I have been asked on several occasions as to how I came up with the name Smock for the town in my books where the story takes place. I love the reactions when I tell them that it really exists.
It is an old coal mining town about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh and was founded in 1869 by Samuel Smock. Smock’s development as a mining town was unusual. Typically, mining towns in Southwestern Pennsylvania after 1880 were developed and built by one coal company. The housing was architecturally uniform. Smock differs because it was developed into five architecturally distinct settlements by three coal companies and one individual.
My mom and dad were born there as well as my older brother and sister. I still have relatives who live there. It was my memories of visiting there in the summers that made it the perfect place for the story setting. The hills and country area where you could roam around and pick blackberries, go fishing or just hang around with cousins and play football or basketball. You could also find a spring coming out of a hill where you could get a drink of fresh cool water. Not sure if you could find that there today.
I have not been back for many years and I am told that it has changed but the memories that I have will not. If you ever pass through stop in at the historical society and take a look around.