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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The George A. Sheldon Company delivered coal in the Greenfield area beginning in 1905. Sheldon purchased the R.H. Snow coal company that year. Sheldon was a grandson of George Sheldon, founder of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. He ran the company until his death in 1932, and it continued for many years after.
<BR>Coal was the main fuel for heating homes until the 1960s when oil and gas supplanted it. Coal was delivered in a rock form and slid down chutes. Houses built before 1970 often still have their alley- or street-side coal chutes leading to former coal rooms. Although coal was dusty and generated significant air pollution, it was cheap and a far superior alternative to its predecessor, wood. It was first used in England in the 1600s, but the steady deforestation of that country meant that by the mid-1700s coal was the only alternative for heating and cooking.
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