Fake Gallows Finds A Home In Fake Coal Town

In October 2004 an oak gallows was built in the yard of Schuylkill Prison, and was used in the documentary "The Blue-Eyed Six" about a family of 19th century robber-murderers. The inmates, naturally, were not happy about having gallows in their exercise yard, and the prison searched for someone to take it. That someone turned out to be the Eckley State Miners Village Museum in Freeland, Pennsylvania.

Eckley is a "living history town," with actors portraying 19th century coal miners. The town's "museum educator" wrote to the Schuylkill Prison warden that, ''We would have a number of uses for a gallows here at Eckley. Our village is used quite often for historically based movies, documentaries, television programs, etc. Having the gallows would be an added incentive to someone wanting to film here.''

Eckley was completely rebuilt for the 1970 film "The Molly Maguires," starring Sean Connery. In 1877, ten of the Molly Maguires were hanged -- though that was over in Mauch Chunk, now known as Jim Thorpe. Three more were hanged in 1878 and 1879. Sounds like Jim Thorpe is the Pennsylvania town that really needs a tourist gallows.

No timetable has been set for the gallows' relocation to Eckley, although it's hoped that it will be in place for the summer tourist season.


Eckley Miner's Village and Coal Museum

Hwy 2051, Freeland, PA
Eckley Miner's Village and Coal Museum. South of Freeland on Hwy 2051.
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