Welcome to the J. W. Cooper School (2016)


J. W. Cooper School — Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

When coal was king, the town of Shenandoah housed nearly 30,000 residents in  a one square mile area — with the Cooper School at its center. Built in 1917 of steel and granite the school has weathered almost 100 years of the economic ups and down of the coal mining industry. Come along with me as we explore this historic structure and learn about one man’s attempt to save this diamond in the rough…

Nikon D800

More of my work can be seen here

J. W. Cooper School


10 responses to “Welcome to the J. W. Cooper School (2016)

  1. I like your description of “diamond in the rough,” Robert. So true in so many ways. Pennsylvania, huh? Now I am waiting for you to shoot what is left of Centralia. 🙂 That place fascinates me. (P.S. I am on the road to Taos and back for a few days!)

  2. The Coal Mining Town of Shenandoah is not very far from where I live here in PA. It’s about a hours drive from here. I have been up into the Coal Region area quite a few times in the past and always find the area interesting with it’s rich History when Coal was King. In my “snooping around” in Shenandoah I must have missed this one for one reason or another. There are a number of small Coal towns up in that area. All have a story to tell. The last time I was up there was sometime last year. I found the Town has changed, and not for the better! The hard working people up there don’t want the “others” that have moved in the town at all. It has become crime ridden with drugs and murders that should not be!

    Also, the name Shenandoah is pronounced “Shen-en-dah” by the local people that live there. I have been thinking of returning to that town just to see what’s there now. Also, the Town of Centralia, is not far away either. Another place that I’ve been too many times. There is not much left there anymore. It’s getting way to over-grown with trees and weeds to show what once was there. Regards, Les

    • Thanks Les, for a small donation you can get access to the school from the new owner – who is also running into the issues you noted with the locals. I was quite shocked by the town which could be renamed “Arson City” – as there are so many burnt out hulks of row houses..

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