Coaldale, Pa.—Two Different Towns, Two Issuing Banks

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Co-author Adam Stroup has unearthed a fascinating case of twin towns sharing the same name, each boasting its own issuing bank, this time spotlighting Coaldale, Pennsylvania.

This intriguing discovery adds to a growing tally of four such instances nationwide, all concentrated within the boundaries of Pennsylvania.

Coaldale, Schuylkill County, situated in the eastern third of Pennsylvania, west of Allentown, and Coaldale, Bedford County, nestled along the state’s western border with Maryland, both laid claim to issuing banks.

Officially established as boroughs under Pennsylvania law, these Coaldales have distinct histories and landscapes.

The Schuylkill Coaldale, founded in 1827 and incorporated in 1906, stands as a testament to Pennsylvania’s coal mining heritage.

Home to The First National Bank of Coaldale, chartered on April 26, 1910, this bustling borough played a pivotal role in the state’s coal mining industry.

The Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, a dominant force in the region, oversaw multiple mines in Coaldale, fueling the growth of the coal industry.

Notably, Schuylkill Coaldale attracted the attention of reformer Mother Mary Jones, who championed the cause of coal miners, advocating for improved working conditions and fair wages.

In contrast, Bedford Coaldale, a mere speck on the map with a population of 128, boasted The Broad Top National Bank of Coaldale, chartered on June 7, 1918.

Despite its modest size, Bedford Coaldale played a significant role in Pennsylvania’s banking landscape.

Of particular interest is The Broad Top National Bank’s connection to the town of Six Mile Run, reflected in the post office name.

While the official post office designation predates that of Schuylkill Coaldale, the absence of Six Mile Run on the Series of 1902 notes issued by the bank hints at a curious discrepancy.

Adding another layer to its history, The Broad Top National Bank underwent a transformation when entrepreneur P.N. Risser assumed leadership, eventually relocating the bank to Bedford and renaming it Farmers National Bank of Bedford.

This move marked a significant chapter in the bank’s evolution, culminating in the expansion of its services and influence.

Despite their shared name, the two Coaldales have distinct geological features.

Schuylkill Coaldale lies within the southern anthracite coal district, while Bedford Coaldale is situated within the Broad Top Field, known for its vast bituminous coal deposits.

The presence of twin towns with the same name, each hosting a bank issuing notes, presents a unique challenge for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Assembling a collection of notes from these banks promises to be a rewarding endeavor, albeit one fraught with complexity and intrigue.

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