ISABELLA, PA


Bird's eye view of Isabella showing the patch houses in the upper left, the tipple ruins and barge loadout on the Monongahela River in the lower left, and the huge refuse pile on the right. Many of the original company houses have been torn down. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Virtual Earth)


Bird's eye view of Isabella, PA from many years ago. (From the book "King Coal" by Stan Cohen, and the WVU archives)


This section of the Isabella tipple is still in existance today. The mine and patch at Isabella were built during the years around 1910.


The other side of the tipple at Isabella. There was more to the tipple at one time. That is not a refuse pile in the background - that is a refuse mountain.


This picture is of the old barge loadout at Isabella. The mine and town are on the banks of the Monongahela River.


Most of the buildings that made up the Isabella coal mining complex are gone today. However, this shop building is still there. Supposedly there were rectangular coke ovens at Isabella. Only a few small piles of bricks and pieces of coke remain of the Isabella coke yard, which was adjacent to the mine.


Many people still inhabit the somewhat isolated Isabella patch town. Isabella was one of the last major coal mines in Fayette County, being closed by National Mines Corporation sometime after the 1970s.

Ted writes, "I grew up in Isabella; I was born in '74 and lived in the patch during the period it went from an operational mine to an abandoned industrial area; My grandfather, Alex Skakandy, worked in the mine cutting coal underground on a continuous miner and retired just before the mine shut down in the early 80s. My grandfather was the son of immigrants, but he was born in America ... I do know that his side of the family was Russian. After the mine closed, the mine buildings and the large slate dump became a playground of sorts for the kids in the patch, with the slate dump being very popular for dirt bikers. In the summer we would fish from the steel/concrete barge tie-ups in the river (at least one had a metal access walkway from the bank; you may have seen it when you were taking photos of the tipple). To get to this section of the river, you had to cross mine property, which after the mine shut down, was guarded on and off at times by hired guards so we always felt like we were running the guantlet to get to the river. Eventually most of the mine buildings were demolished - I remember sadly watching some of the demolition from the parking lot next to the Fire Hall which overlooked the mine site - but the tipple was left standing. I moved away from the patch permanently in the early/mid 90s due to college, but still occasionally visit the area. Just last weekend, a few friends and I kayaked down the Monongahela River from Adah to East Fredericktown and along the way we passed under the Isabella tipple. There were about 4 or 5 kids diving off the concrete platform there - funny to see that kids are still playing there."


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