BOBTOWN, Pa. - SHANNOPIN MINE


Bird's eye view of Bobtown with the patch on the left and the ruins of the coal mine on the right. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Virtual Earth)


The superintendent's office at the Bobtown mine of Shannopin Coal Co. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


The boiler house at the Bobtown mine. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


On the left is the bathhouse at Bobtown, on the right is the lamphouse. Shannopin Coal Co. closed the mine in the early 1990s. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


Signs inside the lamphouse. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


Inside the bathhouse could still be found the baskets hanging from the ceiling that held the miners' clothes. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


The miners' shower in the Bobtown bathhouse. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


The supply shed at Bobtown was collapsing. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


Trolley wire hangers for the electric locomotive system that hauled coal from the mine to the tipple. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


The locomotive brought the coal cars down to this preparation plant on the banks of the Monongahela River. This is how it looked as viewed from Albert Gallatin's pioneer estate. Plant has since been demolished. (Apr. 2004 image by author)


The Bobtown mining camp / patch town on the hill above the mine. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


Another section of the Bobtown patch. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


This was probably the Bobtown company store. (Nov. 2002 image by author)


Sam sent in this photo, about which he writes, "I found a semi-sealed portal behind the lamphouse with stone steps coming from the patch to it." (2010 image courtesy of Sam Baker)


Sam also photographed this portal near Bobtown, and he wrote, "The portals used to be 12 foot but the AMD precipitate has built up to the current levels. The portals did not acess the J&L Steel/Shannopin mine." Another portal is about 20 feet away. (2010 image by Sam Baker)


The following photos were taken by Tom Strong:


Shannopin bath house


Inside the bath house


Probably front of lamp house


Ransacked lamp house interior


Overhead crane


Electrical details


Artificial respiration detail


Mine office lintel


Mine trip trestle


While visiting the Bobtown / Shannopin Mine I picked up a stray piece of paper titled "Status of Shannopin Mine July 1, 1988." It reads:

Productivity: Near 600 tons/shift since March 1988. Travel to and from work places averaging 80 minutes. When 5 Face mines out in May 1989 this average will jump to 100 minutes. To maintain productivity and in fact increase it, the portal must be moved to Steele Shaft as soon as possible but no later than April 1, 1989.

Ventilation: Adequate for the next two years. When Mains West gets to junction of north-south Mains and and starts developing south, new shafts will be required. They will be needed for ventilation and another portal. There is property available now to put these shafts in. We should buy it now because the owner wants to sell. Steele Shaft's two fan housings are deteriorating rapidly and are in jeopardy of collapsing in the next 12-18 months. Need contractor to repair and paint them. Same applies to No. 2 fan but time for it is less.

Conveyor Belts: 36" wide portion of mother belt taxed heavily and sometimes overtaxed. There are six bid belt mechanics, two bid belt cleaners, and a foreman assigned daily to the conveyor system. Need in next three months - 11,000 feet of 36" belting for E and H flights and power center for next segment of Mains West belt we are installing.

Track Haulage: Except for the first 1500 feet in the pit mouth, which is 90 pound rail on wooden ties, the remaining rails are 60 pound about 90% which are on ironclad ties. Moving equipment, supplies, and mantrips over this haulage leaves it very crooked. Made a very big improvement at 5 Face Mains West junction by taking down a low stretch of roof during 1988 regular vacation period. Track generally dirty. State inspector has ordered the Mine Foreman to clean the track. The track is being cleaned when the L600 is operable. It's down at this writing. Much to do yet. Can really only clean track when absenteeism is light.

Mine Drainage: There is no easy solution to this problem. It is totally independent of the Duquesne Light Co. water. We are talking about two principal bodies of water. One is building in the southwest corner of the property and soon will join the second body of water. The second boyd of water is centered at 13 Butt, 6 Flat. We have no place to get rid of these waters in the Steele Shaft area. However some day down the road we will have to find a suitable place to control all the water since it most likely will be pumped forever. More study is needed.

Due to Duquesne Light Company's water over most of our coal between 7 Face and A and B entires we have to make drastic adjustments to our projections. There is somewhere between 100 million and 500 million gallons of water in Duquesne Light Company mine. Some 4 million tons of coal will be lost if this water is not systematically removed. Because it will take 1/2 to one year to drain the water we must begin immediately. This entails a large sump, large pump, and 3 1/2 miles of pipeline to get the water out of the mine.

Mains West entries must continue to develop west to open up the mine. The west reserves should be developed and retreated before the coal in the center of the property is mined because this will (a) provide a sump for our mine water, (b) ensure we mine it before Robena water becomes a threat, and (c) if mined in the reverse order the Mains will be all there is to mine to finish the mine out.

Manpower: The UMW members of the work force are good to very good as a group. They are loading coal well and there are few labor problems. Morale is high and should remain hight. We have a very good group of salaried employees dedicated and loyal to Shannopin. However their morale is considerably lower than the UMW employees because they have not had a pay raise in 4 years.


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