Children on a dirt road in Lattimer, PA, fall, 1897.
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Houses along a street in Lattimer

Credit: Courtesy of the Pennsylvania State Archives

In the late 1800s, growing numbers of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe arrived to work in the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania. Looked upon with contempt by both the coal operators and residents whose families came from Great Britain and Ireland, Slavic and Italian miners worked for low wages in the most hazardous mines, and lived with their families in often deplorable conditions in coal patch towns controlled by the local mine companies.

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