Share This Page

Dunbar Scout's Eagle project pays tribute to 'Irishtown'

| Saturday, July 12, 2014, 3:55 p.m.
MARILYN FORBES I FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
High atop the mountains in Dunbar Township lies the little area once known as Irishtown and Boy Scout Zachary Martin made it his Eagle project to make sure that those families will not be forgotten.

In the mid-1800s, a large group of families of Irish descent built homes and formed tight communities high in the Dunbar Mountains in an area known by locals as “Irishtown.”

Atop a hill called “Hardy Hill” in Dunbar Township, one needs a good imagination to picture what was once a thriving mining community, because there is virtually no trace of it.

Not wanting the folklore of the “Irishtown” families to be lost over time, Boy Scout Zachary Martin, 18, of Dunbar Troop 180, decided to immortalize the families who once struggled as they worked deep into the hillside mining iron ore as his Eagle Scout project.

“I've lived up here almost all of my life, and I love these mountains,” Martin said, adding that he lives near the location owned by the Irishtown Sportsman Club that serves as a small picnic area atop the hill. “I was starting to notice how the area was getting defaced, and I wanted to do something to fix it.”

Martin, with the help of about 20 volunteers including Scouts and adults, worked at the site for several weeks, felling several hazardous trees, repairing horseshoe pits and erecting a large information plaque that tells of the history of the families of Irishtown and their stay atop the area in the mountains of Dunbar.

“It's an interesting story,” his father, Bob Martin, said of the 100 families who once called the quiet mountaintop location home. “The reason that you don't see anything here that shows that families were once here is because once the mine was done, they literally picked up their homes and moved down the mountain into Dunbar.”

Bob Martin was referring to the homes of the mining families that were constructed of log or clapboard.

Martin said that he enjoyed researching the project and remembers hearing stories told to him by his grandfather of the families of the area.

“I Googled a lot, and I got information from the Dunbar Historical Society,” Martin said.

Martin and his crew built a large informational sign out of donations of materials that he received from Lowe's in Uniontown and spent more than 340 hours on the project.

Martin received his Eagle Scout distinction at the recent 90-year celebration of the troop held in May.

His father serves as the leader for Troop 180 and received his Eagle Scout distinction in 1974, when the troop celebrated its 50-year anniversary.

“I think that it's really rewarding now when I see people stop here and walk around and take the time to read the plaque,” Martin said of his completed project. “This turned out better than I expected, and I want to thank my sister Monica for her help with the artwork and thank everyone else who helped me to make my project possible.”

Martin plans to remain in scouting and has recently signed up to be an assistant scoutmaster.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.