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COVERDALE, PA (MINE NO. 8)

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Few residents in Bethel Park, PA probably realize that this structure in their town was once the bath house for the Pittsburgh Terminal Railroad and Coal Company's No. 8 Mine. This mine, in the Pittsburgh seam, was opened in September 1920, and mining continued into the late 1940s. In 1921 the mine employed 150 men underground and 20 men above ground. (Jan. 2010 image by author)


Once the hoist house for the No. 8 mine, this building has been transformed for commercial use. Besides this and the bath house, all other structures from the No. 8 mine - tipple foundations, fan, rail spur, slate dump - have been removed, and the area has been enveloped in suburbia. (Jan. 2010 image by author)


This is the 350 TPH coal mine tipple (constructed by Heyl & Patterson) when the mine was active. The hoist house next to the tipple is the same building shown above that is now painted pale yellow. This mine also had it's own power house. Many mines generated their own electricity, but some purchased it from utility companies. (Coal Age image via Google Books)


This is an engineering drawing showing elevation and plan views of the Coverdale coal tipple appeared in Coal Age in 1922. The tipple originally contained shaker screens, picking tables, weighing baskets, and a scale house. (Coal Age image via Google Books)


Coal Age ran a story about these unusual circular picking tables in the tipple. As you can see, one table is for "lump" coal and one is for "nut" coal. (Circa 1922 Coal Age image via Google Books)


The immense head frame of the shaft. At Coverdale one shaft was used for both coal and workers, whereas some mines had a separate "man shaft." (Circa 1921 The Coal Industry image via Google Books)


Antique picture showing the bottom of the concrete-lined 347' mine shaft. Although four coal cars are shown, two cars would be brought up together and dumped simultaneously at the top of the tipple. Regarding the Coverdale No. 8 mine the journal The Coal Industry wrote about "the installation of small, white painted gates which open inward at all points where cross entries meet the main haulways. This simple device prevents the man who may be in a hurry from stepping suddenly from the cross entry on to the tracks of the haulage way and possibly in front of a moving trip. Being forced to pause long enough to pull the gate toward him before passing through, he has ample time for warning in case of approaching traffic on the rails." The article also stated that the Pittsburgh seam in the Coverdale mine was 60" thick, and that the impure and worthless "rooster coal" above the main coal vein was not mined. (Circa 1922 Coal Age image via Google Books)


A Pittsburgh Terminal employee using a "rock dusting" machine to coat the walls of the Coverdale No. 8 mine with pulverized limestone. Underground equipment used in this coal mine in 1921 included two 6-ton gathering locomotives, one 6-ton haulage locomotive, three Goodman shortwall machines, and three Jeffrey breast cutting machines. (Circa 1925 Coal Trade Bulletin image via Google Books)


The Coverdale patch town that housed the miners of the No. 8 mine , now a part of Bethel Park, PA. (Jan. 2010 image by author)


These two-story "shotgun" houses are the most common structure in the Coverdale patch. (Jan. 2010 image by author)


Two-story houses at Coverdale when they were new. They were electrified from the start, and their residents charged a nominal fee for that convenience. Coverdale houses also featured indoor running water, outdoor toilets with concrete vaults leading to sanitary sewer pipes, coal sheds, and chicken houses. (Circa 1921 image from The Coal Industry via Google Books)


These are excerpted from the actual engineering drawings for the two-story company houses shown above. (Image from The Coal Industry via Google Books)


More of the company houses built on a hillside in Coverdale. (Jan. 2010 image by author)


Another style of patch house at Coverdale is the bungalow with a pyramid roof. All of the housing in this coal company town appeared to be of the single family variety. (Jan. 2010 image by author)


Looking down a street in Coverdale in the early 1920's. The patch town is described in The Coal Industry as featuring company houses that "are very attractive and substantially built. Ten color schemes were used in painting and the usual monotony of color in mining towns is consspicuously absent. The village is laid out on a series of ridges which radiate from a common center. The scenery is that of a prosperous farming country, the roads are firm and well kept, and the aspect of the place in general is almost ideal. The surroundings are unusually pleasant and healthful. Spacious yards separate the dwellings and permit the cultivation of garden plots or flower beds and lawns. No crowding is evident, as is the case in many mining towns." (Circa 1921 image from The Coal Industry via Google Books)


The engineering drawings for the Coverdale houses with the pyramidal roof shows that these homes originally contained three rooms each. (Image from The Coal Industry via Google Books)


This was the Mutal Supply Company store at Coverdale. Coal companies in Pennsylvania used to form a separate company to handle their company store retail business. Pittsburgh Terminal Railroad and Coal Company's retail arm was the Mutual Supply Company, and this would have been the name of the stores at each of their patch towns. The stores would have been numbered the same as the mines. Thus the Coverdale store would have Been Mutual Supply Co. Store No. 8. Other coal company retail businesses were Union Supply Co. (H.C. Frick Coal & Coke), Federal Supply Co. (Pittsburgh Coal Co.), Eureka Supply Co. (Berwind-White Coal Mining Co.), and Clearfield Supply Co. (Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co.), among others. Why did the companies do this? In 1911 the U.S. Immigration Commission explained: "As conducted in the mining regions of western Pennsylvania, the company store system is usually an evasion of the law, and is a means of exploiting immigrants and other employees. These company stores, strictly speaking, are not owned and managed by the same corporate body which owns and operates the coal mines, since the laws of Pennsylvania forbid a coal-mining company to own and operate such stores. In actual practice, however, they are very closely related to the coal-mining company. In most cases a separate corporation is organized, composed of some or all of the principal stockholders of the mining business at the mining plants of the coal company. In a few instances the stores are owned by individuals who are members of the mining company. In still other cases a third company owns the stock of both the mining company and the supply company. While the stores are therefore not legally the property of the coal-mining company, they are usually the property of some or all of the same interests as is the coal company. "(Circa 1921 image from The Coal Industry via Google Books)


This statue of a coal miner outside of the nearby Jugo-Slav Club honors the memories of miners of Pittsburgh Terminal Mine No. 8 and No. 3. The Jugo-Slav Club was founded in 1929 "to maintain club rooms, reading rooms and a library for the promotion of Americanism and for the education of those of foreign birth who have become citizens." (Image courtesy of Rick Sebak and Pittsburgh Magazine)

Below are two aerial photographs of Coverdale - one from the 1930's and one from the 21st Century - comparing what used to be and what remains of Coverdale.


(May 1939 image courtesy of Penn Pilot)


(Image by others)


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