Tamaqua Area History
For Tamaqua Pennsylvania
"Land Of Running Water and Beaver"
Tamaqua PA was founded in 1799 by German immigrant Burkhardt Moser. Originally to be named Tuscarora, the name Tamaqua was chosen after it was realized that there already was a community named Tuscarora about four miles (6 km) to the west. Roughly half of Moser's original log cabin is still intact and visible behind a house on the east side of Broad Street. The discovery of anthracite coal in the region in the early 1800s led to the town's rise as a coal producing community. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1832. German, Irish, and Welsh immigrants came to the borough in the 1840's and 1850's, followed by a large influx of Italians, Lithuanians, and Poles in the 1890's and early 1900's. During the 1860s and 1870s, Tamaqua was the geographic center hub for the Molly Maguires. One murder commonly attributed to the Mollies was that of town policeman Benjamin Yost, who was shot to death early one morning while extinguishing a gas lamp at the corner of West Broad and Lehigh Streets.
In 1874 the town's train station was constructed. Arguably Tamaqua's most famous landmark, it has remained standing despite standing idle from the mid 80s through the late 90s after passenger railroad service to the town was discontinued. Initially planned to be demolished in the late 1980s, the non-profit group Save Our Station (S.O.S.) eventually managed to raise enough money to have it refurbished at a cost of $1.5 million. The station reopened in August 2004, now home to a full-service restaurant and gift shop. Rail excursions leave from there during the Tamaqua Historical Society's annual Heritage Festival on the second Sunday in October.
It was Tamaqua resident Chris Fulmer who, while playing for the minor league Baltimore Orioles in 1888, invented baseball's catcher's mitt.
Tamaqua remained a thriving community throughout the heyday of coal production in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It began declining, along with many other anthracite communities, in the 1950s as coal mines began tapering off. Hurricane Diane caused tremendous damage to Tamaqua's railroad yards to the extent that they never fully recovered. In 1971 the borough annexed neighboring Rahn Township and its Owl Creek section, home to the world's first fish hatchery.
In the 1940s John E. Morgan invented Thermal Underwear in Tamaqua. Since his death in 2000, the Morgan Trust has donated money to various worthwhile causes in Tamaqua. The Morgan Trust also donates to hospitals because his wife had cancer and he always hoped a cure would be found.
In the fiction of John O'Hara, a product of nearby Pottsville, Tamaqua appears as "Taqua."
The borough of Tamaqua passed an unprecedented law giving ecosystems legal rights. The ordinance establishes that the municipal government or any Tamaqua resident can file a lawsuit on behalf of the local ecosystem. Other townships, such as Rush, followed suit and passed their own laws.
^ ""Incorporation Dates of Boroughs of Schuylkill County, Pa"" (in English). Retrieved on 2008-03-14.
^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau (2005-05-03). Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.