Eckley is one of the hundreds of company mining towns or "patches" built in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania during the nineteenth century.

     In 1854, the mining firm of Sharpe, Leisenring and Company, later known as Sharpe, Weiss and Company, leased land from the Tench Coxe Estate of Philadelphia and began work on the Council Ridge Colliery and the village of Eckley. The village, built near the colliery where the coal was mined and processed, provided housing for the miners and their families. Its stores, schools, and churches supplied the economic, educational, and religious needs of the villagers. By owning the village, the company had greater control over the lives of their workers.

     After 1875, when the Sharpe, Weiss lease expired, the Coxe family either operated the colliery themselves or leased it to other coal companies. During this period many changes took place. To Eckley came a succession of immigrant groups seeking economic opportunities and religious or political freedom. English, Welsh, and German miners were supplanted by the Irish immigrants and then by southern and eastern Europeans. These groups formed an ethnic mosaic typical of the anthracite region.

     Strip mining gradually replaced underground mining. Steam shovels stripped away the land around Eckley as well as part of the village. The work force at the colliery and the population of Eckley gradually declined. From a population that numbered over one thousand in 1870, only few villagers remain.

     During the liquidation of the Tench Coxe Estate, Eckley was sold to coal company owner George Huss. The village was separated from the mining operation in 1969 when the Huss Coal Company sold Eckley to the Anthracite Historical Site Museum, Inc., a group of Hazleton area businessmen. They deeded it to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1971 to be administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

     The old Council Ridge Colliery is gone, but its village survives. Eckley preserves a way of life which dominated the anthracite region for over 140 years.