1844 the "Carey Group" sold their first lot in the soon to be town of Saint Clair. Barton Evans, a Pennsylvania-born butcher selected lot number thirteen near the center of Saint Clair on the east side of 2nd Street just south of Hancock. Soon to be next door neighbor was, baker Jacob Gwinner, a German immigrant. Barton Evans went into partnership with another man and build a lot next door then later another lot on Front Street.
John Holmes, an Irishman who emigrated to Saint Clair from Dublin in 1841 bought a prime commercial location on the northwest corner of Second and Franklin Streets just across from the railroad depot. Mr. Holmes later purchased more lots in Saint Clair. Including the area that was to become the Odd Fellow Cemetery. John Holmes played a role in the development of the coal industry. He located the "Holmes Vein", invented mine machinery, fuses, and served as a civic leader. He sold land to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. These four acres became the "Odd Fellows Cemetery". Holmes also built a public building on Front Street.
David Metz, a Pennsylvania German carpenter with an English wife, bought a lot and set up a shop in the same block of tradesmen Evans and Gwinner. Daniel Slobig, a Pennsylvania-born clerk purchased another lot on the tradesmen's block. Mr. Slobig became one of the founders of the local Methodist Episcopal Church.
The first miner to purchase property was English-born Edward Hetherington. He purchased the southern corner lot in the tradesmen's block. He built a large home for not only his family, but to take in boarders. By 1850 he owned and built two more houses on the same street, one he rented and the other for his brother's wife and infant son.
All the lots on Second Street were sold either by Nichols before 1935 or the Careys by 1846.
The lots on Third Street were less desirable because they were located closer to the railroad and some of the mines. Many of these lots were purchased by immigrant Irish families in 1846. Andrew and Terrence McGough, mine laborers, bought a lot together in 1845, they built a single and double house (for rental) each. They lived next door to each other for the rest of their lives. Andrew also purchased another lot down the block. Another set of Irish brothers, Thomas and Patrick Igo purchased a lot on the street. Evan Evans, an Welsh mine laborer purchased a lot located between the two sets of brothers. By 1847 all residential lots on Third Streets had been sold.
Most of the remaining lots east of Front Street were sold by 1854. By 1850 twenty out of forth-four acres were purchased, lot by lot. Carey reserved 17 blocks in town for himself to use as industrial property or to sell to business associates. Carey's reserve were between Railroad and Third Street, opposite the Saint Clair Shaft Colliery. Alfred Lawton took a large lot on the corner above Carey's reserve and half a block on Front Street in the middle of town. Charles and John Lawton acquired four lots. Carey's nephew, Joseph G. Lawton and Burd Patterson purchased several lots. Between 1844 and 1847 Joseph Lawton purchased a large track of land along Nichols and Morris Streets, approximately 25 acres.
In 1845, Joseph Lawton, built a fancy mansion. In 1847 Burd Patterson purchased 15 acres in the southwest corner of town surrounding the Saint Clair furnace.
With the sale of these lots the Carey Group retained the underground mineral rights. These mineral rights were not sold but leased to miner operators for a term of years. Under the town of Saint Clair the ground is honeycombed with gangways, breasts, and tunnels. For this reason foundations in town were built of stone or brick and residential structures were made of wood. Wood held up better to the constant tremors caused by the firing of gunpowder charges in the mines. There were many incidences of the ground giving was causing subsidence, one such occurrence was the Primitive Methodist Church in 1868.
During 1845 eighty new buildings were constructed with the plans in 1846 for an additional 130 miners homes. A private census in 1845 gave Saint Clair the population of 605.
131 homes 3 stores 2 taverns
Males - 342 Females - 263
By 1850 the population grew to 2,217. At this time there were 10 steam engines, 5 major collieries, the Patterson furnace, 2 sawmills, a half dozen blacksmiths, carpenters, stonemasons, physician, publicans, 46 cows (kept by households), a store or tavern on nearly every street, tailors, butchers, bakers, shoemakers, 3 English churches, a cemetery, and a meeting place.
"For the amusement of the children of St. Clair, a community playground was installed by the unemployed of the town.
Work first began on this project in the early part of April 1933, and is as yet uncompleted, as the committee for the amusement park are making negotiations with the NRA for the installation of a bathhouse. Young men and older men who are unemployed gave their time and worked daily throughout the entire summer, without receiving any remuneration for their labor. A great deal of hard labor was done by the aid of the steam-shovel, which was donated by the St. Clair Coal Co.
The ground on which the park and pool are located was the ground known, for a good many years, as "Hughes' Fields," controlled and owned by the Reading Coal and Iron Co. Water for the pool was given by the Pottsville Water Co. and the electric lighting system was installed by the St. Clair Power and Light Co.
At the beginning of this project a committee was appointed by the men interested in making a success of the park. Said committee contained five members, who lived in the immediate vicinity of the playgrounds. They were Thomas Quigley, John Kelly, Joseph Krawchick, Francis Maley and Christopher Honicker. Through the combined efforts of these men we have a park--a memorial to the tireless men who were not afraid to sacrifice a part of their time for the enjoyment of others."
-----Taken from the "History of Saint Clair" by Joseph H. Zerbey History, 1934.