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Grace Mine records


Held at: Tri-County Heritage Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 352, Morgantown, PA, 19543

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Tri-County Heritage Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Grace Mine was an iron ore mine located in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, part of Caernarvon Township in Berks County. The mine was owned by Bethlehem Steel, which for a time was the United States' second-largest steel producer. Bethlehem Steel's longtime chairman and CEO, Eugene Grace, firmly believed that Pennsylvania had several undiscovered iron ore deposits, and surveys done in the late 1940s showed a deep deposit of iron ore in Morgantown. Bethlehem Steel purchased more than 5,000 acres in this area and began constructing the surface plant in 1951. The mine was named Grace Mine after Eugene Grace and began operating in 1958.

The surface plant included offices, a crushing and screening building, and a mill for producing the marble-sized iron ore pellets, which were loaded onto hoppers and hauled by rail to Bethlehem Steel plants for smelting into pig iron. The mine provided over 1,000 jobs in Berks County and in its later years employed women alongside the men. The company kept abreast of potential environmental issues, maintaining four sites in the area to measure sulfur emissions from the plant.

By 1977, due to economic reasons, Grace Mine was no longer able to extract the ore at a profit and ceased operations. In 1987, Chester County developer Raymond Carr purchased the Bethlehem Steel property and established the borough of New Morgan. Carr built the Conestoga Landfill in New Morgan, but little else. Sometime after 2004 Morgantown Properties acquired rights to build in the area and in 2007 groundbreaking on a large housing development project took place on the site. The housing project, called Bryn Eyre, was to entail building an entire town, including homes, commercial spaces, schools, and public areas on the site over a period of twenty years, but it was eventually abandoned due to the 2008 economic recession.


Hinz, Christopher. "Grace Mine: Working Up to 3,000 Feet Underground." Reading Eagle (Reading, PA), August 5, 2007. Accessed August 26, 2016.

Scheid, Lisa. "The Unbuilt: What Became of Bryn Eyre in New Morgan?" Reading Eagle (Reading, PA), February 28, 2016. Accessed August 26, 2016.

Grace Mine records, 1935-1978, include property files, time-keeping ledgers, drilling maps, a weather diary, and other materials. There are also monthly reports from Grace Mine's parent company, Bethlehem Steel.

The property files, circa 1935-1969, include materials relating to properties purchased for Grace Mine, in the Morgantown/Caernarvon Township area of Berks County, PA. The property files are indexed by a number assigned to the owner's name and a map number. Documents in the files consist of various records relating to each property including original indentures and photocopies of indentures, photocopies of property maps, photographs, and blueprints. There are some loose photographs of properties in the files.

There are six ledgers, 1959-1968, from Grace Mine that contain records of time worked and payroll information for the mine's Caernarvon Township properties. The time ledgers were kept by William Peck, a foreman for the work crew at Grace Mines. Also available in the collection is a weather diary with notes about the daily weather for the year of 1960. Other materials in the collection include a folder of newspaper clippings relating to the closing of various Bethlehem Steel mines, circa 1970s, and a few tunnel drilling maps from Grace Mine, 1975-1976.

The Bethlehem Steel monthly reports are in a set of three volumes: July-December 1961, January-June 1966, and January-June 1969. Intermixed with the reports are photographs.

Tri-County Heritage Society also has charcoal samples from Grace Mine that were not included as part of this survey.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Tri-County Heritage Society directly for more information.

Tri-County Heritage Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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