This paper argues that even though it was short-lived compared to its contemporary engineering schools, the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Mines was an integral part of the changing energy landscape of 19th-century Pennsylvania. In addition to walking the reader through the history of Penn's Department of Mines, the paper explains how the value of science lies not in the lone pursuit of knowledge for knowledge's sake, but in its application to problems of economic importance, ultimately advocating the importance of the dissemination of knowledge.