The Concrete City
The Concrete City was built by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Coal Company back in 1911. It was left abandoned by the same company in 1924. There were 22 2-story homes that faced a courtyard with complete with a wading pool, tennis courts, playground, baseball field and a small pavillion. It is believed to be the first example of modern tract housing. Located in Hanover Township, Luzerne County, about 300 yards east of Middle Road between Lower Askam and the Hanover section of Nanticoke (there is a historical marker there on the side of the road). About 9 miles north of Glen Lyon. Concrete City opened in 1913 as housing for key employees and mine supervisors of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company, Coal division who worked at the Truesdale Colliery. Each home had seven rooms and rent was $8.00/ month with concrete outhouses built behind each house. They were painted white with dark green trim. The main disadvantage of the concrete city was the dampness caused by moisture rising through the pourous concrete. Everything, including the roof is made of concrete. Each tenant was required to have a garden hose to wash the culm from the walls. Every two years, the coal company made all the necessary repairs and painted the entire town, inside and outside, papering any rooms as requested by the tenants. Only working coal miners were allowed to rent.
The Glen Alden Company took possession of the property and did not want to spend $ 200,000.00 installing a sewer system required by the township. Demolition began in Dec. 1924. Glen Alden abandoned the complex, in place, because 100 sticks of dynamite had little impact on one of the buildings. Since then, the "city" has been used by the military, police, and fire departments for training. You can see large caliber hits on some of the walls. It was declared a historical site in 1988.
Concrete City school, located close to Concrete City, was a two story red brick building built in 1913 and was also known as the Betsy Ross School and as the Lower Askam School. It housed 300 students. It was razed about 1979.
The first photo is one of those "Then and Now" pictures. It is probably
the only photo of the place while it was still in use.
The photo on the right shows what happens when the locals get bored. Yes, those are the results of many, many bullets.
The photo on the left is a close up of the front entrance, with my buddy
"One-Eye" Joe heading in. On the right, one
of the heavy buildings is slowing sinking into the ground. You can easily climb into the second floor on this one.
Inside, they all look alike. These were pre-fabracated levels, with 1
stacked up on another. This shot was actually
taken on the second floor. The steps in the corner...go to a wall. The shot on the right is the damage result of the military
trying to take it out during a training mission. I can almost hear the buildings saying "Is that all you got?"
Here we see my second attempt to get a panoramic shot. This was
actually three photos stitched together.
It's no too bad, since it does give you some sense of just how big this place was.
In that courtyard you see, there was where the wading pool, tennis courts,
playground, baseball field and small pavillion use to be. There is only evidence of the wading pool still
left behind, and you need to really look to find that.
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