The Shamokin, Pennsylvania Glen Burn Colliery
The Glen Burn mine, also known as the Cameron Colliery, was an anthracite (hard) coal mine located in Shamokin Pennsylvania. Most or all of the buildings have been torn down and although the mine shafts still exist, they are no longer accessible from their main entrances. I believe the Glen Burn was either the largest or second largest deep coal mine in the U.S., having had several "drifts", or tunnels, of which we explored two (only one is pictured here). Though i don't recall for sure, i believe this would have been the the West Drift, the entrance of which was gated and located right next to route 61 just north of the Cameron bridge.
We ventured primarily along the main haulage level -- the level from which all other levels propagate -- during our exploration. Main haulage runs from Shamokin to Trevorton, a distance of about 6 miles, and is nearly perfectly level and very easily traveled (i know of a couple people who drove 4-wheelers through it). We penetrated probably about a mile and a half of that distance, the majority which was very stable since it was carved through solid rock. Only when we veered off of this level into some of the smaller side passages did we experience some unstable areas.
The stories conflict even among those that worked here as to how many levels there are, but there are several levels below main haulage on the Shamokin side and several above on the Trevorton side. The lower levels are flooded almost up to the main haulage level. It is difficult to describe the very eerie feeling i had being underground and looking into the utter blackness of the water which consumed the lower levels.
If the story is true, a rather large dinosaur fossil was found in the lower levels and Penn State University was involved in the study and preservation of it. I was also told by someone who worked at the Glen Burn in the latter years that there are rooms which were kept hidden from the mining inspectors, one of which was described as being so large you could turn a tractor-trailer around in it without backing up.
We entered the mine several times in 1997 from the west side of the colliery where there was a passage which ran under routes 61 and 125, the latter of which is the road from Shamokin to Trevorton. During our last trip, which was probably in 97 or 98, the tunnel under the roadway had collapsed. At the time there appeared to be a possible, though very small opening through the debris, however entering it would have been extremely dangerous. There are likely many other entrances to the Glen Burn mine, though i cannot provide any details as we did not explorer them.
The Buck Slope Coal Mine
Another deep anthracite coal mine not far from the Glen Burn is Buck Slope, located near Upper Excelsior, Pennsylvania. Apparently, like many small coal towns of the day, Excelsior used to be a rather hopping place, complete with a movie theater and hookers, one of which apparently used to walk along the road to attract clients. Today Upper Excelsior is virtually abandoned.
The Buck Slope mine is one of the more unstable mines i had the 'pleasure' to explore and i highly doubt it would still be accessible today. It had some interesting features however which i didn't expect to find in a coal mine, such as near white rock in one area (first image). It also had a stream running in it which was navigable with an inflatable boat apparently (don't ask), though i don't believe i personally ever went down deep enough to see it.
Saint Nicholas Coal Breaker, Mahanoy City, Pa
The Saint Nickolas coal breaker, known simply as the St. Nick, was used for processing anthracite coal which was mined nearby. It was an outstanding place to explore and quite popular among urban explorers until recently. The St. Nick has either been completely or partially demolished, or may be in the process thereof.