Note about Mike Reilley's Site: This site is currently under
re-construction after AOL terminated the Hometown service and Mike's Remembering
Byrnesville site along with it. As we reconstruct the site here, some of
the pages will be incomplete with broken images and missing elements. In
time the site will be re-built in its entirety. Thanks for your patience.
Read more at the bottom of this page about the reconstruction.
The village of Byrnesville no longer exists. It began 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.
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.
In 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)
View of Byrnesville, looking
View of Byrnesville today, the people have moved away, the buildings are all torn down.
The shrine on the hillside overlooking Byrnesville
I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN BYRNESVILLE AND WOULD LIKE TO PRESERVE IT'S HISTORY. ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO ADD A COPY OF THEIR PICTURES OR HAS ANY COMMENTS COULD E-MAIL AT MPREIL@AOL.COM
HONOR ROLL BOARD ERECTED IN THE EARLY
40's TO HONOR THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE
ARMED FORCES. IT WAS LATER REPLACED BY
Jim Reilley, a former resident of Byrnesville , sits with his models of "COAL HOLES" or "BOOTLEG MINES as they were known. They were many of them in and around Byrnesville in the 1930's and 1940's. These mines were dug by miners that were out of work and needed money to live. See a closeup of the models at the left.
Remember when merchants in trucks supplied the village with mechandise and services?
These pages about Byrnesville were created
by Mike Reilley and were originally hosted under AOL's
Hometown site under the address hometown.aol.com/mpreil.
When AOL abruptly terminated the hometown sites,
Offroaders.com assisted Mike in restoring his site from
archived web pages, cache pages, backups and other
resources to restore the memory of Byrnesvillle PA and to
give his pages a place to live. Special thanks also
goes to Robert Showalter who had taken the initiative to
make an offline copy of Mike Reilley's site thinking that
AOL may someday discontinue free hometown site services. To contact Mike Reilley,
you can email him here: MPREIL@AOL.COM.
Mike has begun rebuilding his site under Verizon's Mysite
service at this web address:
http://mysite.verizon.net/vzermnw3 Visit his
site to see his latest updates.