Blue Coal's Huber Breaker was a landmark located in the borough of Ashley, Hanover Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA. The breaker was built in 1939 to replace the Maxwell Breaker which was located at the colliery. Run-of-mine coal arriving at the breaker was washed and cleaned to remove impurities, principally slate. It was crushed and screened to specific sizes desired by customers. Considered an ultra-modern plant when constructed, it used Menzies Cones to separate coal from waste. The breaker was operated by the Blue Coal Corporation, a subsidiary of the Glen Alden Coal Company. It processed 7,000 tons of Anthracite coal per day. The final product was sprayed with a blue dye and sold as “Blue Coal.” Railcars were loaded underneath the breaker and shipped to markets. The long decline of the anthracite industry after World War II caused Blue Coal to declare bankruptcy and cease operations in 1976.
Fate of the Huber Breaker
The Huber Breaker Preservation Society lost its bid to purchase the breaker and 8 acres of land for $25,000 in a final attempt to save the landmark. A Philadelphia salvage dealer named Paselo Logistics LLC. bid $1.28 million for the breaker and 26.58 acres of land in August 2013 and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale. The demolition of the breaker started January 24, 2014. In September 2005, Scranton based Kanton Realty estimated the 900 tons of steel in the breaker had a scrap value of $85,000.
Demolition started on the breaker's outbuildings in the week of January 24, 2014. According to the new owner's attorney, Jonathan Comitz, the main breaker building will not be demolished until spring 2014.
The Huber Breaker's main building was demolished on April 24, 2014. The last structure of the colliery, the powerhouse, was demolished in August 2014. The issue of whether asbestos was properly handled during demolition is still generating controversy among Ashley residents, Ashley Borough, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
- Back in The Day, The Huber Breaker on WVIA.
- Beyond The Breaker, a documentary film about the Huber Breaker and Pennsylvania mining legacy
- On the Pennsylvania Road segment by Mike Stevens about the demolition of the Huber Breaker
- Short YouTube clip of demolition of a conveyer
- Short YouTube clip of Huber Breaker Demolition Retail Pocket Building
- An organization dedicated to the preservation of the Huber Breaker
- Some background and pictures of the breaker
- Golias, Paul. "Preservation society continunes mission after losing Huber Breaker". Citizens' Voice. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Seder, Andrew. "New jobs coming to old coal site". Times Leader. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Lynott, Jerry. "Huber Breaker destined for scrap heap?". Times Leader. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- Skrapits, Elizabeth. "DEP halts Huber Breaker demolition". The Citizens' Voice. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
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