Exploring the Rich History and Culture of Drums, Pennsylvania

Drums, Pennsylvania, is a small borough located in the heart of Luzerne County, nestled between the picturesque Wyoming Valley and the Lehigh River. The area was initially settled in the late 1700s, and since then, it has evolved into a thriving community known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and the legendary drums that have become synonymous with its name. This fascinating topic delves into the unique story of Drums, Pennsylvania, exploring its origins, the legend of the drums, and the vibrant culture that continues to thrive in this charming community. Join us as we embark on a captivating journey to uncover the enchanting history and allure of Drums, Pennsylvania.

The Origins of Drums, Pennsylvania

Early Settlements and Industrial Growth

Drums, Pennsylvania, has a rich and intriguing history that dates back to the early days of American settlement. The area that is now known as Drums was originally inhabited by the Native American Lenni-Lenape tribe, who had a significant impact on the local culture and cuisine.

Native American Presence and Influence

The Lenni-Lenape tribe was one of the largest and most influential Native American tribes in the Northeastern United States. They were known for their resourcefulness and adaptability, and they lived in harmony with the land for centuries.

The Lenni-Lenape tribe had a profound impact on the local culture and cuisine of Drums, Pennsylvania. They introduced a variety of crops, such as corn, beans, and squash, which became staples of the local diet. They also introduced a variety of cooking techniques, such as pit roasting and steaming, which are still used today.

The Emergence of Drums as an Industrial Hub

Drums, Pennsylvania, emerged as an industrial hub during the 19th century, thanks to the discovery of coal and the development of the railroad. The abundance of coal in the area led to the establishment of numerous coal mines, which provided jobs and economic growth for the region.

The railroad played a crucial role in the development of Drums, Pennsylvania. The Delaware, Lehigh, and Schuylkill Railroad was built in the mid-19th century, connecting Drums to other major cities in the Northeast. This made it easier to transport coal and other goods, which in turn led to an economic boom in the area.

Coal Mining and Railroad Development

Coal mining was the primary industry in Drums, Pennsylvania, during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The coal mines in the area provided jobs for thousands of workers, and the coal itself was used to fuel the railroads and industrial plants throughout the region.

The railroad played a crucial role in the development of the coal industry in Drums, Pennsylvania. The railroad made it easier to transport coal from the mines to the rail yards, where it could be loaded onto trains and shipped to other parts of the country. This made it possible to transport large quantities of coal quickly and efficiently, which in turn led to an economic boom in the area.

Economic Boom and Growth

The economic boom and growth that occurred in Drums, Pennsylvania, during the 19th and early 20th centuries had a profound impact on the area. The coal mines and railroads brought jobs and prosperity to the region, and the influx of workers led to the growth of local businesses and industries.

The economic boom also led to the construction of many historic buildings and landmarks in Drums, Pennsylvania. Many of these buildings still stand today, serving as a reminder of the area’s rich history and culture.

Cultural Landmarks and Attractions in Drums

Key takeaway: Drums, Pennsylvania has a rich history and culture that is reflected in its diverse population, cultural landmarks, and historical sites. The town’s Native American Lenni-Lenape tribe had a significant impact on the local culture and cuisine. Drums emerged as an industrial hub during the 19th century, thanks to the discovery of coal and the development of the railroad. The Annual Drums Festival is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the rich history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania.

The Drums Historical Society and Museum

Preserving the Heritage of Drums

The Drums Historical Society and Museum was established in 1976 with the primary objective of preserving the rich heritage of Drums, Pennsylvania. The museum is located in a historic building that was originally built in 1873 as a schoolhouse. Over the years, the building has been renovated and adapted to accommodate the museum’s collections and exhibits.

Exhibits and Collections

The museum’s collection includes a wide range of artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of Drums and its people. Visitors can explore exhibits that showcase the area’s natural history, Native American history, and the impact of the coal mining industry on the region.

The Lenni-Lenape Display

One of the museum’s most impressive exhibits is the Lenni-Lenape display, which highlights the region’s Native American history. The display features artifacts such as pottery, tools, and weapons that were used by the Lenni-Lenape people, who lived in the area for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. Visitors can learn about the Lenni-Lenape’s way of life, their customs, and their impact on the region.

The Coal Mining Era Gallery

Another notable exhibit at the museum is the Coal Mining Era Gallery, which tells the story of the region’s coal mining industry. The exhibit showcases artifacts such as mining equipment, tools, and photographs that document the lives of the miners and their families. Visitors can learn about the dangerous working conditions, the labor movement, and the impact of the coal industry on the region’s economy and culture.

Overall, the Drums Historical Society and Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania. The museum’s exhibits and collections offer a unique glimpse into the region’s past, from its Native American heritage to its role in the coal mining industry. By preserving and showcasing these artifacts, the museum plays an important role in preserving the heritage of Drums for future generations.

The Annual Drums Festival

Celebrating the Rich History of Drums

The Annual Drums Festival is a time-honored tradition that brings the community together to celebrate the rich history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania. This event has been held for over a century and has become a staple of the community’s identity. The festival showcases the unique character of Drums, and the deep roots it has in American history.

Parade and Ceremony

The festival kicks off with a grand parade, featuring colorful floats, marching bands, and local dignitaries. The parade route winds through the streets of Drums, with participants and spectators lining up along the way. The parade is a spectacle that embodies the spirit of the community, as it brings together residents and visitors to celebrate the area’s heritage.

Following the parade, a ceremony is held to commemorate the history of Drums. The ceremony features guest speakers, including local historians and community leaders, who share their knowledge and insights about the town’s past. The ceremony is a solemn occasion that honors the sacrifices and achievements of those who came before us, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our heritage.

Traditional Foods and Crafts

The festival also features a wide array of traditional foods and crafts that showcase the unique character of Drums. Visitors can indulge in classic Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, such as whoopie pies, shoofly pie, and chow-chow. Local vendors also offer handmade crafts, including pottery, woodcarvings, and textiles, that reflect the region’s cultural heritage.

In addition to the food and crafts, the festival also features live music and entertainment throughout the day. The stage is filled with local musicians, who perform a variety of genres, including bluegrass, folk, and gospel. The music adds to the festive atmosphere and provides a lively soundtrack to the day’s events.

Overall, the Annual Drums Festival is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the rich history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania. Through the parade, ceremony, traditional foods, and crafts, the festival provides a unique and memorable experience for all who attend.

Other Notable Sites and Monuments

The Drums Memorial Park

Drums Memorial Park is a serene and peaceful outdoor space that pays tribute to the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for their country. Located at the intersection of Maple and Butler streets, the park is home to a beautiful memorial that honors the memory of Drums’ fallen soldiers.

Honoring the Fallen

The memorial in Drums Memorial Park features a granite monument engraved with the names of the local residents who have lost their lives in various wars. The park serves as a place of remembrance and reflection, allowing visitors to pay their respects to those who have given their lives in service to their country.

Outdoor Recreational Activities

In addition to its historical significance, Drums Memorial Park is also a popular destination for outdoor recreational activities. The park features a playground, basketball courts, and a walking trail that winds through the picturesque surroundings. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park, taking in the natural beauty of the area and appreciating the peaceful atmosphere.

The Keystone Theatre

The Keystone Theatre is a historic movie palace that has been a fixture in Drums for over a century. Built in 1914, the theater has undergone several renovations over the years, but it still retains its classic charm and elegant decor.

A Historic Movie Palace

The Keystone Theatre was designed in the early 20th century, when movie palaces were grand and lavish buildings that provided an unforgettable cinematic experience. The theater’s architecture is reminiscent of the golden age of cinema, with its ornate ceiling, plush seating, and elegant lobby.

Screenings and Events

Today, the Keystone Theatre continues to be a popular destination for moviegoers and event organizers. The theater hosts regular screenings of classic and contemporary films, as well as live performances and community events. Visitors can enjoy a range of entertainment options, from family-friendly movies to independent films and live theater productions.

Overall, the Keystone Theatre is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in exploring the rich history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania. Its unique architecture and vibrant programming make it a standout destination in the heart of the town.

The People of Drums: Diverse Cultures and Traditions

The Irish Community in Drums

Immigration and Settlement

The Irish immigrants who settled in Drums, Pennsylvania, came from various parts of Ireland, including counties like Donegal, Leitrim, and Tyrone. These immigrants were seeking better economic opportunities and to escape the poverty and political unrest that plagued their homeland. Many of them arrived in the United States through the port of Philadelphia and then made their way to the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, which included the town of Drums.

The Pottsville and Mahanoy City Irish

Drums, being situated between the cities of Pottsville and Mahanoy City, had a significant Irish population. The Irish immigrants who settled in these cities found work in the coal mines, railroads, and other industries that were rapidly developing in the region. They also established their own communities, where they could maintain their cultural traditions and maintain a sense of identity.

Impact on Local Culture and Society

The Irish community in Drums had a profound impact on the local culture and society. They brought with them their own customs, music, and religion, which influenced the broader community. The Irish immigrants were instrumental in building the churches, schools, and other institutions that shaped the social and cultural landscape of Drums. They also played a significant role in the labor movement, advocating for better working conditions and wages for miners and other workers.

Today, the Irish heritage is still evident in Drums, with many descendants of the original immigrants still living in the area. The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which began in 1884, is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Irish community in Drums.

The Italian-American Community

Immigration and Assimilation

The Italian-American community in Drums, Pennsylvania, has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when many Italian immigrants arrived in the United States seeking better opportunities. Many of these immigrants settled in the anthracite coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania, including Drums, where they found work in the coal mines and other industries.

The Coal Region’s Italian Heritage

The Italian-American community in Drums has deep roots in the coal region’s history. Italian immigrants played a significant role in the development of the anthracite coal industry, which was a major source of employment and economic growth in the region. Many Italian immigrants worked in the mines, and their contributions to the industry were significant. They brought with them a strong work ethic and a willingness to take on dangerous and difficult jobs, which helped to build the infrastructure of the coal region.

Contributions to Drums and its Culture

The Italian-American community in Drums has made significant contributions to the town’s culture and society. The community has maintained its cultural traditions and has worked to preserve its heritage for future generations. The annual Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is held in honor of the town’s patron saint, is a major event in Drums and is attended by thousands of people each year. The festival features traditional Italian food, music, and dancing, and is a celebration of the community’s Italian-American heritage. Additionally, many Italian-American families in Drums have maintained strong ties to their ancestral homeland, and have kept alive the customs and traditions of their Italian ancestors.

African-American Experiences in Drums

Early Settlement and Segregation

Drums, Pennsylvania, like many other American towns, has a complex history when it comes to the experiences of African-Americans. During the early 20th century, the town experienced a significant influx of African-American families seeking better opportunities for work and education. Many of these families settled in the southern part of Drums, establishing their own community.

The Jim Crow Era

However, despite their efforts to establish a life for themselves, African-Americans in Drums faced the harsh realities of segregation and discrimination. The Jim Crow era, which lasted from the late 19th century until the mid-1960s, was a time of strict racial segregation and disenfranchisement. African-Americans in Drums were forced to use separate public facilities, such as schools, restaurants, and movie theaters, and were often subjected to violence and harassment.

Overcoming Barriers and Building Community

Despite the challenges they faced, African-Americans in Drums were determined to build a strong and vibrant community. They established their own schools, churches, and social organizations, which served as centers of cultural and social activity. Many of these institutions continue to thrive today, providing a sense of continuity and pride for the African-American community in Drums.

Through the years, African-Americans in Drums have also played a vital role in the town’s economic and social development. They have been active in various industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and retail, and have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the town. Today, African-Americans in Drums continue to celebrate their rich cultural heritage and to work towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all residents of the town.

The Hispanic Community

Immigration Waves and Settlement

Drums, Pennsylvania, has a growing Hispanic community that has enriched the town’s cultural landscape. The first wave of Hispanic immigrants in Drums were primarily from Mexico and Central America, attracted by the availability of jobs in the area’s industries. As word spread about the opportunities available in Drums, more immigrants continued to arrive, leading to a thriving Hispanic community.

Mexican and Central American Immigration

The influx of Mexican and Central American immigrants began in the late 20th century, with many seeking better economic opportunities for themselves and their families. These immigrants faced significant challenges as they adapted to a new country and culture, but they also brought with them a wealth of traditions and customs that have since become an integral part of Drums’ cultural identity.

Cultural Integration and Contributions

As the Hispanic community in Drums has grown, so too has its impact on the town’s culture. Hispanic residents have established cultural institutions, such as churches and community centers, which serve as hubs for celebrating traditional festivals and holidays. Many of these events are open to the public, providing an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to learn about and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Drums’ Hispanic community.

Additionally, the Hispanic community has made significant contributions to the local economy. Many Hispanic residents work in the town’s industries, contributing to its economic growth and prosperity. Their presence has also led to an increase in the availability of authentic Hispanic cuisine, which has become a popular attraction for both locals and visitors alike.

Overall, the Hispanic community in Drums, Pennsylvania, has played a vital role in shaping the town’s history and culture. Through their contributions to the economy, their celebration of traditional customs and holidays, and their integration into the broader community, the Hispanic residents of Drums have enriched the town’s cultural landscape and made it the vibrant and diverse place it is today.

Celebrating Diversity and Multiculturalism

Drums, Pennsylvania, is a town that proudly celebrates its rich cultural heritage. The people of Drums come from diverse backgrounds, and they have a deep appreciation for the traditions and customs that make their community unique. One of the best ways to experience the town’s vibrant culture is by attending the Drums Unity Festival, an event that showcases the diversity and inclusiveness of the community.

The Drums Unity Festival

The Drums Unity Festival is an annual event that brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate the town’s rich cultural heritage. The festival features a wide range of activities, including music, food, and crafts from around the world. It is a celebration of the town’s diversity and a testament to the strong sense of community that exists in Drums.

Showcasing Diversity and Fostering Inclusion

One of the main goals of the Drums Unity Festival is to showcase the diversity of the community and foster a sense of inclusion. The festival features performances by local musicians and dancers from a variety of cultural backgrounds, providing attendees with a unique opportunity to experience the richness of the town’s cultural heritage.

Music, Food, and Crafts from Around the World

The Drums Unity Festival is also an opportunity for people to sample a wide range of foods and crafts from around the world. Vendors from different cultural backgrounds set up stalls selling traditional foods and handmade crafts, giving attendees a chance to experience the richness of the town’s cultural heritage.

In addition to the festival, there are many other ways to experience the rich cultural heritage of Drums, Pennsylvania. The town is home to a variety of cultural organizations and events that celebrate the diverse traditions and customs of the community. Whether you are interested in music, dance, food, or crafts, there is something for everyone in Drums.

Drums Today: Modern Challenges and Opportunities

Economic Transition and Revitalization

The Decline of Coal Mining and Other Industries

The town of Drums, Pennsylvania, like many other small industrial towns in the region, has experienced a significant decline in its traditional industries, particularly coal mining. The coal mining industry, which had been a cornerstone of the local economy for generations, began to wane in the latter half of the 20th century. This decline was largely due to changes in the global energy market, advances in technology, and increasing environmental concerns. As the demand for coal decreased, jobs in the industry became scarce, leading to significant job loss and social impact on the community.

Job Loss and Social Impact

The loss of jobs in the coal mining industry and other traditional industries in Drums has had a profound impact on the community. Many families have experienced a decline in their standard of living, and the unemployment rate has remained high. The loss of jobs has also had a ripple effect on other sectors of the economy, such as retail and service industries. Additionally, the social fabric of the community has been affected, as people have had to leave the area to find work, leading to a decrease in population and a sense of community disconnection.

Rebranding and Reinventing Drums

As the traditional industries have declined, the people of Drums have had to find new ways to create economic opportunities and revitalize their community. One approach has been to rebrand the town and emphasize its unique history and culture. This has included efforts to promote tourism, highlighting the town’s rich history and natural beauty. Additionally, the community has focused on attracting new businesses and industries to the area, diversifying the economy and creating new job opportunities. This has involved investing in infrastructure, such as improving transportation access and building new public facilities, to make the town more attractive to potential investors.

In conclusion, the economic transition and revitalization of Drums, Pennsylvania, is a complex process that involves addressing the challenges posed by the decline of traditional industries while also creating new opportunities for growth and development. Through a combination of rebranding, diversifying the economy, and investing in infrastructure, the people of Drums are working to build a brighter future for their community.

Community Development and Civic Engagement

Collaborative Efforts for Growth

In the present day, the residents of Drums, Pennsylvania are working together to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of their community. This collaborative effort is evident in the numerous partnerships and initiatives that have been established to improve the quality of life for all who call Drums home.

Partnerships and Initiatives

One example of this collaborative effort is the establishment of the Drums Business and Professional Association. This organization brings together local business owners, community leaders, and residents to work on initiatives that will drive economic growth and development in the area.

Another example is the Drums Community Garden, a project that was established through a partnership between the Drums Volunteer Fire Company and the Drums United Methodist Church. The garden provides a space for residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables, fostering a sense of community and encouraging healthy living.

Building a Better Future for Drums

Through these partnerships and initiatives, the residents of Drums are working together to build a better future for their community. By pooling their resources and working collaboratively, they are able to tackle challenges and seize opportunities in a way that benefits everyone.

For example, the Drums Business and Professional Association has been instrumental in attracting new businesses to the area, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. The community garden has also had a positive impact, providing fresh produce for residents and fostering a sense of pride in the community.

Overall, the collaborative efforts of the residents of Drums are making a real difference in the community. By working together, they are able to address challenges and seize opportunities, ensuring that Drums continues to thrive for generations to come.

Environmental Concerns and Sustainability

The Impact of Coal Mining on the Environment

Coal mining has long been a significant contributor to Drums’ economy, providing employment opportunities and revenue for the local community. However, the environmental impact of coal mining cannot be ignored. The process of extracting coal has led to significant land degradation, resulting in deforestation, habitat destruction, and the loss of biodiversity. Furthermore, coal mining has contributed to air and water pollution, affecting the health and well-being of both the local population and the environment.

Land Degradation and Pollution

The mining process has led to the removal of vegetation, soil compaction, and the creation of massive open-pit mines. This land degradation has resulted in the loss of fertile land, leading to soil erosion and the pollution of nearby water sources. Additionally, the transportation of coal and mining waste has led to air pollution, contributing to respiratory problems and other health issues for the local population.

Environmental Restoration and Regeneration

Recognizing the negative impact of coal mining on the environment, various organizations and initiatives have emerged to promote environmental restoration and regeneration in Drums. These efforts include reforestation projects, soil conservation initiatives, and the restoration of damaged ecosystems. Furthermore, researchers and scientists are working to develop new technologies to restore and regenerate the affected areas, including the use of phytoremediation and bioengineering techniques.

Renewable Energy and Green Initiatives

As concerns over climate change and environmental sustainability continue to grow, renewable energy and green initiatives are becoming increasingly important in Drums. The development of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, is providing an alternative to coal mining and offering new opportunities for economic diversification. Additionally, efforts are being made to promote sustainable practices and reduce waste, including recycling programs and the promotion of energy-efficient technologies.

Embracing a Sustainable Future

Embracing a sustainable future is essential for Drums to ensure long-term environmental health and economic stability. This includes investing in renewable energy sources, promoting sustainable practices, and developing new technologies to restore and regenerate the environment. By doing so, Drums can transition from a community reliant on coal mining to one that embraces a sustainable future, providing new opportunities for economic growth and development.

Opportunities for Drums’ Economic Diversification

As the coal mining industry continues to decline, Drums must look to other sectors for economic diversification. Renewable energy and green initiatives offer new opportunities for growth and development, providing employment opportunities and revenue for the local community. Furthermore, investing in sustainable practices and technologies can lead to the development of new industries, such as eco-tourism and environmental consulting, further promoting economic diversification and sustainable development.


1. What is Drums, Pennsylvania known for?

Drums, Pennsylvania is a small town located in Luzerne County, in the northeastern part of the state. It is known for its rich history and culture, particularly its role in the anthracite coal mining industry, which played a significant role in the town’s development.

2. What was the anthracite coal mining industry?

The anthracite coal mining industry was a significant economic and cultural force in northeastern Pennsylvania during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Anthracite coal is a type of coal that is found in veins or beds in the earth, and it burns with a bright, clean flame. The industry was known for its dangerous working conditions, but it also provided employment for many people in the region.

3. How did the anthracite coal mining industry affect Drums, Pennsylvania?

The anthracite coal mining industry had a significant impact on Drums, Pennsylvania. The town was home to several coal mines, and the industry provided employment for many people in the area. The coal mines also attracted immigrants from other countries, who came to work in the mines and settled in the town. This cultural exchange is reflected in the town’s diverse population and unique cultural traditions.

4. What are some of the cultural traditions in Drums, Pennsylvania?

Drums, Pennsylvania has a rich cultural heritage, and many of its traditions reflect the town’s history and the influence of its diverse population. Some of the cultural traditions in Drums include the annual Labor Day celebration, which honors the town’s mining heritage, and the tradition of Polish folk dancing, which is taught in the town’s community center.

5. How can I learn more about the history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania?

There are several ways to learn more about the history and culture of Drums, Pennsylvania. One option is to visit the town’s historical society, which has a museum that showcases the town’s history and artifacts from the anthracite coal mining industry. Another option is to attend one of the town’s cultural events, such as the annual Labor Day celebration, which features traditional music, food, and festivities.

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