Pennell was one of the first America artists to be inspired by the industrial landscape. As a young man he visited the mills and mines of the Lehigh Valley, 80 miles north of Philadelphia where he grew up. He studied close to the Baldwin Locomotive works and witnessed the progress of industrialisation.
The mining village was located in Pennsylvania, on the Lehigh River. It was a company town founded by Josiah White & Partners, owners of Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company which transported coal to Philadelphia, Trenton and New York City via the Lehigh River.