Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Anna Hauer

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Anna Hauer was born in Shamokin, not Coal Township, a very important distinction to those living in the area. As she asserts in her interview, Anna considers herself to be a “coal cracker.” According to the definition, a coal cracker is “a native or established resident of the traditional coal-mining area of northeastern Pennsylvania.”

In her oral history, Anna describes first meeting her husband and the significance that music has had throughout her life.

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Father Costello

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Father Costello is from Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania and explains how his Irish American father was born in the nearby patch town of Ellen Gowan. A patch is a small town where the workers of the local mine would reside. Because of his Irish background, in his interview, Costello focuses largely on the Irish coal miners’ plight.

Growing up, Costello was a member of his mother’s German parish but when he went to seminary, he became a part of his father’s Irish parish. The church provided Costello with an excellent education and the town with a sense of community.

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Leona Janaskie


Leona Janaskie and her sons describe what life was like growing up and living in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. The family also shares stories Leona’s husband’s various adventures while working in the mines. Leona goes on to speak of her husband’s intelligence and skills as a carpenter after he left the mining industry. 

From mine disasters to using animals to help with the labor, the Janaskies capture an experience unique to this area of Pennsylvania. 

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Rosemary and Leon Krusinki


Rosemary and Leon Krusinki grew up and fell in love in the coal region. Rosemary describes events in her childhood and being raised by her Lithuanian father. A particularly memorable moment for her was when the local pastor asked young Rosemary and her sister to sing “Silent Night” in Lituanian at Christmas Eve mass. Leon recalls growing up on a dairy farm and the abundant food provided by his family. 

In their interview, the Krusinkis explain their devotion to the church and the later combination of the five parishes into one.

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Tony Varano

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Tony Varano grew up “loafing” in his father’s bar room in Shamokin, Pennsylvania’s Fifth Ward. Throughout his interview, Tony reminisces about his happy childhood and how the bustling town was referred to as “Little New York City.” This nickname was earned by the population growth brought on by Shamokin’s booming mining industry and the success of the local shirt factories. Varano describes the impact the loss of these industries have had on Shamokin.

In his oral history, Tony explains the impact of the parish on his community and how it takes care of the people.

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