Follow the Footsteps of the Molly Maguires
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 11 - As the nation prepares to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Pennsylvania invites visitors to explore the rich history and colorful lives of the Irish immigrants who settled in the state.
In addition to the dozens of authentic Irish pubs and festivals now found across the state, Pennsylvania was home to the Molly Maguires - a secret society that operated in the 1800s.
“The heritage of Irish miners and the Molly Maguires can be traced like an anthracite seam through the Northeast Pennsylvania Mountains,” said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary of tourism in the Department of Community and Economic Development. “The story of the Molly Maguires is tangible today in places like the jail where a handprint of a condemned man remains more than 100 years later and the local pub owned by the great-grandson of a Molly leader.”
The Molly Maguire Auto Tour through Carbon and Schuylkill counties allows visitors to explore 24 sites where the organized labor movement began and relive the events that lead to the deaths of more than a dozen men in Schuylkill County’s coal country. The tour consists of four cassette tapes and a 24-page guide. http://www.delawareandlehigh.org
Girardville, which was home to many of the infamous Molly Maguires, is located along PA Route 54 near Frackville. Girardville’s historic Hibernian House in the Wayne Hotel features the door to the prison cell that confined some of the Mollies during the trial that eventually resulted in the public hanging of 10 members of the radical group. The Wayne Hotel was owned by “The King of the Mollies” John “Black Jack” Kehoe whose descendants still operate the hotel and pub today. http://www.upperschuylkill.com
Used as the Carbon County jail until 1995, the Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe was the site of the hanging of seven accused Molly Maguires on June 21, 1877. The museum contains the mysterious handprint-on-the-wall of a doomed Molly proclaiming his innocence, as well as dungeons and gallows. http://www.theoldjailmuseum.com
Eckley Miners’ Village was an original anthracite mining town that is now a museum devoted to the everyday lives of the anthracite miners and their families. Located nine miles east of Hazleton, visitors can experience coal patch life where “The Molly Maguires” movie starring Sean Connery was filmed. http://www.eckleyminers.org
Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton’s McDade Park tells the story of the people who came from Ireland among other European nations to work in the anthracite mining and textiles industries. http://anthracitemuseum.org/
A trip through Pioneer Tunnel in Ashland, which is two miles south of the former town of Centralia in Schuylkill County, includes an 1,800-foot ride down into Mahanoy Mountain on a mine motor to see glistening seams of coal firsthand. A guide explains the techniques used by early miners and about the environment in which they worked. http://www.pioneertunnel.com
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of travelers by presenting them with the information they need to explore the commonwealth. For more information about Pennsylvania’s tourism industry, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA.
CONTACT: Michael Chapaloney
Source: Pennsylvania Tourism Office
CONTACT: Michael Chapaloney of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office,
Web Site: http://visitpa.com/