Today, Donald Trump spoke in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and promised to restore the jobs of coal miners.
I grew up in Scranton, and he might just as well have promised to restore the jobs of telegraph operators or those in typewriter factories.
The population of Scranton peaked at more than 140,000 in 1930. By 1960, the population had decreased to just over 110,000, and today it is between 75,000 and 80,000. The population decline mirrored the decline of the coal industry, though the production of coal ultimately fell more dramatically than the population.
Scranton remains the largest city in what is known as Pennsylvania’s “Coal Region.” Four substantial deposits of anthracite coal extend throughout a spur of the Appalachians in east central and northeastern Pennsylvania.
From the late nineteenth century through World War II, anthracite coal became the primary heating fuel for homes in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas…
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