for the southern market, employing 170 men. Shirt and hosiery factories employed women and girls. The Tamaqua Hosiery Company was formed in 1880. In 1898, James Fitzpatrick operated a shirt factory in a brick structure at the highest point on Cottage Avenue within in the town's West End, today a contributing site within the historic district. According to early news articles, 200 to 400 women and girls were employed making blue chambray and black sateen cotton shirts. The Fitzpatricks lived directly in front of the factory in their 1891 Queen Anne home at 242 West Broad Street, also in the district. The factory burned in 1929 and its foundation is still visible in a wooded lot behind several Cottage Avenue garages.

The Potts Powder Company (1906) served the blasting requirements of the mines and became the Tamaqua area's largest industry. In just 7 years, it was bought by the Atlas Powder Company of Wilmington, Delaware, and went on to employ up to 1,800 people working 3 shifts to meet the demands for explosives during World War I. It continued as a major employer through 1950. After approximately 70 years, it was acquired by ICI American, Inc. and still manufactures explosives south of Tamaqua. In 1910 Tamaqua Manufacturing Company opened the complex known today as Nestor's Iron Works. Anthracite, however, waned. After peaking in 1917, commercial production began to decline. While the demand for coal decreased, the per capita consumption of fuel oil skyrocketed 118 percent between 1917 and 1931. As the need for coal ebbed, so did production time. Mechanical loading of anthracite began in the 1930's, eventually replacing the antiquated hand loading process. Strip mining also increased in the 1930's and reached 27 percent of total production. The work day at the strippings, deep mines and breakers dropped from 8 hours to 7, and the work week went from 6 days to 5 in May 1937. In 1941 statewide, there were 88,849 employed in mining, 2,192 fewer than in 1940. Today, the industry employs fewer than 3,000.

Today, Tamaqua's industrial significance is conveyed by its small but representative collection of intact industrial resources scattered throughout the historic district and related to all periods of development. The 1865 Bischoff Furniture Factory, the 1875 Tamaqua Shoe Factory, the 1897 Jonah McGinty Brewery, the 1910 Sprite Shirt Factory, and the c. 1910 Tamaqua Manufacturing Company (later Panther Creek Packing Company — manufacturers of tomato juice — now Nestor's Iron Works) buildings survive. Remaly Manufacturing continues to manufacture coal-related metal products on Cedar Street and the former East Perm Electric Company buildings relate to the early twentieth century growth on the East End.

Regional Context for Industry:

Within the Southern Field and Schuylkill County, Pottsville was the central anthracite city, the metropolis and county seat. It boomed in the 1820's and 1830's with the completion of the Schuylkill Canal and growth continued through the rail era.[22] Tamaqua grew early as a secondary coal city when the Little Schuylkill Railroad was completed in 1831 and coal fields in the eastern Southern Field were opened. Tamaqua is unique among the secondary coal cities of Schuylkill County for the variety of industry that developed, particularly for its attempts at industrial diversification. Shenandoah and Mahanoy City in the Western Middle Field — centers that developed in the 1860's — exceeded Tamaqua in population, but neither shared its industrial base.[23] Shenandoah boomed with the opening of the Shenandoah Colliery in 1862. Collieries operating there in 1872 were the William Perm, the Indian Ridge, Lehigh No. 4, Plank Ridge, the West Lehigh, Kohinoor, Lehigh, No. 3, the Shenandoah City, the Thomas, Turkey Run, West Shenandoah, and the Oliver with total 743,574 tonnage for that year — approaching Tamaqua Borough's tonnage of 785,116 for that year. No manufacturing developed there except as necessary in connection with the collieries: the 1873 Shenandoah Screen Works, manufacturers of wrought iron screens for coal breakers, later wrought iron fencing, and the 1893 Shenandoah Manufacturing Company, makers of hats, caps and clothing.

Mahanoy City grew due to development of the coal interest in the vicinity and to the rich deposits in Mahanoy Township, from which the borough was erected. Collieries operating there in 1872 were the East Mahanoy, the Primrose, the Mahanoy City, the Delano, the Grant, Tunnel Ridge, Elmwood, Malvern, Copley, Glendon, Beaver Run, Hill Side, Hartford, Silliman, and the Brookside. Total 1872 tonnage was 500,827. Manufacturing interests were limited to small establishments, with the exception of the Grant Iron Works (1865), the Eagle Hosiery mill (1889), and the Kaier Brewing Company (1883, enlarged and rebuilt in 1990, its shell still standing). Mahanoy City's population in the 1900 census was 13,504.


The Tamaqua Historic District encompasses a wide variety of intact residential, industrial, commercial and public resources, representing all aspects of Tamaqua's economy and society. The historic district has particular significance as it reflects the growth over time of an early anthracite center and its building stock — high style and vernacular interpretations of architectural styles popular throughout the period of significance (1801-1950) — is reflective of local building traditions. The architects and builders of the district's resources generally are unknown, beyond the few contractors identified in Section 7.

The district's architecture clearly documents its history and development. The Burkhardt Moser house initiates the story of settlement. The active Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad line (the original 1831 route of the Little Schuylkill Company) is the link to market that initiated eastern Schuylkill County's anthracite economy and fostered Tamaqua's growth. The 1827 Little Schuylkill Hotel and nearby residences along Market Street mark the Little Schuylkill Company's push for a town centered on Dutch Hill while vernacular Greek Revival townhouses growth of the early town center at West Broad Street. Early hotels — the White Swan (c. 1845), the Washington Hotel (c. 1842-50), and Kramer's Hotel (1871) document the continuing boom through the century. The rare mine workers housing extant on West Cottage Avenue and the companion mansions of West Broad Street stand testament to the contrasting worlds of mogul and miner. The Benjamin Yost House at 9 South Lehigh Street marks the spot where that police officer died, a key event in Molly Maguire history. Old St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Cemetery (burial site of John Kehoe and other alleged Molly Maguire figures) and the Odd Fellows Cemetery (burial site of mine owners, coal police and prominent families) stand testament to the events that led to the "Day of the Rope," the largest mass hanging in United States history.

Commercial buildings along the length of Broad Street, lower Mauch Chunk Street and South Centre Street tell the tale of vibrant 19th and early 20th commerce through ornate commercial blocks. The National Register listed Anthracite Bank (1850), with its marble and brick facade, is a benchmark of Tamaqua's growing commercial stature at mid-century. Italianate and Romanesque are found, with Second Empire and Queen Anne most numerous. Late Victorian styles dominate in the downtown core at the rail line, for these were constructed after the Great Flood of 1850 and the Fire of 1867. Many are four stories tall with exuberant Eastlake or classically inspired cornice detail and several identify the original owners, who clearly intended those buildings to make a prominent statement (the 1895 Shepp Building, and the 1895 E.J. Fry block, among others). Banks (three), lodges (four), and the Majestic Theater and Hotel buildings are high style examples marking the stature of the community in the early 20th century. The expansion of the East End — residential development with garage alleys, downtown parking garages, basement garages within industrial buildings, and diners and gas stations mark the rise of the auto age.

Surviving industrial resources are limited within the district of this coal- and rail-driven community, they are important links to the coal- and rail-driven economic cycles. The Hegarty Blacksmith Shop is a remnant of the first use of anthracite as a fuel — for blacksmithing — and the 1865 Conrad Bischoff Planing Mill and Furniture Factory is an highly intact example of an industry common to all growing mining towns. Remaly Manufacturing on Cedar Street is an early coal-related industry that survives today, making screen and other products related to the mining industry. The 1874 Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Passenger Station and the Tamaqua QA station are transportation resources that mark the anthracite industry in the latter half of the 19th century, as Tamaqua became not just a coal center but an important passenger hub. The 1875 Tamaqua Shoe Factory not only is a significant for its style and function, but as it marks local business reaction to the burning of breakers and closure of mines in the last quarter of the 19th century and an attempt at industrial diversification as the P&RC& I focused its resources on the Western Middle Field. That trend continued as shirt factories appeared (documented today by the Fitzpatrick Shirt Factory site on West Cottage Street and the Sprite Shirt Factory at East Broad Street) and forward, through the rise of Atlas Powder from producer of mine explosives and war munitions to employ over 1800 in the early 20th century. (The Tamaqua Armory and the Rahn Township and Tamaqua Borough veterans monuments as well as the Odd Fellows Cemetery provide military-related links to that era.) The 1897 Jonah McGinty Brewery, the last of several Tamaqua breweries and which survives as housing, is also an industry common to growing coal centers.

Residential properties within the district follow Tamaqua's growth patterns and include all styles common throughout the period of significance, in both vernacular and high style forms. Mid-nineteenth century styles cluster around the early business centers at West Broad and Lehigh Streets and at East Broad at Mauch Chunk south through Cedar Streets. The Greek Revival and the Gothic Revival in particular, are found in the vicinity of the West Broad Street early commercial cluster, for example, the Hadesty home on West Cottage Avenue, and several vernacular residences along West Broad Street, now in commercial use. Lehigh Street developed as a residential neighborhood around that early commercial cluster, populated by officials of the mining and coal interests. Late Victorian styles, particularly Queen Anne and Second Empire, are virtually ubiquitous throughout the district in early and late variants of all building materials and level of detail. The early 20th century residential expansion in the East End responds to the growth of Atlas Powder as a local employer, the opening of the new Greenwood Breaker (No. 14) in 1907, and the health of smaller local industries until the Depression. The East Broad Street mansion row, a significant stretch of late Queen Anne and early 20th century styles, is linked to that prosperity. Fire stations and other public properties date from the turn-of-the century, as earlier buildings were outgrown or replaced.

Regional Context for Architecture:

Communities throughout the southern anthracite field have unique and interesting architecture. Tamaqua is architecturally significant for its intact architectural stock — residential, commercial, and industrial — which documents its continuing growth from its early 19th century position as a mining and rail center.

Tamaqua differs from Mahanoy City and Shenandoah, secondary anthracite cities that grew in the latter half of the 19th century with the opening of the Western Middle Field. The Tamaqua Historic District includes an excellent collection of early-to mid-19th century buildings and numerous and varied Late Victorian examples, particularly the Queen Anne and Second Empire[24] Mahanoy City and Shenandoah lack Tamaqua's early commercial and architectural structures dating from the first speculative coal boom of the 1820's through the 1860's, for their boom occurred in the 1860's and their architecture is generally of the 19th and early 20th century vernacular. In addition, those cities grew in the era of P&RC&I holdings with very few independently owned mines. Neither community has a "mansion row" developed by leading industrialists, but rather select high style residences associated with leading families (e.g. the Kaier Mansion in Mahanoy City, home of the owners of the Kaier Brewery). Industrial resources in Mahanoy City and Shenandoah were few, and the industrial resources in these communities is limited. Schuylkill County's anthracite cities all share architecturally significant churches, which generally developed along ethnic lines in styles popular at their time of construction. Shenandoah's churches rival Pottsville's in scale and grandeur.

The architectural resources of the City of Pottsville and the Tamaqua Historic District span the 19th and 20th centuries. Pottsville, a concentration of coal wealth, has numerous architect designed buildings both in its Centre Street commercial district and on Mahantongo Street, the mansion district to the coal and rail barons. Tamaqua's commercial blocks are larger than Pottsville's (usually 4 stories to Pottsville's 3), but Pottsville has a greater concentration of public buildings, including the Schuylkill County Courthouse, and early twentieth century high rise office buildings, banks and hotels. Pottsville's Mahantongo Street mansions span the same period of development as those within the Tamaqua Historic District, but are larger. The Queen Anne and Second Empire dominate in Tamaqua, while late 19th and 20th century revival styles are dominant in Pottsville — along with several significant architect-designed examples of the Shingle Style, rare in Tamaqua. Tamaqua's Queen Anne homes are ornate and highly imbricated, perhaps influenced by those in Jim Thorpe; Pottsville's few are more sedate.

Both Tamaqua and Pottsville have rural garden cemeteries. Pottsville's Charles Baber Cemetery, built in 1867, also is a non-denominational burial ground, and is significant for its highly varied plantings (over 90 species) planned by landscape architect Thomas Meehan. It is unknown whether an architect designed Tamaqua's 1865 Odd Fellows Cemetery. The two are Schuylkill County's only rural garden cemeteries.

Stained, opalescent, jeweled, stenciled and geometric art glass is widespread in the Tamaqua Historic District, in both secular and sacred examples of Victorian, through the Art Nouveau and Prairie designs. It is found in custom designs and catalogue purchases, in commercial buildings and churches, mansions and row homes (particularly those in the East End[25]). Pottsville and Shenandoah have larger, sacred windows --Pottsville's include several by noted artists including Tiffany — however, no Schuylkill County community has the volume and variety of windows found in the Tamaqua Historic District.


The setting and character of the Tamaqua Historic District have changed little since its period of significance and the district exhibits sound overall historic integrity of residential, commercial and industrial resources. Development since 1950 has concentrated on the outskirts of the borough, leaving the community's core remarkably intact. The varied ages and architectural styles of its resources represent the development of the town during the late 19th- and early-to-mid 20th centuries. The Tamaqua Borough Historic District is a fine example of an early industrial and commercial center in Pennsylvania's anthracite region.



The Tamaqua Historic District is located 17 miles east of the City of Pottsville at the eastern boundary of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Encompassing 178.6 acres, the historic district is centered at the intersections of PA Routes 209 and 309 (Broad and Center Streets) and extends west to include the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Schuylkill Township and east to the juncture of Hazle Street and PA Route 209. It extends north and south to include multiple intersecting streets and alleys. The historic district encompasses the central business district and surrounding neighborhoods which developed as a coal center in the southern anthracite field. The historic district contains 976 buildings, 3 sites, 8 structures and 3 objects, of which the majority (96.8 percent) are contributing. These residential, commercial, industrial, public, religious, educational and social buildings are tightly arranged on narrow lots along the borough's streets, alleys, and rail lines. Residential buildings, mostly two story, are primarily frame and brick construction, and many of the residences are attached duplexes or row houses. Architectural styles represented most frequently include Queen Anne, Late Victorian, Italianate, and Colonial Revival with small concentrations of early buildings, including Log, Greek Revival and Federal. A large number of buildings date between 1900 and 1925. The commercial section includes mostly 3- and 4-story buildings. Contributing structures include 3 sets of iron steps linking hillside neighborhoods to the downtown and 5 bridges. There are 3 contributing sites within the historic district: 2 cemeteries (Odd Fellows Cemetery and St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Cemetery) and the site of a demolished shirt factory. Two veterans monuments and a stone crash bollard are tallied as contributing objects. With few modern intrusions, the Tamaqua Borough Historic District retains its historic integrity and character.

Properties previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places were not included in the resource count. Those are (1) the 1850 Anthracite Bank Building, 133 West Broad Street, listed September 13, 1978; (2) the 1866 George Ormrod House, 218 West Broad Street, listed June 14, 1977; and (3) the 1874 Reading Railroad Passenger Station, Route 209 and Berwick Streets, listed December 26, 1975. Outbuildings also were not included in the historic district's resource count, with two exceptions: (1) outbuildings related to the Bischoff Furniture factory were counted as contributing buildings for their high significance and (2) garages constructed on separate tax parcels (a phenomenon on extremely steep grades) were counted, generally as non-contributing buildings. Significant outbuildings — for example, garages of unique design — are noted in the inventory comments. Counted outbuildings make up less than 1 percent of the contributing building count.

District Setting and Layout:

The Tamaqua Historic District includes Borough of Tamaqua properties and the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Schuylkill Township, the western terminus of the district. Borough land extends east to the Schuylkill/Carbon county line wrapping around the Borough of Coaldale.[1] The Carbon County seat of Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk) is 14 miles to the east. The district is 17 miles east of Pottsville (Schuylkill County seat and center of the southern anthracite field); 12 miles south of Hazleton, center of the middle field, and 35 miles northwest of Allentown. The borough is bounded by Schuylkill Township at its north and west, Walker Township at its south and west, Rush Township at its north, and the Borough of Coaldale at its east. The Little Schuylkill River, the West Branch of the Little Schuylkill River (Wabash Creek, mostly underground in the borough) and Panther Creek flow into each other in Tamaqua, joining the West Branch of the Schuylkill River at Port Clinton. Tamaqua is situated in a dell, between the Sharp and Locust mountains, between 800 and 1,000 feet above sea level. It is surrounded by steep hills: Sharp Mountain at the west end of the southern boundary; Mount Anthracite (Odd Fellows Cemetery) at the west; Locust Mountain at the west end of the northern boundary; Nesquehoning Mountain at the east end of the northern boundary; and Pigsah Mountain at the east end of the southern boundary. Strip mines, now under reclamation, parallel the borough at north and south. The Greenwood Colliery (originally the Tamaqua Colliery, it now borrows the historic name of that first colliery) is active at the borough's southeast just beyond the district boundaries.

The nucleus of the borough is the Five Points intersection, its lowest elevation and the juncture of Broad Street (PA Route 209, heading east-west), Center and North Railroad Streets, (PA Route 309, heading north-south), and Mauch Chunk Street (heading northeast then east). Streets and avenues (in Tamaqua, avenues are narrow streets or alleys) are laid out in a grid pattern interrupted or varied only by rail lines or rivers. The first block of Mauch Chunk Street is the single diagonal street in the borough, running from the Five Points Intersection to Pine Street.

The active Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad crosses the borough north-south immediately west of Five Points. A spur line runs northeast-southwest along the Panther Creek and crosses East Broad Street in the 400 block. The abandoned western route to Pottsville exists as a string of vacant properties (alleys, parking lots, rear yards) running along the former Wabash Creek bed to the National Register-listed Reading Railroad Terminal Building at North Railroad Street. Other major streets in Tamaqua include: Greenwood Street, the major north/south street east of Five Points; Cedar Street, which connects Center and South Greenwood Streets and crosses the Little Schuylkill River; Nescopec Street, a north/south street crossing West Broad Street in the 200 block of the commercial district; Swatara Street, a north/south street crossing West Broad at the 300 block; Lehigh Street, a north/south residential street crossing West Broad at the 400 block; Lafayette Street, an east/west street at the western north of the district; Rowe Street, an east/west street between West Broad and Lafayette Streets; Cottage Avenue, a narrow residential street south of and high above West Broad Street; and Mahanoy, High, and Vangelder Streets, all residential streets in the South Ward, south of Cottage Avenue. Hazle and Arlington Streets are c. 1900 residential streets in the East End, running northeast.

The Tamaqua Historic District incorporates a traditional central business district surrounded by residential development. The commercial district extends from the Five Points intersection west along Broad Street into the 300 block; east along Broad Street to the 400 block, north through the first block of North Railroad Street; northeast along Mauch Chunk Street to the 100 block; and south along Center Street to the southern district boundary. Its two- and three-story buildings are tightly spaced, often attached to each other and with facade elevations flush against the sidewalk. The first neighborhoods in the district grew around two early borough centers at the western end of West Broad Street and on higher ground at Market and Mauch Chunk streets, which rivaled for early community dominance. Residential blocks generally are similarly sized and styled with most dwellings of the mid- and late-Victorian vintage. Most dwellings are tightly spaced on urban lots that are at least twice as deep as they are wide and are often banked into steep hillsides sitting well above the street. Front lawns are shallow, usually no more than 10-20 feet, with row houses built closer to the street than single family homes. Planned blocks are rare, except in the East End where lots are identical and residences follow several distinct vernacular patterns. Landscaped lawns with mature trees are rare but are found on northern Lafayette Street and East Broad Street. Arlington Street boasts shallow, raised front lawns with crennelated stone fences. Churches and public buildings are generally found on or in close proximity to Broad Street. Schools are found on Broad Street and in residential neighborhoods. The Odd Fellows Cemetery, an 1865 garden cemetery, is at the western terminus of the district. St. Jerome's Cemetery, dating from c. 1837, is located on High Street. Industrial buildings are also scattered throughout the district, generally along rail lines situated adjacent to and often behind residences and commercial buildings. Those surviving within the historic district are of varied form and generally in the East End. The overall mixing of building functions and property types give the Tamaqua Historic District a cohesive character. Tamaqua is a well-cared-for community and the historic district's resources are generally in good condition.

Contributing Buildings.

Largely residential, 84 percent of the Tamaqua Historic District contributing buildings are dwellings. These date primarily between c. 1850 and 1930, with earlier and later examples scattered throughout the district. The majority are attached dwellings: more than 37 percent are duplexes and 12 percent are row houses. Almost all are privately owned, sitting on narrow lots. The remaining 30 percent are single family homes, which tend to sit on somewhat larger lots with wider side yards than the attached homes. Queen Anne homes dominate both in high style single family dwellings and vernacular duplexes. Other represented styles include Greek Revival, Italianate, Craftsman (bungalow and cottage), Second Empire, American Foursquare, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Mission, and Prairie. Many homes are a mix of several styles.

The majority of the district's contributing dwellings are vernacular, with decorative elements from styles popular at the time of their construction. Decorative art glass is widespread in the district in both high style and vernacular examples. Early residential examples are relatively scarce. Surviving early settlement vernacular buildings include the 1801 Burkhardt Moser Log home at the rear of 307 East Broad Street, and a few homes in the vicinity of The White Swan Hotel at 256 Cedar Street, including 252 Cedar Street, a c. 1860 brick home with Georgian segmental arched roof dormer; 101 Market Street is a c. 1850 brick example located across Mauch Chunk Street from the 1827 Little Schuylkill Hotel. Extremely rare Victorian vernacular miners cottages dating from c. 1860 are found in a row at 124-132 West Cottage Avenue.

Many mid-nineteenth century and Late Victorian examples are found. Rare mid-nineteenth century high style residential examples of the Greek Revival style include identical brick townhouses at 320 and 326 West Broad Street; a brick townhouse at 30 Nescopec Street with attic story windows and intact Greek Revival door surrounds; and 224 West Cottage Avenue, a frame high style example with full columned porch and side dependencies. Intact Victorian Gothic Cottages are found at 236 West Broad Street and 34 Market Street.

Excellent examples of high integrity and varied Victorian detail are scattered throughout the district including an 1850 Italianate double at 210-212 West Cottage Avenue; a Second Empire/Eastlake staggered row group at 228-250 Mauch Chunk Street; later Second Empire rows with flared Mansard roofs at 101 -107 Rowe Street; an ornate Second Empire single dwelling at 206 North Lehigh Street; an ornate Queen Anne/Eastern Stick dwelling at 36 North Greenwood Street with intact stickwork and high imbrication; and a double, also highly shingled, at 204 East Broad Street. A Shingle style example found at 258 West Cottage Avenue has an arcaded porch. Colonial Revival townhouse rows are located at 646-652 East Broad Street. 415 West Broad Street is a unique Free Classic Bungalow with shiplap siding and diamond-shaped shingles. A brick bungalow dating from 1915 with Prairie transom lights and entry doors is at 415 West Broad Street.

Vernacular side-gable two-story frame houses, with front cross gable or Mansard roofs are the most frequent form in the borough. Cast stone variations of the form are seen; brick is a rarity. Most have early twentieth century porches with classical columns or battered piers; some have porches with turned columns. 539 East Broad Street is one intact, highly shingled Queen Anne Free Classic example. Houses of this type were built in Tamaqua into the second decade of the twentieth century, with classical, rather than Victorian, decorative elements becoming the norm through time. By the nineteen-teens, bungalows, cottages, and American Foursquare single homes were being constructed throughout the district of both frame and brick with a mix of Craftsman and Colonial Revival detailing. A rare, high style Prairie example — concrete with wide overhanging eaves - is located at 634 East Broad Street. Colonial Revival dwellings are concentrated on the eastern end of the historic district and were built in Tamaqua beginning in the 1920's. Both vernacular and high style examples with frame, brick and stucco variations are found intermixed with very late examples of the Queen Anne style.

Tamaqua's elite built large, high style dwellings. An intact high style cluster is found in the 200 block of West Broad Street: Italianate examples at 223 and 246, Second Empire at 247, Queen Anne at "Queen Anne's Lace" bed and breakfast at 214 West Broad Street and The Fitzpatrick House at 242, and Eastern Stick at the National Register-listed Ormrod House at 218. These high style Queen Anne brick and frame examples include towers, two-story bay windows, multi-paned windows, bracketed cornices, shingled gable ends, wrapping columned porches, high vermiculation and art glass. Additional high style Queen Anne examples are found in identical homes at 454 and 458 East Broad Street and in the 1903 iron-spot brick — a yellow brick with mineral flecks — Amandus Lutz House at 221 Cedar Street, which has peacock-feathered pattern transom windows at the second story. In the early twentieth century revival styles rivaled the Queen Anne for elite homes in the 500 block of East Broad Street. These include the Cornelius McGeehan House at 500 East Broad Street (1922-1924, now the Zizelmann Funeral Home), a Colonial Revival/Neo-Classical Revival granite home with full portico entrance, green tile roof and matching granite garage; the c. 1920 Daniel Pfiel House at 518 East Broad Street, a brick Tudor Revival of Flemish bond with glazed headers, double or triple thickness slate roof, decorative chimney pots and matching brick garage and rear alley wall; the stucco Mission Revival at 522 East Broad Street built in 1890 by contractor Weaver with massive entrance columns and, again, a matching stucco garage; Weaver's own home at 530 East Broad Street, a high style clapboard and shingle Queen Anne Free Classic with pyramidal roof and 3 story tower, wrap porch and art glass; the Benjamin D. Seltzer house at 540 East Broad Street, an ornate 17 room late Queen Anne house built in 1902 by architect James Schlegel; and 601 East Broad Street, a Free Classic tan brick with two story, highly shingled curved front bay and unique Art Nouveau window transoms.

Approximately two-thirds of the dwellings in the historic district have at least one outbuilding. The majority of those are free-standing frame, concrete block, or brick garages or sheds showing the impact of the auto age. Although some are modern, most date between 1920 and 1945 and were not included in the resource count.

Twelve percent of the Tamaqua Historic District contributing buildings are commercial. These include hotels from early settlement, mid-nineteenth century brick buildings and high style late nineteenth and early twentieth century commercial structures, all testament to the legacy of coal. The earliest surviving commercial structures are hotels: the Little Schuylkill Hotel at 47 Market Street, the first hotel and Tamaqua's first stone building, built in 1827 by the Little Schuylkill , Navigation Company ( now private residences); the frame c. 1845 White Swan at 256 Cedar Street; the 1871 Kramer's Hotel at 300 East Broad Street, once a stagecoach stop on the route to Mauch Chunk; and the 3-story Washington House (44 Mauch Chunk Street), a c. 1842-50 brick, side gable commercial block with continuous second/third story pillared porch with incorporated iron fire escape.

Mid-nineteenth century commercial blocks include 104 West Broad Street (now Kutcher's), a c. 1850 brick, highly altered at the facade but contributing with early features exposed on the east wall — double end chimney, side lunette and S-shaped tie rods, and the National Register-listed 1850 Anthracite Bank Building at 133 West Broad Street, brick with intact marble first-floor facade. Late nineteenth century commercial blocks and major anchor buildings — banks and a theater — are concentrated in the downtown commercial district. They are most heavily concentrated in the downtown core from the Five Points intersection through the 200 block of West Broad Street, and through the 100 block of East Broad Street. (Residential and mixed-use buildings and conversions continue through West Broad Street's 300 block through East Broad Street's 400 block before becoming purely residential.) The generally three-story high style buildings are largely of brick or stone construction and sit very close together, often touching. Many have stores, shops or other businesses on the first floor and apartments or offices on the upper floors. Architectural styles represented include Italianate, Late Victorian, Classical Revival, Queen Anne, Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, Exotic, Art Moderne, Art Deco, and Commercial. High style Italianate rows are found at 112 and 123-125 East Broad Street, 40, 44 and 47 West Broad Street. The first block of Center Street (east side) is an outstanding concentration of Italianate and Second Empire commercial blocks including Shafer's Pharmacy (11 Center Street), an Italianate brick building with ornate stone shoulder moldings, detailed roof brackets and original front iron fire escape; 15 Center Street, with original intact storefront with 2 sets of paired arched doors and metal sidewalk hood on metal poles; the Second Empire 19 Center Street with original Eastlake storefront; and 21 Center Street — also Second Empire — with original storefront and intact sidewalk hood. The E.J. Fry Building at 10 West Broad Street and its copy, The Shepp Building at 12 West Broad Street, are ornate Queen Anne examples with intricate pressed metal cornices and brownstone trim. 251 West Broad Street is an intact 3-story Eastlake version with Queen Anne multi-light windows and sunburst cross gable detailing. Colonial Revival examples are at 39 West Broad Street. The Romanesque Revival was popular for high style commercial buildings and is seen in the Livingston Block at 18 West Broad Street, at 14 and 32 West Broad Street, and also at 108 and 109 East Broad, 14 West Broad. The 1900 Flat Iron Building at the Five Points intersection incorporates late Victorian and Colonial Revival elements. The Elks Lodge at 201 West Broad Street is a high style Colonial Revival style example with glazed headers, stone quoins, and classical cornice with modillion blocks, triglyphs, and circle motifs. The Colonial Revival Masonic Lodge at 139 West Broad Street has Egyptian Revival vulture and sun disc motif at the cornice (while the Odd Fellows Cemetery has several Exotic Style mausoleums). The Classical Revival style is seen in banks: The c. 1915 Peoples Trust Company Building at 100 East Broad Street, a temple front style with curved corner entrance; the 1905/1919 First National Bank of Tamaqua, now the Tamaqua Historical Society, at 114 West Broad Street; and the 1908 Tamaqua National Bank at 35 West Broad Street, also with rounded corner entrance. The Neoclassical Revival Post Office building at 399 East Broad Street also exemplifies the style. Additional commercial examples of the Classical Revival are found at 20, 24-26, and 43 West Broad Street and also in theaters — The Majestic Theater and hotel (now housing) at 201 East Broad Street and the Regal and Blum Jewelers building, now the entrance to the new Salvation Army Community Center, at 105 West Broad Street. The Art Moderne is seen at 130 East Broad Street; Art Deco in the Jennings Building at 205 West Broad Street, a 3-story, 5-bay commercial block with Chicago Style windows.

Other commercial resources in the historic district include several 20th century automobile service stations, repair garages, or dealerships. These are concrete buildings, with stucco or veneer finish, and include the former auto showroom at 801 East Broad Street, the U.S. Towing and Demolition building — 3-bay brick with Coca Cola ghost sign — at 201 Cedar Street, a concrete block auto shop at 251 Cedar Street, a Mission Revival service station and adjacent Tamaqua Diner at 37 Center Street, the stucco-over-brick with stepped gable Rottet Motors at 117 South Greenwood Street, and a c. 1925 2-bay shop at 309 West Cottage Avenue. Early twentieth century (c.1920) parking garages include 308-310 West Broad Street, a 2-story building with parapet roof and capacity of 35 cars and the 3-story brick-faced tile "auto service and storage" building at 211-213 Rowe Street, capacity 40 cars. The Sprite Shirt Factory Building, 420 East Broad Street, incorporates a 35 car garage in its raised basement.

Industries proliferated throughout the borough in proximity to the rail lines, often behind residences and commercial buildings. Those surviving in the historic district (less than 1 percent of contributing buildings) are situated adjacent to rail lines. All are utilitarian in design and lack any architectural style. The 1848 Hegarty Blacksmith Shop is located on Lafayette Street at the hillside juncture of Hegarty Avenue and Nescopec Street. It is single-story, board and batten construction with metal roof. The 1865 Conrad Bischoff Planing Mill and Furniture Factory (320 Lafayette Street) sits amid a residential neighborhood and is the earliest industrial building surviving in the historic district. It is a 3-story, brick Victorian, with shed and barn at the rear fronting Rowe Street and the abandoned Mountain Link Railroad right-of-way. The 1875 Tamaqua Shoe Factory (now part of Aiken Lumber) is a prominent complex at 401 Hazle and Patterson Streets and includes later poured concrete buildings to accommodate later use as a dairy. The 1897 Jonah McGinty Brewery is a Romanesque Revival example fronting East Broad Street near the 500 block rail crossing. Across the street, c. 1910 the Sprite Shirt Factory at 420 East Broad Street is a large frame building sitting on the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern rail spur. The c. 1910 Tamaqua Manufacturing Company buildings (later the Panther Creek Packing Company) are set back from East Broad Street behind East End Avenue along the same rail line. The buildings are poured concrete with metal windows and parapet roofs. Remaly Manufacturing (205-211 Cedar Street) is housed in a c. 1920 building including a staging area, manufacturing building and offices. Remaly Manufacturing is located in a mixed-use block adjacent to auto repair shops and residences. Former East Penn Electric Company sub-station buildings — 2-story brick buildings now owned by the borough — are located on the same line at South Greenwood Street.

Other architectural resources in the Tamaqua Historic District serve a variety of functions. Eight churches span the entire era of Tamaqua's development, several replaced earlier churches. The 1851 Calvary Episcopal (300 W. Broad Street) of cut stone with raised entrance and center tower is earliest. The 1852 First Methodist Church (122 West Broad Street) is a rare example of the Greek Revival, again with central entry, and a 25-foot-tall bell tower. Other mid-19th century churches are the 1856 brick St. Jerome's Roman Catholic (260 West Broad Street) and the 1857 stucco-finished First Presbyterian (230 West Broad Street), both Gothic Revival. Late 19th century examples are the c. 1880 First Lutheran (a frame Victorian with little detail at 231 Mauch Chunk Street, now vacant, most recently the Italian Club) and the Victorian Gothic St. John's Evangelical Lutheran at 200 Mauch Chunk and Pine Streets, built by contractors Becker and Shilbe in 1895. Early 20th century churches in the district are Bethany Evangelical Congregational Church, a brick Gothic Revival with 3 lancet windows at the 223 East Broad Street (adjacent to the Panther Creek) and the 1927 Zion Lutheran Church at 101 North Greenwood, High Gothic, of granite with white stone and wood trim with matching parsonage.

Three early twentieth century school buildings survive. The St. Jerome's Regional Catholic School (250 West Broad Street) is active today in its original 1919 Gothic Revival structure. Two others — the former Arlington Street School (548 Arlington Street, a c. 1920 yellow brick Colonial Revival) and the Rahn Township School (753 Arlington Street, a narrow clapboard minimal simple Free Classic with two cross gables, c. 1900, incorporated into the borough with the 1972 merger with Rahn Township) — have been renovated for apartment and single family dwelling use, respectively.

Four borough fire companies are found within the district. The oldest surviving structure is the c. 1881 brick and terra cotta American Hose Company at 41 Mauch Chunk Street, incorporating grand arched windows and ornamental belt courses. The borough's oldest fire company — in its second home — is the Citizen's Fire Company No. 1. This neighborhood fire company building (51 West Rowe Street) was constructed in 1914 by contractor Graeff of yellow brick with projecting second-story bays on a triangular lot with attached Borough Hall and police lock-up (both now vacant). Its second floor later incorporated the Tamaqua Lyceum library. The South Ward Fire Company (1916, Vangelder Street at South Swatara Street) is a nondescript brick building. The borough's last fire company, the East End Fire Co. was constructed c. 1923 with a shallow Mansard roof at 555 East Broad Street.

The Post Office (399 East Broad Street) is a 1932 yellow brick and stone Neoclassic Revival example 7 bays wide in the enframed block form. It has a stone foundation, colossal entry porch, cast iron entry lights, iron entry grills and granite entry steps. Borough government is housed today in the former Tamaqua Armory (320 East Broad), a 3-bay brick late Gothic Revival example with crenelated roof line and tower. Its front section remains administrative offices while the rear drill hall today houses the borough council chambers.

Recreation and cultural buildings include the previously mentioned Neoclassic Revival Majestic Theater and Hotel, now apartments, at 201 East Broad and the c. 1930 Bowl-O-Drome at 231 West Rowe Street, commercial style, brick with glass block. Social clubs are numerous: the L.O.O.M. (13 East Broad Street) a c. 1900 Classical Revival 3-story with pilastered first floor, the Colonial Revival Elks Club and the Masonic Hall discussed above, and the American Legion, housed in a c. 1860 Victorian Gothic Cottage at 206 West Broad Street.

Surviving transportation resources are rail-related: the 1831 line of the Little Schuylkill Navigation and Rail Company (not counted, but highly significant as the 3rd oldest rail line in the nation and in continuous operation); the National Register listed Italianate brick and sandstone Reading Railroad Passenger Station (Route 209 and Berwick Streets, not included in resource count); and the 1881 P&R Railroad Telegraph and Dispatcher's Office, a frame late Victorian style building known as the "QA" office, representing Tamaqua's call letters on the telegraph system.

Other Contributing Resources:

Three sites, eight structures, and three objects also contribute to the Tamaqua Historic District. Two landscapes — the C. 1837 burying ground of St. Jerome's Cemetery and the 1865 Odd Fellows rural garden cemetery built after the Civil War — incorporate the graves of coal and business leaders, Molly Maguire figures, and many noted families and their descendants. St. Jerome's Cemetery is a burying ground form located between Mahanoy and High Streets. Originally associated with the first church built near here (demolished 1855), the site gently slopes to the east. The unplanned cemetery includes simple stones and Victorian obelisks. It is surrounded by chain link fence with an entrance gate located on South Nescopec Street. A wooden observation platform is located on Mahanoy Street to enable view of the John Kehoe tombstone. The Odd Fellows Cemetery, located at State Route 209 in Schuylkill Township at the western terminus of the historic district, is a Victorian garden cemetery, incorporated in 1865 after the Civil War and formally laid out around the central Soldier's Circle and Civil War Monument. Curved roads radiate from the Soldier's Circle to the burial sections which include mature trees, Victorian obelisks, angels, rustic stones and more. Ornate mausoleums dedicated to prominent families are banked at the hillside entrance. The 38.2 acre site includes approximately 14,906 graves. The Fitzpatrick Shirt Factory site on West Cottage Avenue (no given street address) includes the foundation of the 1888 shirt factory which employed 200-400 women and girls in the making of cotton shirts. (The Fitzpatrick House sits intact at 242 West Broad Street, immediately north of the factory site.)

Structures include iron steps and five bridges. Three runs of iron steps within the district (others are extant outside the district) were built by the borough to shorten access to work sites and the downtown. They include (1) 94 steps in the South Nescopec Street right-of-way running from West Cottage Street to Mahanoy Street; (2) 46 steps from West Broad Street to West Cottage Avenue in the Swatara Street right-of-way just west of St. Jerome's parsonage; and (3) 90 steps West Cottage Street to Mahanoy Street in the Swatara Street right-of-way. Five bridges are found in the historic district: 3 over the Little Schuylkill (at Cedar, East Broad, and East Mauch Chunk Streets) and 2 over the Panther Creek (at South Greenwood and East Broad), all on the east side of town. The Cedar Street Bridge (1937) is 3-span on 2 piers and is identified as County Bridge No. 134. The East Broad Street Bridge (c. 1880 with alterations) at the 200 block adjacent to Bethany Evangelical Congregational Church is 2-bay, stone arched bridge over oval stone piers with stone retaining walls. Steel I-beam and iron rails are at street level. The Mauch Chunk Street Bridge (c. 1900) is the northernmost bridge crossing the Little Schuylkill River and is a 2-span arched stone bridge with 1999 replacement concrete closed rail at street level. Two bridges cross the Panther Creek: a c. 1900 concrete 3-bay single span bridge at the intersection of Market Street and East Broad Street and a 1947 iron bridge with concrete span identified as County Bridge No. 136.

Objects included are monuments and a concrete bollard. The Tamaqua veterans monument is central to the front lawn of the Bell Telephone building at 1 West Broad Street and is a simple rectangular block with Roll of Honor. The Rahn Township veterans monument is at the eastern terminus of the historic district and is a vertical stone with chamfered edges including a Roll of Honor. The concrete bollard is located at the corner of North Greenwood and Mauch Chunk Streets built by a property owner to protect his residence from circus cars which would become unhitched, roll down the hill and crash into his home.

Non-contributing Resources and Integrity Assessment:

The Tamaqua Historic District's non-contributing resources are not concentrated in any one area, but are scattered throughout town. Primarily less than 50 years old, the 32 buildings equal 3 percent of the historic district's resource count. Most blend with the character of the district and do not compromise its integrity. The district's non-contributing buildings include: 6 significantly altered buildings all similar in size, scale and placement to surrounding buildings, 7 residential garages of no distinction located on individual tax parcels separate from their primary residence, and 19 buildings beyond the period of significance. Those include a shopping plaza, the Tamaqua High Rise, 5 commercial buildings, and 3 residences.

The district also includes properties and vacant lots that were not counted: three previously listed National Register properties and four tax parcels that are currently part of the active Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Rail lines running (1) north/south to the west of the Five Points intersection and (2) northeast then east to and along East Broad Street. The district includes 46 vacant lots that were not included in the resource count. These are widely scattered throughout the borough and include never developed residential lots, secondary side yard lots, odd-shaped lots resulting from hilly terrain, lots that were part of the now abandoned Mountain Link Railroad line running west to Tuscarora (and later, Pottsville), a very few vacant commercial lots, a very few parking lots, and several contiguous vacant lots near the Five Points intersection planned for development as Depot Square Park at the 1874 Reading Passenger Station.

Non-contributing resources are not clustered and do not detract from the district's integrity. Given the size of the district, these properties do not stand out in any way.

Many of the Tamaqua Historic District's contributing buildings have been somewhat altered with the application of modern materials, including siding, roofing, replacement porches or new windows. Few have had all replaced, rather one or two elements. Many buildings with modern siding retain their original trim and detailing. Almost all retain their historic massing, fenestration, and overall appearance. Several, particularly in the East Ward, have converted raised basements to single bay garages with little compromise to integrity and mimic many other homes constructed with basement garages as an original feature. In the commercial section, many nineteenth century buildings have seen storefront changes over time, many within the period of significance and significant in their own right. Tamaqua retains its historic plan. None of the borough's streets or alleyways have been closed or extensively widened. Streets and sidewalks have been paved with concrete. The Tamaqua & Lansford Street Railway, the abandoned Mountain Link Railroad, and Lehigh and New England line have been removed. These modern improvements are found in most communities, and do note take away from its historic character. Although Tamaqua has busy commercial, industrial and religious enterprises and a large volume of traffic, only a handful of buildings have been replaced by parking lots. Most parking lots are located to the rear of buildings and do not adversely affect the historic character of their surroundings.

The Tamaqua Historic District is remarkably intact. The large majority — 96.8 percent — of the district's resources are contributing. The historic layout and setbacks have been maintained along with the scale and appearance of the borough's historic building stock. In most locations, entire blocks or streetscapes have retained their overall historic appearance. The scattered non-contributing resources have little effect on the overall integrity of the district. Tamaqua's preserved residential and commercial streets and historic industries combine in this architecturally interesting historic district to reflect its history as a 19th and early 20th century industrial and commercial center.


A Concise Historical Atlas of Pennsylvania. ed. Edward K. Muller. Philadelphia, PA.: Temple University Press, 1989. Bailey, H.H. "Tamaqua, PA., 1 878. Stourbridge & Co., Lithographers, 1878.

Beers, F.W., C.E. and A.B. Cochran, C.E. County Atlas of Schuylkill Pennsylvania from Recent and Actual Surveys and Records. New York: F.W. Beers & Co., 1875.

Butko, Brian and Kevin Patrick. Diners of Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg, PA.: Stackpole Books, 1999.

Hessinger, Shawn A. Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald. Pottsville, PA.: J.H. Zerbey Newspaper Corp., 1999-2000. "Early History Unveiled, Latest Tamaqua Project Examines pre-Moser Era., June 14, 2000. "Fond Memories Brim as School Closes Doors," June 2,2000. "Is Moser Mill Part of Rafferty's Pub?," May 24,2000. "Tamaqua Notes History: Old Hotel, Bank Among 4 Places Set to Get Markers," July 7, 2000. "Trails Due Where Rails Ran, Memories Stirred by Pending Plans for L&NE Corridor," July 15-16, 2000.

Historic Markers. Tamaqua, PA.: Tamaqua Area 2004 Partnership, ongoing. History of Schuylkill County Pennsylvania in Two Volumes. Including a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Many Families and Person in the County, ed. Adolf W. Schalck and Hon. D. C. Henning. State Historical Association, 1907.

History of Schuylkill County, PA. with Illustrations and Biographic Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Munsell & Co., 1881.

Homes and Interiors of the 1920's: A Restoration Design Guide, Ottawa, Ontario: Lee Valley Tools Ltd., 1987. (Originally published under title: Buildings with Assurance. Chicago: Morgan, 1921.)

Kenny, Kevin. Making Sense of the Molly Maguires. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1998. "Map of Tamaqua Borough, Schuylkill County, Penna. showing Location of Borough Lines, Mining Operations, and Areas Assessed for Taxing Purposes." Scale 1"=200' February 1954, Robert F. Miller, No. 6219, Commonwealth of Pa. Professional Engineer.

McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

"Murder and Mayhem: The Molly Maguires in Tamaqua." brochure, Tamaqua, PA.: Tamaqua Area 2004 Partnership, 1999.

"National Register Bulletin 16A: Technical Information on comprehensive planning, survey of cultural resources, and registration in the National Register of Historic Places." Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, 1991.

National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Forms: Anthracite Bank Building, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, PA. Listed September 13, 1978, preparer, Michael J. O'Malley. George Ormrod House, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, PA. Listed June 14, 1997, preparer Michael J. O'Malley. Old Mauch Chunk Historic District, Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, PA. Listed November 10, 1997, preparer Vance Packard. Pottsville Downtown Historic District, Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA. Listed, March 1,1982, preparer Thomas E. Jones. Reading Railroad Passenger Stations, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, PA. Listed December 26, 1985, preparer Michael Havrischak.

"Plan of the Town of Tamaqua." Childs. Lith., c. 1830.

Rupp, I. Daniel. History of Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, Containing a Brief History of the First Settlers. Topography of the Townships, Notice of Leading Events, Incidents, and Interesting Facts in the Early History of These Counties. Harrisburg, PA.: Hickok & Curtin, Printers and Binders, 1845. Scherer, Paul F. "Bicentennial Borough: Coal Fuels Tamaqua's Glory Days, Fast-paced Expansion Followed 1799 Founding," Pottsville Republican and Evening Herald, September 4-5-6, 1999.

Scherer, Paul F. Musings of a Chronicler. Tamaqua, PA: Paul R. Scherer. "Early Tamaqua: A Pictorial Thumbnail Sketch" "Tamaqua and the Catawissa Railroad" "Tamaqua and the Great Depression" "Tamaqua and the Great Flood of 1850 and Others" "Tamaqua and Lansford Street Railway Company" "Tamaqua and the Little Schuylkill Navigation Railroad and Coal Company, 1828-1866" "Tamaqua Fire Companies, 100 Years: 1850-1959" "Tamaqua Passenger Depot and the Station Complex" "Tamaqua, the First Sixty Years: 1799-1859" "Tamaqua Tragedies of the 1850's: The Great Mine Fire and its Daring Rescues and Tragic Deaths; Destruction of the Business District by Fire" "World War II and Tamaqua"

Schuylkill County Tax Maps. Tax District: Tamaqua Borough and Schuylkill Township. Map Nos. 65-KEY, 65-10, 65-11, 65-12, 65-13, 65-14, 65-15, 65-16, 65-17, 65-18, 65-29, 27-02. Date 3-1 6-2000. Drawn by: DML.

Serfass, Donald R. "Depot's Link to Famous Fuels Preservation Effort; Doris Day, Kehoe Visited." Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald. Pottsville, PA.: J.H. Zerbey Newspaper Corp., September 18, 1997.

Serfass, Donald R. 'a. Tamaqua, PA: Donald R. Serfass, 1995.

"Souvenir Program Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Tamaqua, Penna., September 27 to October 5, 1957." brochure, n.p., 1957.

"Spirit of Christmas Victorian House Tour 1998." brochure, 1998.

"Tamaqua: Gateway to the Anthracite Region." brochure, Hometown:, PA.: Air Products Chemicals, Inc., 1998.

"Tamaqua, PA." Reston, VA.: United States Geological Survey., 1995. Scale: 1:24,000.

"Tamaqua, Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania, Including Part of Rahn Township, Sanborn Map Company of New York." New York: Sanborn Map Company, May 1923.

The Victorian Design Book: A Complete Guide to Victorian House Trim. Ottowa, Ontario: Lee Valley Tools, 1984. (Originally published: Universal design book containing official price lists, illustrating moulding, balusters, stairwork ...; official price lists adopted by the Wholesale Sash, Door, and Blind Manufacturers Association. October 15, 1903.)

Wiley, Samuel T. Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Comprising an Historical Sketch of the County. Philadelphia, PA.: Rush, West and Company, Publishers, 1893.

Wilson, H. Weber. Great Glass in American Architecture: Decorative Windows and Doors Before 1920. New York, N.Y.: E.F. Dutton, 1986.

Yanoshak, Joy. Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald. Pottsville, PA.: J.H. Zerbey Newspaper Corp., 1999. "Renovations will Enhance Tamaqua Cemetery," March 13-14,1999. "Tamaqua Cemetery Documents 14,907 Lives," September 29, 1999.

Serfass, Donald R. "Depot's Link to Famous Fuels Preservation Effort; Doris Day, Kehoe Visited." Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald. Pottsville, PA.: J.H. Zerbey Newspaper Corp., September 18, 1997.

Serfass, Donald R. Iron Steps: Illustrated History of Tamaqua. Pennsylvania;. Tamaqua, PA: Donald R. Serfass, 1995.

Serfass, Donald R. The Times News, Lehighton, PA: Pencor Corp. 1999-2000. "Custer's Last Stand, Tamaqua discovery could re-write page from national history," June 25, 1999. "Little Bighorn survivors' kin gather at Grave," August 13, 1999. "Blade of Battle, Tamaqua is home to Civil War Hero's Sword," February 20, 1999. "Historic Facelift, Tamaqua's first home is being restored," February 8, 1999. "Tamaqua's oldest building still in hiding? Sawmill may still stand as part of old Kramer's Hotel since late 1880s," March 6, 1999. "Beer Pioneer, famous Lancaster brewery started in Tamaqua," August 30,2000.

"Souvenir Program Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Tamaqua, Penna., September 27 to October 5, 1957." brochure, n.p., 1957.

"Spirit of Christmas Victorian House Tour 1998." brochure, 1998.

"Tamaqua: Gateway to the Anthracite Region." brochure, Hometown:, PA.: Air Products Chemicals, Inc., 1998.

"Tamaqua, PA." Reston, VA.: United States Geological Survey., 1995. Scale: 1:24,000.

"Tamaqua, Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania, Including Part of Rahn Township, Sanborn Map Company of New York." New York: Sanborn Map Company, May 1923.

The Victorian Design Book: A Complete Guide to Victorian House Trim. Ottowa, Ontario: Lee Valley Tools, 1984. (Originally published: Universal design book containing official price lists, illustrating moulding, balusters, stairwork ...; official price lists adopted by the Wholesale Sash, Door, and Blind Manufacturers Association. October 15, 1903.)

Wiley, Samuel T. Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Comprising an Historical Sketch of the County. Philadelphia, PA.: Rush, West and Company, Publishers, 1893.

Wilson, H. Weber. Great Glass in American Architecture: Decorative Windows and Doors Before 1920. New York, N.Y.: E.F. Dutton, 1986.

Yanoshak, Joy. Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald. Pottsville, PA.: J.H. Zerbey Newspaper Corp., 1999. "Renovations will Enhance Tamaqua Cemetery," March 13-14,1999. "Tamaqua Cemetery Documents 14,907 Lives," September 29, 1999.


  1. This configuration resulted from the 1972 annexation of Rahn Township into the Borough of Tamaqua. Tax maps at present do not illustrate the annexation and several borough streets within the Tamaqua Historic District as located in the defunct township.
  2. Moser was probably aware that coal had been found in nearby communities, Pottsville in 1790, and Summit Hill, just east of Tamaqua, in 1791.
  3. Travel from Tamaqua southwest to Pottsville and northeast to Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) was possible, although the route in many places was only a path with an occasional cabin. (Mauch Chunk Street — partly US Route 209, today Tamaqua's West Broad Street — is the center of the Pottsville-Tamaqua-Jim Thorpe corridor and part of a highway route from Millersburg west on the Susquehanna to Matamoras in northeast Pennsylvania where it enters New York at Port Jervis.
  4. The Little Schuylkill Railroad bought the right-of-way of the defunct Schuylkill Valley Railroad, whose Pottsville line never went east past Tuscarora to Tamaqua — a clear competitive break between the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company (P&RC&I) and the Lehigh Coal & Navigation (LC&N) lands. The Little Schuylkill Railroad made the connector in the 1860's, calling it the Mountain Link Railroad which arced into downtown Tamaqua from the west. This line is now abandoned but the route remains clearly visible on tax maps.
  5. The mines, the railroads and the canals were all idled for months as a result of the flood, causing shortages of coal as winter approached. The coal industry began to prosper as things returned to normal, producing 535,656 more tons than 1850. Flooding occurred in the years of 1820, 1841, 1850,1862, 1902, 1916 (in the downtown), 1933 (two floods, both downtown), 1938, 1942, 1955 (spawned by Hurricane Diane), 1969 (where the underground Wabash Creek popped downtown manhole covers, turned Broad Street into a river, and caused over a $1 million in damage) and 1972 (Storm Agnes). Flood control dams to the north of Tamaqua were installed in the 1970's and severe flooding has been controlled.
  6. The borough line was extended east to Coaldale in 1972. Current tax maps have not been updated to reflect that annexation of Rahn Township.
  7. Rail connections to Tamaqua from the east occurred at mid-century when transportation of anthracite there by way of the Lehigh and Delaware canals gave way to rail transport in the 1850's. The Panther Creek Railroad connected with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad at the Greenwood Branch near Tamaqua in 1849. It was operated by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company in conjunction with the switchback railroad, primarily for coal transport from Panther Valley mines to the loading chutes at Mauch Chunk. The Switchback ceased hauling coal in 1872 after the Hauto Tunnel through Nesquehoning Mountain opened. It merged with the Lehigh & New England Railroad (purchased by LC&N in 1904) in 1913. The Lehigh Valley Railroad completed its Pottsville Branch in 1890, thus gaining a share of the Southern Coal Field anthracite market. By 1871, the Central of New Jersey's Tamaqua branch met its mainline at Nesquehoning Junction, enhancing Tamaqua's access to the eastern seaboard.

    (In adjacent Carbon County, Mauch Chunk ((Jim Thorpe)) grew from an 1825 settlement called Coalville, to become the center of commerce and county seat in 1843. There, merchants Josiah White, Erskine Hazard and George Hauto had formed the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company in the 1920's, developing the transport of anthracite along the Lehigh and Delaware canals. Development of that community followed similar patterns as the town grew to several thousand; however, unlike other coal region communities, Mauch Chunk sprouted into a nationally renowned tourist center based on the natural beauty of surrounding mountains and attractions such as the Switchback Railroad and Glen Onoko Falls.)
  8. West Broad Street initially was Mauch Chunk Street, bending at the Five Points intersection and rising to Dutch Hill. That diagonal is the Mauch Chunk Street of today, while Broad Street continues straight and east to Jim Thorpe (Mauch Chunk).
  9. After a decade, Michael Beard, an experienced hotelman who operated similar facilities in Reading and Schuylkill Haven, purchased and remodeled the hotel and hostelry into a two-story structure with ornate full-width front porch and fine dining room catering to coal operators and industrialists.
  10. This parallels anthracite fields to the north. Hazleton is the major city of the Eastern Middle Field with Mauch Chunk and White Haven as the secondary coal cities; Wilkes Barre and Scranton and the major cities of the Northern Field, with Nanticoke, Pittston and Carbondale as the secondary coal cities.
  11. United States Census of Population: 1840--464; 1850--3080; 1860--4919; 1870--5,960; 1880--5,730; 1890--6,054; 1900--7,267; 1910--9,464; 1920--12,361; 1930--12,936; 1940--12,484; 1950--11,508; 1960--10,173; 1970--9,764; 1980--8,843; 1990--7,943.
  12. All have declined in population. The 1990 census reports: Tamaqua, 7,876; Shenandoah, 6,174; Mahanoy City, 4,998; Pottsville, 16,603.
  13. Minersville was incorporated 1831 and grew when the Mine Hill Railroad was completed in 1831 as a feeder to the Schuylkill Navigation Canal and had 162 retail businesses in 1907. Ashland, incorporated in 1847, grew when that route arrived in 1852 with its Ashland Extension. In 1906 there were 172 businesses in that borough of 6,436 people. Saint Clair, incorporated in 1850, was a trading point and mining center. Its growth began with the 1829 extension of the Mill Creek Railroad from Port Carbon. Its population was 4,648 in 1900 with 113 business establishments.
  14. The 1848 Hegarty Blacksmith Shop in the Tamaqua Historic District on Hegarty Avenue at Lafayette Street is a remnant of this era and was in continuous operation by the Hegarty family through the 1970s when it was donated to the Tamaqua Historical Society.
  15. The last surviving brewery dates from 1897. The 1897 Jonah McGinty Brewery building at the East Broad Street rail crossing survives today as housing.
  16. In the 1840's — the decade of most rapid growth — the principal coal operators were individuals: J. and R. Carter, Heaton & Carter, Harlan & Henderson, R. Radcliffe & Co., William Donaldson, and James Taggart. In 1862 there were Charles F. Shoener, J. Donaldson & Co., H. Dintinger, George W. Cole — whose home is located at 227 West Broad Street in the historic district; later, E.J. Fry, George Wiggan, Henry L. Cake, Gideon Whetstone, Richard Winlack, and William T. Carter.
  17. By 1910, nearly all of the coal lands in the vicinity were owned and operated by the P&RC&I and LC&N. Two lines of the Philadelphia & Reading radiated from the town to the mining district and the seaboard and it leased a trunk line to the Central Railroad of New Jersey in this period. LC&N built the Lehigh &New England Spur in 1912 which ran on the east side of the Little Schuylkill River connecting its Panther Valley lines to the P&R lines.
  18. Kevin Kenny, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1998).
  19. J. Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets off a Struggle for the Soul of America, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), Chapter 4.
  20. The Jones case was the first to go to trial, in Mauch Chunk, and Kerrigan, who gained the nickname "The Snitch," turned state's evidence on his two alleged accomplices and they were found guilty and hanged. His testimony also helped convict three men in the Yost slaying, who were also hanged, and Kerrigan went on to testify at several other Molly trials; while he acknowledged involvement, he was never convicted of any crime and after the trials left the area to settle near Richmond, Virginia under his wife's maiden name of Higgins.

    McParlan had moved to Tamaqua after the Yost assassination and courted Kerrigan's sister-in-law, Mary Ann Higgins, to become close to the family. McParlan, who frequented Kerrigan's Spruce Street home, is credited with turning him to the prosecution's cause.

    Girardville tavernkeeper John J. "Black Jack" Kehoe, cast by Gowen as "King of the Mollies," the purported mastermind of the alleged conspiracy, was married to Mary Ann O'Donnell of Tamaqua. After Kehoe was hanged in Pottsville on "The Day of the Rope"' for an 1862 fatal beating of a mine boss in Audenreid, his body was brought to Tamaqua's Philadelphia & Reading station before he was buried in the old St. Jerome's Catholic Cemetery on High and Mahanoy streets.

    Two Tamaqua members of the AOH, James Carroll and Thomas Duffy, were two of the four men hanged in Yost's assassination, based on Kerrigan's testimony. Carroll owned and operated the Union House Tavern, 132 East Broad St., and previously, the Washington Hotel, 326 East Pine St. Both buildings are standing. Duffy is buried in the old St. Jerome's Cemetery. Prominent among the anti-Molly faction were two members of the Tamaqua Vigilante Committee, Samuel Beard, who help capture Kerrigan and the two other suspects after the Jones slaying, and merchant and coal operator Daniel Shepp, a friend of Kerrigan's who wrote down his statement when Kerrigan confessed to involvement in several murders and implicated the others. Beard and Shepp are buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, West Broad Street.
  21. Munsell's 1881 History of Schuylkill County, Pa. attributes the following to Molly violence: destruction of the East Lehigh Breaker in 1869; the 1872 burning of the Allen Machine shops, rebuilt 1873; the burning of the Greenwood Breaker in 1874 at loss of $1.5 million, and the 1874 burning of the Buckwood Breaker. The Greenwood and Buckwood breakers were two of Tamaqua's largest. The coal fields at Tamaqua were classed as the most valuable of all the possessions of the P&RC&I. They ceased to be worked in 1874 and local capital was forced to move to other industrial investments.
  22. Pottsville grew to a population of 15,710 in 1900. It boasted all lines of mechanical trades: a diversified industrial base including at least 4 iron works, a drill company, boiler shop, 4 breweries including D.G. Yuengling's 1829 Eagle Brewery, the 1888 Tilt Silk Mill, 11 churches, 4 banks, numerous schools, a business college and a suburb — Yorkville borough.
  23. Smaller coal centers, Minersville and Saint Clair in the Southern Field and Ashland in the Western Middle Field did not develop industry of significant scope.
  24. Of the smaller coal centers, Ashland in the Western Middle Field has a concentration of Late Victorian architecture along Centre Street, with turrets a distinctive feature. Early- to mid-19th century examples are found in the canal centers of southern Schuylkill County: Mount Carbon, Schuylkill Haven and Port Clinton, as well as Orwigsburg, which was founded as the first county seat. Examples here of smaller scale, generally one- and two-story.
  25. Art glass is found in significant concentration at door transoms and 1st floor window transoms through the neighborhood reflecting its mass production in the late 19th century. The United Stained Glass Workers Association was formed in 1893 as the lucrative business associated with secular architecture faded. The group produced and distributed a national catalogue of stained-glass designs, excerpted by builders catalogues and hardware and lumber yards. Patterns found in this East Ward neighborhood are seen in catalogues of the period: for example, the Flanagan & Biedenweg Company of Chicago (a simple rosebud design and a blooming heart pattern) as well as others. See Building with Assurance, the 1921 catalogue of the Morgan Woodwork Organization (Chicago: Morgan, 1921) and the 1904 Universal Design Book ( St. John, N.B.: Lawton Co., Ltd., 1904).

[] Kevlin, Mary Joan, Tamaqua Historic District, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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