Author and photographer Lorena Beniquez will be at the Exeter Community Library on Sept. 27, speaking about the history of coal mining in Pennsylvania and the disappearance of coal breakers across the state.

The great-granddaughter of a coal miner herself, Beniquez was driven by curiosity to recover not only her own past but that of countless other families as well.

Beniquez’s book, "Lost Coal Country of Northeastern Pennsylvania," is a moving tribute to Pennsylvania’s legacy and the industrial revolution. Considered part-history book and part-travel guide, the book elaborates on the region's disappearing anthracite history in a recounting of what is gone and what still remains.

In her book, Beniquez covers a haunting account of Centralia, abandoned 50 years ago when the coal beneath the town caught fire. The fire continues to this day and will likely burn for hundreds of years. She also recounts the story of John Stella, an unsung hero who saved dozens of miners during the Knox Mine Disaster.

Perhaps most moving are Beniquez’s poignant photographs which elicit memories of a once-booming industry during a time long gone.

All are welcome to attend Beniquez’s lecture and book signing at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the Exeter Community Library at 4569 Prestwick Dr., Reading, 19606. Books will be available on site for purchase. To register for this event, stop by the library circulation desk or call 610-406-9431. For more information, visit www.berkslibraries.org/branch/exeter or the Exeter Community Library Facebook page.

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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