Vacant New Jersey

Saint Nicholas Coal Breaker

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned Pennsylvania Industrial 55 Photos

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Rolling hills of black gold stretch far as the eye can see. The monochrome countryside painted grey and brown casts a post-apocalyptic aura about the landscape, further heightened by the leafless trees born of the winter freeze. Giant wind turbines guarding the horizon perpetually spin as casual breezes quickly gain momentum across barren coal fields. A fine layer of soot hangs in the air, dusting near everything with a powdery black patina reminiscent of the filth covering relics in an antique store. Lonesome roads cutting through the blackened hillsides play an optical illusion on the mind as the yellow lined pavement seems to converge miles ahead at a never arriving vanishing point. Rusty steel ruins remaining from a once bustling mining industry entertain my eyes as the otherwise monotonous landscape plays by the car windows on an infinite loop.

Taking a turn up a seemingly insignificant country road a hulking steel fortress of corroded siding and smashed windows appeared alongside a pasture of dead brush and weeds. The massive ruin assumed the posture of a long extinct herbivorous dinosaur fossil, erected as if to depict a grazing stance. But I was in no museum and there exist no velvet ropes to keep me at distance from the inspiring rusted wreckage of mining history which decay before me.

The morning sun still young in its celestial travel across the sky cast rays too low to yet pierce the numerous broken windows adorning the east side of the monstrous breaker. The interior of the industrial beast was nearly as dark as the anthracite coal it consumed. We decided to start our journey on the uppermost floors of the breaker, following a network of rickety ladders and catwalks up the core of the structure. All the while the sun began its afternoon ascent, casting beams of light which illuminated the breaker's shadowy interior. A thick layer of arid powder covered the ground, the minuscule grains forming the soil created the perfect cast of the bottom of my shoes as I walked over. This sparked images in my mind of traversing the moon, leaving in tow only footprints.

The fine power easily kicked up into the air, glistened as it passed through spills of light. Breathing through my nose I could feel the airborne grime accumulate to the mucus lining my nostrils. Feeling the urge to purge my nose I grabbed for a tissue stowed away inside my backpack, as no sooner did I obliterate the white fibers of the napkin in a sticky slime of black tainted boogers, which seemed to cling to my upper lip in a stringy mess of snot as I pulled the tissue away. Over the course of the day I left a trail of crumpled white Kleenex behind; a reminder to just how dirty the mining industry truly is.