By Rev. Fr. Elijah J. Bremer
The Great Chance is a unique manuscript. It tells the story of James Brown Neale, a coal baron, and his model village of Buck Run. Neale and Buck Run were well known in national and industrial circles in the early years of the twentieth century, but are today unknown by historians. Buck Run was studied by industrialist far and wide. This model village thrived , and could, seemingly, change the way of life of anthracite miners. Neale was not large enough, and the coal veins under Buck Run did not run deeply enough to perpetuate the experiment. With his death and the subsequent exhaustion of the coal, Buck Run faded from the public consciousness. Only The Great Chance exists to tell the story of “Jim” and his Buck Run.