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But as the country’s energy consumption shifted toward cleaner fossil fuels and the once massive deposits of coal became depleted, the mines began to close.By the late 1950’s, only a few were left, devastating the region’s once vibrant economy and leaving miners without jobs or the skills to compete in a changing labor market.“You always looked forward to church on Sunday,” says Mr.Evans, “but now everybody seems to have things that are more important.” He worries that, because so many people have left for jobs elsewhere, there are few young adults to assume responsibilities in the church. Of her three children, the youngest is still at home, another remains in the area and the third lives in Brooklyn.The immigrants saw opportunity in the dirty, dangerous jobs in the mines.
John the Baptist Church is just two blocks from St. Those immigrant Russians were, in fact, from the Carpathian Mountains and Galicia, in what is now Ukraine. The elevator, he says, will enable wheelchair-bound parishioners to attend church again; it will also make it easier to bring caskets in for funerals.They danced and sang, ate and drank at local social clubs. “There were a lot of good times that were held from this church,” says one parishioner.They walked down Main Street, now a dispiriting stretch of marginalized businesses, and saw everyone. “The point is, if there’s no church, there’s no community.” For the past five years St.The Gingos are unusual in that all their children have opted to stay in the area.All present remember how it was before people began to leave in large waves, when Edwardsville was a collection of ethnic neighborhoods, but where everyone knew everyone else.