Byrnesville is location in
Conyngham Township, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, just
south of the town of Centralia Pennsylvania approximately
midway between Ashland and Centralia. The
population of Byrnesville was about 75 in 1985 with
approximately 29 families.
village of Byrnesville no longer exists. Byrnesville was
founding in 1856 and was completely dismantled by 1996.
Byrnesville was a small
village located in Central Pennsylvania. It was divided
into two parts, Upper and Lower Byrnesville. The first
homes were built in Lower Byrnesville around 1856 and in
Upper Byrnesville around 1865.
The homes were built to
house employees of a nearby coal company. Byrnesville was
located in the Anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania and
coal mining and processing was its main industry. The
population over the years varied as the coal mines had
good and bad times. The majority of the people who first
settled there were mostly Irish immigrants. Through the
years the village was inhabited mostly by Irish Catholics.
They attended St. Ignatius Church in nearby Centralia. An
elementary school was located in early Byrnesville but was
discontinued in the early 1930s. After that the children
attended Conyngham Township schools and St. Ignatius
Catholic school in Centralia.
||Looking south into
what was Byrnesville.
Byrnesville was named after
the Byrnes family who were the first settlers. Small
grocery stores were operated by the Reilley, Byrnes and
Gaughan families. A barroom was owned by another Gaughan
family. Most of the shopping was done at nearby larger
towns of Mount Carmel and Ashland.
Byrnesville was part of and
was governed by Conyngham township and Columbia County.
After World War 2 ended, the coal mining industry started
to decline and many of the younger people moved to other
areas to find work.
the 1960s a fire ignited a coal seam near Centralia and it
continued to burn underground and spread to adjoining
areas. A federal government project relocated families out
of Byrnesville in the 1980s because of the smoke and fumes
from the underground mine fire. The population of
Byrnesville just before the exodus from the fire was
approximately 75 people living in 29 homes. The last
family moved in 1996 and the final house was torn down at
that time. The only remaining structures there now are a
religious shrine on a hillside, a storage trailer, and an
unused garage. Because the fire destroyed a part of nearby
Route 61, it is now rerouted through the former village of
Byrnesville. (Historical information by Mike Reilley)
See this website for information about
Byrnesville, including pictures of the past there.