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Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company

This article is about the current company ('New Company'). For the historic company also called 'The Old Company', see Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company.

The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (LCAN) is an anthracite coal mining company headquartered in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania,[1] U.S.A., with operations in the Panther Creek Valley along U.S. Route 209 in the areas of Tamaqua, Coaldale, and Lansford. The closely held company was incorporated in 1988,[2] taking the name of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, a prominent coal mining and shipping company first established in 1820 with the merger of "The Lehigh Coal Mining Company" and the "Lehigh Navigation Company", both of which operated in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania beginning in 1818, and once owned and opened up the whole area in which the LCAN now operates.[3]

The earlier company, called "the Old Company"[4] had owned and operated an extensive system of coal mines in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties, two canals, the Lehigh Canal and the Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, the historic Mauch Chunk & Summit Hill Railway (MC&SH), the funicular railway called the Ashley Planes, and a railroad system, the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad (LH&S) into which they later merged the MC&SC gravity railroad and the Ashley Planes, which they connected to the Pennsylvania Canal docks at West Pittston, Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River and the Duryea yard before extending the LH&S through the Lehigh River Gorge past Mauch Chunk and Allentown to Easton, Pennsylvania. In the 1870s, the LH&S was leased to the Central Railroad of New Jersey), which extended the route into a Buffalo-NYC prestige line.[5][6] It also built the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway to move coal.

The original company was founded by Josiah White (1780-1850) and Erskine Hazard (1790-1865).[7]

Like other Pennsylvania mining companies, Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company has been criticized for polluting the environment,[8] and received several legal notices and fines. The current company was founded by James J. Curran,[9] a Schuylkill County attorney.

In 2004, the company was forced into bankruptcy by some of its creditors, and some of its land was at risk of being sold for back taxes.[10] In 2006, the company's operations were suspended unless Curran stepped aside and kept out of actual operation — for a management team satisfactory to mining and EPA authorities, citing a violation of a consent decree from previous complaints, so a new management team took over.[11]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau website:
  3. ^!140147!0&term=#focus
  4. ^ Terminology used by various museum tour guides, esp. the No. 9 Mine and Museum in Coaldale.
  5. ^ National Canal Museum – The Lehigh Navigation System. Accessed 2008-09-18.
  6. ^ Lehigh & Susquehanna - NE Rails Accessed 2008-09-18.
  7. ^ National Canal Museum – The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company Accessed 2008-09-18.
  8. ^ Mailer, Tom (October 2, 2000). "Miners: anthracite coal bosses destroy the environment". The Militant. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau website
  10. ^ Parker, Chris (Nov 17, 2004). "U.S. agriculture department pays Pottsville, Pa., coal firm's back taxes.". The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa. via Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  11. ^ Parker, Chris (April 29, 2006). "Lehigh Coal mining restarts under new management.". Morning Call (Allentown, PA). Retrieved 2008-09-19. 

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