Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
May 28, 2010
Some towns call attention to themselves with statues of cartoon cats. Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, is celebrating its heritage by unveiling a bronze statue of a doomed man about to be hanged.
Mahanoy City is part of the Anthracite Belt, a hardscrabble region of coal mines. The mining companies of the 19th century were extraordinarily bad employers, so a group of Irish miners supposedly formed a secret society of “terrorists,” the Molly Maguires, to redress their grievances vigilante-style. This ended abruptly for the accused Molly Maguires. The “Day of the Rope,” saw ten of them hanged — an event alluded to elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
The Mahanoy City statue depicts a hooded man with his hands and feet bound. He stands on a block of coal (actually black granite). Behind him, on a wall, a gallows frame is outlined over his head with colored stones. There’s no noose, but it’s pretty clear what’s about to happen, although Mahanoy City hopes to add a statue of a grieving woman at some later date.
According to an article in the Pottsville Republican Herald, the sculptor gained inspiration for the statue by wearing a hood similar to the doomed man.
The statue is well positioned for an irreverent photo op with reusable cloth shopping bags.
The Mahanoy City statue is only the latest of several attractions that suggest that Irishmen have had a wee bit o’ hard luck in Pennsylvania.
Statue of Hooded Man on Gallows
Molly Maguire Historic Park
- W. Centre St., Mahanoy City, PA
- The statue is the centerpiece of the small Molly Maguire Historic Park. I-81 exit 131B. Drive west on Hwy 54/Vulcan Hill Rd for 2.5 miles. Vulcan Hill Rd becomes Centre St. in town. The statue will be on the left, three blocks past Main St., on the southeast corner of W. Centre and Catawissa Sts.
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