PITTSBURGH NO. 8 COALFIELD

This coalfield is so named because, in Ohio, the coal seams, which are mostly the same veins mined in Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia, are numbered in addition to being named. So the Pittsburgh seam is the No. 8 seam in Ohio. No. 1 is Sharon, No. 2 is Quakertown, No. 3 is Lower Mercer, No. 3B is Trionesta, No. 4 is Brookville, No. 4A is Clarion, No. 5 is Lower Kittanning (known locally as Lower Moxahala), No. 6 is Middle Kittanning (very thick in the Hocking Coalfield), No. 6a is Lower Freeport, No. 7 is Upper Freeport, No. 7A is Mahoning, No. 8A is the Redstone (known locally as Pomeroy coal), No. 9 is Meigs Creek, No. 10 is Uniontown, No. 11 is Waynesburg, No. 12 is Washington.



The Glen Robbins coal camp, on the border of Jefferson and Belmont Counties. This was probably one of the last coal company towns to be constructed in this field, being built by the Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co. around 1920 to house the workers of their Dorothy and Budd mines. A 1921 issue of "Coal Age" described the town as being "named after Mr. S.H. Robbins, president of the Youghiogheny & Ohio Company. These new mines are equipped with the most modern labor-saving devices and Glen Robbins is rapidly becoming one of the prettiest of the newer towns in the eastern Ohio field. Its one thousand residents are living in comfortable bungalows fronting on concrete streets, and each home is equipped with modern conveniences." Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co., sometimes called Y & O, also owned mining towns at Barton, Ohio; Wyano, Pennsylvania; and Van, West Virginia. (Mar. 2004 image by author)


Another view of the coal company-built town of Glen Robbins, Ohio. There doesn't appear to be anything left of the coal mine there except an orange creek full of acid mine drainiage. (Mar. 2004 image by author)


Eastern Ohio has been noted for large stripping shovels and drag lines at large surface mines. Some of these machines reached mythical status, like the Big Muskie, the Mountaineer, and the Gem of Egypt. And here is the last one - the Silver Spade - like the dinosaurs on the brink of extinction, shown here in January 2006 on one of its last working days removing overburden from the coal seam at Consolidation Coal Company's Mahoning Valley surface mine. It has since been destroyed, having given many years of service since it was constructed in 1965 by the Bucyrus-Erie Company of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was built for the Hanna Coal Company, which was the dominant coal company in the Pittsburgh No. 8 coalfield, and has been employed in later years by Consol, who probably took over Hanna's operations. It was the largest machine I have ever seen. Pieces of it are on display at the Harrison County Coal and Reclamation Historical Park . (Jan. 2006 image by author)


The stockpile of coal that was uncovered by the Silver Spade at the Mahoning Valley surface mine. I never knew how the coal got to the train or barge for final shipment. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Evidently the once-mighty Hanna Coal Company (later Consol) built these offices and shop buildings at Duncanwood, near Cadiz, as part of their giant Georgetown complex of coal mines, tipples, and railroads. The buildings were in ruins on the day I took this photo, and have since been removed. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


The repair shops at Georgetown/Duncanwood were in shambles. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Here's the flow chart from a pamphlet titled "Some Interesting Facts About the New Georgetown Preparation Plan." It is a process flow diagram of the coal cleaning operations at the Georgetown plant. This coal preparation plant was opened in 1951, and was one of the largest preparation plants in the world. Several sizes of coal were produced here, including hand-picked +7" Lump (when needed), and the plant could process 1275 TPH of clean coal - a big deal in the 1950's. Equipment used in this coal plant included Deister Tables, Reineveld Dryers, a Chance Cone, and two McNally Baum Jigs that were the biggest jigs ever built at that time (and maybe ever). (Image from author's collection)


As can be seen in this picture, two railroads hauled coal from the Georgetown Preparation Plant, seen in the background. They were the Pennsylvania RR and the Norfolk & Western (Nickel Plate until 1964) RR. You would think that, with the plant being such an important engineering showcase, photographs would abound of it. However, pictures of the Georgetown Plant are hard to come by. (July 1974 image by Erik Calonius, courtesy U.S. National Archives)


Vintage photo of a Bucyrus-Erie electric shovel loading coal into a 55 ton Euclid truck at one of Hanna's mines. When fully loaded the truck will take the coal to the Georgetown Prep Plant for cleaning and shipping. (Image source lost)

Pat Osborne emailed in this information: "My grandfather worked for Hanna Coal. They mined on either side of the family home on (now) Rt 22A, between Hopedale in Harrison County and Bloomingdale in Jefferson County. Rt 22 used to be a major route. As a child, I watched the landscape change. One of my most memorable kid moments was riding in my grandfather's '57 Chevy, ignoring all the warning signs posted along the dirt roads along the way, and ending up within 100 feet of the Mountaineer's long afternoon shadow. Stunning. My grandmother grew up in the coal camps, too. Dun Glen was one of them. She shared the memory that the girls and women used to walk through the camp banging spoons against buckets when the miners needed to get their support, for union organizing and such."


Only 25 percent of Ohio coal miners lived in company-owned coal camps, also called "patch" towns. Here is one such town - Provident, Ohio, near St. Clairsville. The population was approximately 800 in 1912. The Ohio State Board of Health described Provident as featuring "a coal tipple, power house, stable, and office building, and in the community the company ownes about 50 dwelling houses provided for the miners. The population at Provident consists principally of foreigners. The sanitary conditions within the community are good considering the character of its inhabitants. The dwellings are well spaced and the surroundings are fairly clean. Loosely constructed privy vaults are in general use." (May 2004 image by author)


Some of the privies are still in existence at Provident. (May 2004 image by author)


A different perspective of the duplex company housing at Provident, Ohio. This mining town was owned by the Provident Coal Co. from Cleveland, which which was owned by the Picklands, Mather & Co., also in Cleveland. I have no idea why that steel company would want the coal from the Provident No. 1 mine, which was of a thermal rather than metallurgical nature. A 1915 "Coal Field Directory" listed Provident No. 1 Mine as having 427 employees, 18 electric underground mining machines, five Jeffrey electric locomotives, and a number of mules. The publication also states that this was a shaft mine. (May 2004 image by author)


When I visited Provident I didn't notice this type of coal company house. But this picture was supposed to have been taken in Provident. The houses had four rooms, cement basements, electric lights, and the rent charged around 1912-1913 was $9 per month plus another $1 for electricity. (Circa 1912 American Iron and Steel Institute image via Google Books)


One of the few remaining gob piles along Wheeling Creek in Belmont County. Almost all of the mines in this "hollow" have been reclaimed, but one can determine from looking at all of the abandoned mine lands that the area was once a tremendous source of coal. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Houses probably built by the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company at Barton, OH. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Barton is still functioning for the descendents of the many immigrants that came to the Pittsburgh No. 8 Coalfield a century ago. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Coal miners' homes in Dillonvale, OH, where the Dunglen Coal Co. operated the mine. Hannah Coal Company, a subsidiary of Consolidtation Coal Company and the major coal company in Jefferson and Harrison Counties in the 1940s and '50s, operated the Dillonvale No. 1 mine. (Mar. 2004 image by author)


Monument in front of the bowling alley in Dillonvale. Hannah Coal Company was the operator of the Dun Glen No. 11 mine and preparation plant. (Mar. 2004 image by author)


Newtown, OH, a coal mining camp built for the families of miners of Hanna Coal Company's Dunglen mine. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


The interior and staff of Hanna Coal Company's store in Willow Grove, OH, including store manager Hunter Brown on the right. (Image courtesy of the Brown family)


(Image courtesy of the Brown family)


Former coal camp houses at Lafferty, Ohio. (Image by others)

Bill writes, "When I was growing up, along Rt. 78, between Woodsfield and Clarington on the Ohio River, there were 5 or 6 portals punched into the north hillsides along the road. They were no longer used, and a couple of them had cave-ins that closed them off. Dad told me those mines were dug by the local residents to get coal for home use in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A lot of the farmers cut the locust trees off their land then and sold them for mine props. I was always told that locust would not rot even if it was under water. I know that it made good fence posts. A lot of strip mining went on in Belmont Co., and a little in Monroe. You could see the top of the boom of The Gem of Egypt sticking up over the hills when you went North on Rt. 800 from Barnesville. Dad's brother lived in Adena, OH in the early '40's, and when we went to visit there, Uncle Al would always take us to watch the shovels work where they were stripping... There is currently a big flail going on in Belmont Co., Smith Twp, OH. New Century Mining wants to long wall under the Dysart Woods near Centerville. The woods are the last remaining patch of old growth forest in Southeastern Ohio, and the residents there are fighting to stop the longwall for fear that it will damage or kill the trees, or even make them cave into the mine. The New Century portal is the old Y & O in Belmont Co., near Beallsville which is in Monroe Co. Another Belmont Co. mine that I know is still in operation is #6 near Alledonia in Washington Twp."

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