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UPPER YOUGHIOGHENY COALFIELD

This field exists mostly in Maryland, but a small portion of it extends into West Virginia.

There has been deep mining and strip mining in this coalfield, but nowhere near the scale of the Potomac and Georges Creek Coalfields. Mining has chiefly been in the Upper Freeport and Lower Kittanning seams of coal, but the Clarion and Bakerstown have also been mined. This small coal basin was blessed to have the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad running through it. (This later became the Mountain Subdivision of the Chessie rail system.) Until ~1960 a shortline railroad, the Preston Railroad, served several coal mines and connected with the B&O north of Crellin. According to Vagel Keller's research, in December 1977 there were 28 deep mines in the Maryland portion of this coalfield. This sounds like a lot for this small coal field, but this was at the height of the American energy boom at that time.

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This historic company store, constructed in 1896, is still in existance at Crellin, MD. In addition to coal mining activities, Crellin was also the site of the Preston Lumber Company Mill, which was the largest sawmill in the state. I have also seen it listed as the Preston Lumber and Coal Company. The Kendall Lumber Co., Preston's successor, later logged in the area. The Preston Railroad was developed to take the lumber to market, and the first coal at Crellin was mined to fuel their locomotive. When the saw mill closed the coal mines continued to produce. So Crellin was a company town, but not just a coal town. Rather, it was a multi-faceted company town similar to the one I saw at Haydenville, Ohio.


I was told that these houses in Crellin were built by the coal company, probably the Stanley Coal Company, named for Stanley Ashby. The original Crellin mines closed around 1960. Later mining in the area ceased around the early 1990s. Another one of the coal companies that operated around Crellin was the Kray Coal Company an acronym for operators Kendall, Ream, Ashby and Yutzy. Thanks to both Dave Cathell and an unidentified gentleman sitting on his front porch in Crellin (lower right of photo) for this information.

Other short lived mining operations in the Crellin area were the Sheild Run Coal Company's Bachtel mine in the 1950s, and also Bantam Coal Company's mine, in the 1960s. The Callis Coal Company's Callis mine, however, was operated from 1950 until 1970.


Mine of the Taylor-Offutt Coal Company near Oakland, MD. This fuzzy photo was taken above the drift portal of the mine. The coal came out of the coal mine, went across the coal company's bridge over the Youghiogheny River, and went up by haulage system the incline seen on the other side of the river. At the top of that hill it was loaded into B&O rail cars.


Ruins of the Dorsey Coal Company's Ashby coal mine tipple. This was a small drift mine, probably in the Upper Freeport coal, which outcrops along the creeks here. This looks like a simple tipple where the end of the coal cars struck the "horns" and dumped their contents out. This has likely been reclaimed by now. (1981 photo by C. Crawford, Maryland State Archives)


An old ad for coal car horns that were probably similar to the one at the Ashy coal tipple.


An old coal mine car dumper in the woods near Crellin. An effort was being made by Crellin Elementary School to have this relocated and preserved. (Image courtesy of Crellin Elementary)


In 1922 the Maryland Geological Survey listed the Upper Youghiogheny Coalfield as having 3 commercially shipping coal mines and 7 local "farmer" coal mines (coal mines that were worked by a small crew that produced a small amount of coal for local use):

Shipping mines:

*Pendergast and Ashby Coal Company

*Snowy Creek Coal Company

*Turner and Douglas Coal Company

Farmer mines:

*Ashby's mine

*Beeghley mine

*Browning mine

*Chisholm mine

*Lance Bros. mine

*Leighton mine

*Shaeffer mine

*Tower mine


This photo, titled "Abandoned Coal Mine, Garrett County, Maryland," illustrates what is meant by "country bank" or "farmer" coal mines. (Photo by Theodor Jung, FSA/OWI collection of Library of Congress)


A small portion of this coalfield bleeds over into Preston County, WV.


The Stanley Coal Company's Banner Mine at Turner-Douglas, W.Va. was in the Upper Freeport seam. A photo of the Turner-Douglas coal camp cannont be found, but this picture shows how the Banner Mine tipple looked in the mid-1950's, not long before it closed. Banner Mine is often listed as being located in Maryland. But the portal, town, and most of the mine workings were in W.Va. (Image by Art Huneke via Dave Cathell's websites)

The Banner mine was actually opened by the Turner-Douglas Coal Co. in 1919. By 1923 the Stanley Coal Co. had taken ownership of the mine. Author John A. Grant described the mining operation: "It was not practical to run the big 'motors' into every spot where coal was being dug, so mine ponies were used to pull loaded cars to a gathering place where the 'motor' could pick the coal up to be hauled out to the tipple. The mine was gradually enlarged into nearby coal mines. For economic reasons the Stanley Coal Company maintained the same tipple at Turner-Douglas but enlarged the underground rail system until motors were pulling mine cars for several mines."

The Kendall Lumber Co. operated some coal mines in this hollow, too, as did the Kildow Coal Co.


Vintage scene at the Turner-Douglas coal mine. The bars over the tracks are probably trolley wire supports, and a slate dump is in the left background. (The Glades Star image)


About 1/2 mile into W.Va. Oakland Coal and Coke Co. operated a mine and beehive coke works at Corinth. The Lower Kittanning coal was coked in these ovens. This home at Corinth was probably a coal company house. (Image by others)

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