Liberty Township: The 1873 Coal War and the Italians

Jan 09, 2018 440

BY: Ben Lariccia

In the Mahoning Valley, there’s a layer of fine coal dust that overlays Italian American history. To retrace the time when Italians first arrived, head north on Youngstown’s Belmont Avenue and you’ll soon find yourself on Route 193. In Liberty Township, not far from where the highway crosses Churchill Road, stood Church Hill and its coal camp. The events that took place there, forgotten for decades, deserve a retelling.

The Mahoning Valley was once home of rich, bituminous coal deposits that yielded a black mineral in no need of refining. Often referred to as Sharon Block No. 2, it fueled iron foundries in the vicinity and those as far away as Cleveland and Chicago. This local, high-grade coal spurred development and created the first millionaires in the Valley.

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