CONNELLSVILLE COALFIELD

This famed coalfield was centered around the segement of the Pittsburgh seam that ran from Latrobe to Fairchance and was known as the "Nine Foot" or "Connellsville" seam. The coal was soft, easily mined, in a pure thick seam (up to 120-130 inches), and was nationally known as some of the finest high-volatile metallurgical coal in the world. Sporadic use of it in Pennsylvania iron furnaces from the 1810's blossomed into a beehive coke industry in the 1860s. By the 1910s there were over 40,000 beehive and rectangular coke ovens in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties. At that time these two counties mined one-third of all the coal in Pennsylvania and one-ninth of all the coal in the U.S.A. A large portion of these coal mines and coke works were owned by the H.C. Frick Coke Co., after 1903 a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. After World War 1 the trend was by-product coke production. Coke production in the field declined until the last beehive coke works in Calumet and Shoaf were closed in 1972. An experimental coke works in Alverton was shut down in 1982. The D.E.P. closed these operations because they couldn't meet new clean air standards. Coal mining declined to the point where there are no deep mines in Fayette and Westemoreland Counties anymore. The "Nine Foot" section of the Pittsburgh seam of coal is almost exhuasted, and coal mining in the field now is relegated to smaller scale stripping of the Redstone and Sewickley seams.


THE TOWNS:

ADELAIDE

ALVERTON

BAGGALEY

BESSEMER

BITNER

CALUMET

CARPENTERTOWN

COALBROOK

COLLIER

CONTINENTAL NO. 2

CONTINENTAL NO. 3

GRACE

HOPE

LEISENRING NO. 1

LEISENRING NO. 2

LEMONT FURNACE

McCLURE

MAMMOTH

MARGUERITE

MONARCH (LEISENRING NO. 3)

MOREWOOD

MUTUAL

OLIPHANT FURNACE

OLIVER

OWENSDALE

PHILLIPS

REVERE

SHOAF

SOUTHWEST (HECLA NO. 1)

STANDARD

TARRS

TRAUGER (HECLA NO. 2)

UNITED

VALLEY (EVERSON AREA)

WHITNEY

WYNN

MISC

MISC 2


WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA COALFIELDS

APPALACHIAN COALFIELDS HOME

In "Wealth, Waste, and Alienation" Kenneth Warren said, "Here and there by the roadside are half-hidden structures overrun by wild vegetation. One may see ghostlike behind bare winter branches or a patch of scrubland, a strangely located, long, straight, and obviously man-made embankment, its top and side pierced by a regular pattern of holes. In exceptional cases there are great ramparts of brickwork, curving to fit the contours of the land surface, sometimes with abandoned loading gear, tools, and even railroad cars strewn along their length. Nearby, often in what appear to be anomalous posistions, is a small group of houses or the empty shell of a settlement of perhaps a score or more rundown, clap-boarded homes. The surface of the road is here and there broken by what was obviously once a railroad crossing; in various directions the alignments of former tracks may be made out in the scrubby woodland. Some places have piles of waste in which may be found large blocks of hard fibrous material with a distinctive blue-gray metallic glaze. Gradually, one recognizes being in the midst of a widely extending old mineral district, its relic features silently but relentlessly rotting away, a largely unremembered yet priceless part of America's industrial heritage."

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