Marker will note founding of American Institute of Mining Engineers in Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE — Much of the understanding, development and improvement of safety techniques, technology and economic principles in the mineral and metals industries today stems from the founding of the American Institute of Mining Engineers founded 145 years ago by 22 mining engineers in Wilkes-Barre.
On May 16, the 145th anniversary of the institute, the Pennsylvania Anthracite Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) is sponsoring dedication ceremonies for a Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission (PHMC) Historical Marker in Wilkes Barre — on the site where it all started. The dedication ceremony for the historical marker will start at 3 p.m.
The American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) was founded in 1871 by a group of 22 mining engineers — 15 from Northeastern Pennsylvania — at a meeting at the Wyoming Valley Hotel, 16 S. River St.
Michael C. Korb, P.E./environmental program manager at the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said the institute and its 150,000-plus members honor the group’s legacy by providing education and upholding professional values. He said the founding meeting of AIME, as well as that of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Section of AIME, were held at the former hotel.
“Some 145 years ago, Northeastern Pennsylvania mining engineers had the idea that they should pass on their knowledge and experiences for the benefit of future engineers through a society of professionals and started the American Institute of Mining Engineers,” Korb said. “AIME grew by passing on information about safety, economics and technology, adding a petroleum division, an iron and steel division and an institute of metals division.”
Korb said the institute is one of the first national engineering societies, He said its charter is to “advance and disseminate knowledge of engineering and the arts and sciences involved in the production and use of minerals, metals, energy sources and materials for the benefit of humankind.”
According to information provided by Korb, on Feb. 17, 1914, the Pennsylvania Anthracite Section of the Society for Mining Engineers/AIME became a local chapter of AIME. The group’s first meeting was in the offices of The Lehigh Wilkes Barre Coal Company, also at 16 S. River St.
In March, 2015, the PHMC approved a marker commemorating these events and the marker will be located at the corner of River and Market streets in Wilkes-Barre. The Guard Insurance Co. is now located on the site.
Prior to the dedication on May 16, AIME will hold a luncheon for members of its four member societies and invited guests at 11:30 a.m. at the Westmoreland Club on South Franklin Street in Wilkes Barre.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.