Pennsylvania and the Coal Mines

If you are from Pennsylvania, you probably have family members who were or are coal miners and depending on the area, may have once relied on the mines. If you aren’t from Pennsylvania, you’ve probably figured out that this state, at one point in time, had a lot of coal mines and produced a fair amount of coal.


Some mining companies even made small towns for their workers to live in. Ernest, which is only four miles out of Indiana, was a town like this which was founded in 1904. The workers and their families lived there and by 1916, Ernest was a thriving mining community with a school, two churches, a barbershop, and a large company store. Now, no one who lives in Ernest remembers what it was like before the mines were around.



Mining was once one of the most dangerous jobs that a man or child could have. Yes, children used to work in the mines before child labor laws. Small spaces that grown men couldn’t fit into but needed worked in, they would send children. These children were normally children of other miners who were too poor to afford not to send their children in. Many lives were lost in the mines because there were few, if any, laws in place to keep the miners safe.


Now there are many, many different laws. Each and every law that is connected to the coal mines has a reason behind it. Whether someone died, got injured, or something happened that endangered the workers, there is a law that was put into place to prevent this from happening. My great-grandfather Termin lost his arm in the coal mines after a spark ignited some dynamite by his arm. During the time that my grandfather worked in the mines (1888-1955, age 8-75) there were not many laws that kept him safe, not for the majority of when he worked anyway.



My family in previous generations were very active members in the coal mining industry. Both of my grandfather’s and my father all worked in the mines, though my father was only a miner for six short months before it closed for good. Now many other people are no longer able to work in the mines, as most of the mines in Pennsylvania are shutting down. The mines have a fascinating history, if you want to learn more come to the library and visit the archives section! We have a trove of information on the coal industry in Indiana county.

IUP: A History


Almost everyone who has gone on a tour at IUP knows that when we first started out, we were known as the Indiana Normal School. Above is a picture of the Normal School, which we know as Sutton Hall. To the right is a current map of the school grounds. A lot has changed over the years, as you can tell just from these two photos. The timeline below shows some highlights of IUP’s long history (click the image for a larger version).




We’ve also gone through a few mascot changes throughout the years. For the longest time we were known as the “Indians” of Indiana. This lasted all the way up until 1991! This was in reference to the names of both the town and the school. Our mascot was either called “Chief” or “Squaw” depending on which student played the part. In 1991 the mascot was changed due to movements to eliminate Native American related mascots, mainly because they were and still are seen as offensive to the culture.

Our new mascot from 1991-2006 was the American Black Bear. Despite the efforts to eliminate the Native American as our mascot, our new mascot was named Cherokee in honor of the current fight song and despite having the black bear as our mascot, we were still commonly known as the “Indians.”

IUP Fight Song – Cherokee performed by the 1999 IUP Marching Band



In 2006 we officially became known as the Crimson Hawks, and 2007 saw the revealing of our mascot Norm – an ode to the Indiana Normal School – whom we all know and love. Norm is a nod to where we started.

iup-crimson-hawks make-your-mark-at-iup


Some statistics that you may find interesting:



Our students come from 41 different states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Palau, and 56 different countries.




Noteworthy People

Jane Leonard (December 27, 1840 – April 5, 1924) worked on campus for 46 years (1875-1921). Jane Leonard stood as a symbol of strength through the starting of our history. Leonard Hall was named in her honor.


Patricia Hilliard Robertson (March 12, 1963 – May 24, 2001) was IUP’s very own astronaut! A native of Homer City, Pennsylvania right down the road from Indiana, Robertson went to IUP for her bachelors in biology before going on to the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately she passed away in 2001 due to her injuries which she got from a plane crash.


Elinor Gordon Blair (June 29, 1913 – April 17, 2015) grew up on campus during the time of the Indiana Normal School and was known by most faculty and students. She was even in the 1916 yearbook. She wrote a memoir about her experience living on the campus.

Awards Received

2013- National recognition for community service with the “Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll”

2014- made one of the “top 100 public universities in the U.S.” according to U.S. News and World Report

If you want to know more, come see everything for yourself in the library archives! This is just a very tiny amount of all of the amazing information offered in our archives!