Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania
A Northumberland County Treasure
Owing to the rich deposits of anthracite coal under and surrounding Mount Carmel, coal mining began in the late 1840s and continues on a smaller scale to this day. In 1891, nine coal mining operations were located in the vicinity. Three railroads, the Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley and the Reading, passed through the community linking it to the great urban centers of the East and the West. Coal was shipped in both directions as the nation became dependent on coal for both industrial and domestic uses until the boom ended in the early 1950s.
Mount Carmel and the region were part of the development of the incandescent three-wire electrical system as Thomas Edison maintained one of his facilities in Mount Carmel and conducted experiments in the region. Mount Carmel was one of the first communities to be electrified and has one of the first buildings and home in the world to be lighted by electricity.
Today, Mount Carmel, Northumberland County and the surrounding region is reinventing itself as a green and renewable energy business and industry cluster incorporating wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other technologies and a developing business incubator.
The borough of Mount Carmel was not incorporated until 1862, however, its beginnings may be traced to earlier times. The area that comprises the borough limits was traversed by the Centre Turnpike, which opened in 1808 and connected Reading with Sunbury. An inn was opened in 1812 and was given the Biblical name of Mount Carmel, which became the name of the township in 1854 and of the borough in 1862. The area inspired settlement due to an abundance of natural flowing springs, which still may be found today on the mountains south of the community, and by the discovery of coal in the 1840s. In 1847, a group of land speculators, whose primary interest was the coal trade, purchased the tract of land now comprising Mount Carmel. Not surprisingly, there were many judges and political figures from Mount Carmel who served in both Northumberland and Schuylkill Counties. This group organized a land company and within a few years had the tract surveyed and a town plot laid out. They soon began selling lots and the town, as it is today, based on the plot developed by this group in 1853.
Mount Carmel Downtown Inc. also known as MCDI, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting community life in Mount Carmel Borough, assisting the business community and promoting new business ventures. Find out more about Mount Carmel by visiting their website or calling 570-556-9851.
Things to See and Do
- Take the self-guided Historic District Walking Tour through the community to small town America coal region style.
- Visit the many Mount Carmel churches which represent a wide array of ethnic backgrounds. In fact, Mount Carmel is known as a "City of Churches." During the summer months you might even catch one of the many picnics and festivals at the churches along Oak Street or at one of the parks.
- Mount Carmel is within close proximity to Weiser State Forest and Knoebels Amusement Resort.
- Visit one of the many parks and recreational facilities and even attend a baseball, soccer, basketball or wrestling match, on any level from Pre-K through high school. The area hosts a number of tournaments for the region. Friday night is known as "Football Night" in Mount Carmel. See the parade through town as it travels to the Silver Bowl to commence the game.
- Buy fresh produce, baked goods and plants at the Mount Carmel Farmers Market every Saturday morning from June through November.
- Relax and enjoy fine ethnic cuisine at one of several restaurants including Mattucci's Willow Café. The restaurant is the oldest family operated business in Mount Carmel. Also, visit Catino's, Lazarski's or many of the other shops and restaurants to sample a wide array of homemade ethnic foods including soupies, kielbasa, babka, pierogies, paska breads, and many other Old World dishes and baked goods.
- Download "Every Town a Treasure: Mt. Carmel" Brochure