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LUCERNE, PA

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Circa 2016 image by James Sears

The Rochester and Pittsburg Coal and Iron Co. opened the Lucerne Mines operation and patch town in 1907. These coke ovens were some of the last beehive ovens built in America. They were constructed in 1952. They operated until 1972, when the Pennsylvania D.E.P. closed down most of the beehive coke works in the state at Lucerne Mines, Shoaf, Alverton, and Calumet.

A 1975 lawsuit regarding these ovens - Rochez Brothers vs. Pa. D.E.R. - was basically the legal precedent that slammed the door for good on beehive coke production in Pennsylvania.


Apr. 1991 image by Jet Lowe, Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)

This tipple at Lucerne Mines was standing just a few years ago, but it must have been destroyed. Who would do such a terrible thing?


Nov. 2002 image by author

Ruins of the refuse conveyor,with the slate dump in the background, at Lucerne Mines.


Nov. 2002 image by author

Part of the large Lucerne Mines patch.


Image courtesy of Allen

Allen was nice enought to contribute this picture of the refuse conveyor that has been demolished at Lucerne Mines. In the background is Penelec's coal-fired Homer City Electric Generating Station.


Apr. 1991 image by Jet Lowe, Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)

Abandondoned refuse conveyor, railroad trestle, and slate dump.


NEARLY TWO DECADES LATER I REVISITED LUCERNE MINES.


Mar. 2021 image by author

This industrial structure on the edge of Lucerne Mines was Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company's power house for not only the Lucerne mines, but also to power their coal mining operations at Iselin, Aultman, Ernest, McIntyre, Coal Run, Luciousboro, Yatesboro, Waterman, and Tide. Electric lines were also extended to Indiana, Pa., where it powered the local street car system.


Mar. 2021 image by author

This end of the former power house shows an addition that was added in 1940. The power house gave 54 years of service before being shut down in 1964. By that time the power house's 25-cycle current had become an anachronism.


Mar. 2021 image by author

Sections of an old coal conveyor sitting next to the power house.


Mar. 2021 image by author

Most of the company houses are still extant in various stages of alteration.


Mar. 2021 image by author

These "patch" houses appear to be slightly smaller than the ones shown above.


Mar. 2021 image by author

Even smaller coal town homes.


Mar. 2021 image by author

I have seen this wood siding on several company houses at Lucerne Mines. It may have been installed by R&P many years ago.


Mar. 2021 image by author

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church was founded in 1912. As of 2021 it is still active.


Mar. 2021 image by author

A Marian shrine behind the church.


Mar. 2021 image by author

Next to the church can be found the Saint Louis Cemetery.

Sources:

Rose, Kenneth, editor. Indiana County, Pennsylvania; An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. 1993.


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