The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, the great rival to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, was built a few years before the completion of the D&H and carried a significant amount of anthracite coal to the tide-waters of the Hudson and Delaware Rivers.
The Lehigh was a prominent coal mining and shipping company first established in 1820 with the merger of the Lehigh Coal Mining Company and the Lehigh Navigation Company, both of which operated in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania beginning in 1818. The Company-owned and operated an extensive system of coal mines in Pennsylvania’s Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, two canals, and several railroads and railways.
The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company is credited with helping to shape the course of the American industrial revolution in Pennsylvania, as it contributed to innovation in transportation, manufacturing, and use of natural resources.
The story of the Lehigh encompasses geology, geography, and human genius. The geology was the massive field of anthracite coal hidden under the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. The geography includes those mountains and the Lehigh River that carved a path through the mountains and created a fertile valley to the south. The genius was in build a simple transportation network to carry the coal to market.
A history talk on the Lehigh will be given by Martha Capwell Fox on Wednesday, August 14th, at 7 pm at the D&H Canal Park Visitor’s Center at 58 Hoag Road (just off Route 209) in the hamlet of Cuddebackville, Deer Park, Orange County, NY. It’s a benefit for The Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation and lite refreshments will be served. A donation of $5 for Members and $7 for Non-Members is suggested.
For more information about the museum, call (854) 754-8870, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration of the Lehigh Coal Co.’s open-pit Summit Hill mine on Mauch Chunk Mountain. Pick-wielding laborers dug out coal with comparative ease, since the anthracite seams were close to the surface, courtesy Archer/Richard Richardson, Memoir of Josiah White.