The No. 9 Coal Mine was first opened in 1855 by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. A large vein of Anthracite coal, known as the Mammoth Vein, was the main focus of mining operations in the Panther Valley. Early mining operations in the area were located in the town of Summit Hill, just above Lansford. As the mines in Summit Hill encountered ever increasing levels of groundwater, other methods needed to be employed to reach the coal. The No. 9 Mine is driven at a much lower elevation than the mines in nearby Summit Hill. As the tunnel was being driven it allowed groundwater to naturally run out from the mine portal without the need of pumps. The tunnel was driven into the mountain far enough to reach the first vein of coal by the end of 1857. The following year the No. 9 Mine was contracted to produce 90,000 tons of Anthracite coal for the company. The No. 9 Mine operated from 1855 until June 22, 1972, making it the longest continuously operated deep Anthracite coal mine in the world.
The No. 9 Mine was left abandoned until a local group, committed to preserving the region's coal mining heritage, took control of the property in 1992. This non-profit organization is known as the Panther Creek Valley Foundation and now operates the No. 9 Mine as a museum. Restoration work on the mine began in 1995 and the first tours inside began in 2002. Visitors to the mine ride by rail 1,600 feet into the mountain before embarking on a 600 foot guided walking tour. Tourists can examine the original 700 foot deep mine shaft, walk the “mule-way” (where young men guided the mules between the different levels of the mine), and see a miner’s hospital cut into solid rock. Outside on the grounds is the museum, housed in the No.9 Mine’s original “Wash Shanty” constructed before the First World War. The museum houses the largest collection of mining artifacts in the area. The many items on display include tools, blasting equipment, household goods, and more that belonged to the miners who worked the No. 9 Mine.
Inside the museum is a gift shop that offers visitors items such as books, carved coal pieces, and t-shirts among other goods. The site has picnic facilities that are available for large groups. The No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum is open from the beginning of April until the end of November. Hours of operation are 10 AM till 4 PM, the first mine tour is at 11 AM and the last is at 3 PM. The site is open Friday through Sunday in April and November; Wednesday through Sunday from May through October. Discounts on groups of 20 or more are offered as well as Senior (65+), AAA members, and Veterans. Temperature in the mine remains near 50 degrees year round so a light jacket is recommended.