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MISC. WINDBER FIELD

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Former Berwind-White Coal Company office in downtown Windber, Pennsylvania. Windber was one of the rare coal company towns that wasn't just a coal patch town. Rather it was a full-blown commercial town, with Berwind-White's smaller patch towns surrounding Windber. (June 2003 image by author)


This was Berwind-White Coal Company's main company store in Windber, PA - the Eureka Department Store. It is perhaps the largest company store I have ever seen. (July 2004 image by author)



This centrifugal mine fan is still extant at the site of Johnstown Coal and Coke's coal preparation complex at Allendale, PA. This is a different design than the axial vane mine fan. (Mar. 2004 image by author)


Unfortunately, this tipple that was at the same site in Allendale has been torn down. (Mar. 1988 image by Jet Lowe, HAER, Library of Congress)


Part of the coal mining village of Beaverdale, PA, where the Logan Coal Company operated. Michael Costanzo writes, "I came across your website looking for historical information about the Johnstown Coal & Coke Company. I was shocked to find photos of tiny little Beaverdale, PA - even more shocked to see in your photograph my grandparents' old house. My family has a long history in Beaverdale; my great-grandfather died in a mining accident at the Beaverdale mine in 1956. According to my grandfather, Beaverdale was a private town, although the Logan Coal Company built stretches of worker housing throughout the town. The housing in your picture along Jefferson Avenue was Logan-built housing, including my grandparents' house. He said that further up Jefferson Avenue, in the opposite direction of the photo, the housing was private, not company-built. They also built some housing in the village of Onnalinda, further down PA-869 on the way to Blue Knob State Park and what he calls 'the Shaft house on the road to Portage.' My mother thinks that is on the road across the creek in Beaverdale near the Roman Catholic cemetery. My great-grandparents moved into the house in the late 1920's when it was still owned by Logan Coal. They rented their half of the duplex for many years from the coal company with rent deducted from my great-grandfather's paycheck. My grandfather said that Johnstown Coke and Coal took over the mines in Beaverdale sometime in the 1940's. In 1953, the houses were placed up for sale and the miners that were renting were given the first option to purchase their half of the duplex or the entire home. My great-grandparents bought their half and my grandparents bought the other half. The store in the background of the picture was in fact a company store. My mother said it was a company store through the late 1950s until it became a private store. My grandmother worked there when it was owned by the Mihalik family in the 1960's." (Mar. 2004 image by author)


Mine ruins and gob pile at Beaverdale. (Mar. 2004 image by author)


St. Michael Orthodox Church in Portage, PA was founded in 1915. (Image courtesy of oca.org)


The Maple Ridge, PA patch town, up the track from Hollsopple, operated by the Maple Ridge Coal Co. This may have actually been a subsidiary of the Shallmar Coal Company. Several seams of coal were mined at Maple Ridge, but all mines closed by the 1940's. (Jul. 2002 image by author)


Today only the company-built patch houses, but not the coal mining complex, remain at Gray, PA. Consolidation Coal Co. built Gray in 1913 for the miners of their mines No. 123 and No. 124, not far from their mines at Jenners. Mining ended in 1959 or 1960. (Apr. 2009 image by author)


Large single family company houses at Wilbur, PA, built by the Wilbur Coal Mining Company during the 1910s, housed the workers of the Knickerbocker No. 3 and No. 4 mine. Deep mining at Wilbur ended in the 1950's, but surface mining of the coal continued for many years. (Aug. 2004 image by author)


A coal company town named Quecreek, PA. Quemahoning Creek Coal Company built Quecreek in 1913. There were three eras of coal mining at Quecreek. 1. From 1913 when the Que Creek No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 mines were producing. 2. From 1930 until 1964 the Saxman Coal and Coke Corporation operated the mines at Quecreek. The 1964 date was given to me by Ed Saxman, the son of the operator of the Saxman Mines, and he says the 1957 date often given for the Saxman mine's closing is incorrect. 3. The third and latest episode of coal mining at Quecreek was Black Wolf Coal Company's Quecreek Mine, which gained national attention when nine miners were trapped in it because of an inundation of water in July 2002. (Apr. 2009 image by author)


I was surprised to stumble on this site along Route 985, which I did not know was there. This is the Quecreek Mine rescue site preserved as a roadside historical monument. Pennsylvania State Route 985 is in the background. About the Quecreek Mine disaster Ed Saxman writes, "As you recall, the current Quecreek mine used an out-of-date map of the Saxman mine which didn't show all the workings. At the time, it was alleged by the press that the Saxman mine had falsified the maps. A month later, a map marked 'final' was found at the Windber Area Coal Museum, having been donated only months before then by the family of the mine inspector, Clyde Maize, who retired in 1970 and died in 1976. When the Quecreek map and Saxman maps were compared, the workings touched - exactly where the breach occured. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Several years later, other copies of the maps were found in the possession of the owner of the coal being mined (as it was being mined under lease), Consol Energy, Inc. In 2002, Pennsylvania state officials also seemed to want to blame the Saxman mine for the incident. But the final report of the federal Mine Safety & Health Administration absolved the Saxman mine... (source). Well, thank goodness all survived - not just the nine men trapped for 76 hours, but also the other crew of nine that got out after wading through water-flooded passeges for four hours. Also, the global mine industry had a wake-up call about the dangers with old mines, and new map archive procedures and practices have been implemented all over, so some good came of the whole affair."


Detail of the rescue shaft and air hole at the Quecreek rescue site. There are actually two shaft holes, one out of view in this photo. The rescue cage itself, which was shipped to Pennsylvania from the MSHA Mine Acadamy near Beckley, WV, survives in the Windber Coal Heritage Center.


Monument in front of the Sipesville Fire Hall for the 9 coal miners rescued from the flooded Quecreek mine. (Jan. 2003 image by author)


An example of a modern day coal mining operation is Rosebud Mining's No. 78 prep plant on the Somerset-Cambria County line. The plant processes the Upper Kittaning coal from Mine No. 78, which was previously a captive mine of Bethlehem Steel that closed in the late 1980s. Rosebud reopened the mine in 2007 and the plant was completed in 2008. (Apr. 2009 image by author)


Sam sent in this photo of acid mine drainage around the Hughes borehole near Cassandra, PA, about which he writes, "As for the borehole, you can smell it from a half a mile away." (Image courtesy of Sam Baker)


A surface coal mine in northern Somerset County, PA in 2003. (Mar. 2003 image by author)


This building was a pump station for Eureaka No. 30 mine near Windber. (2015 image courtesy of G.S.)


Birds eye view of the Eureka No. 37 coal mining patch near Windber, PA. A small portion of the huge slate dump is at the top of the picture. Below that can be seen some mining building ruinis. Then a section of the coal camp houses is at the bottom of the image. Berwind White Coal Mining Company opened the Eureka No. 37 coal mine in 1899 and started constructing the company town for the mine the next year. (Image by others)


Gob pile and company-built houses in Bens Creek, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Many coal companies mined coal at Bens Creek, including Bens Creek Sonman Coal Company. (Image by others)


Remains of Red Bird coal mine and patch town on the edge of Portage, PA. (Image by others)


As this old map attests, the Windber Coalfield contained some of the highest quality bituminous coal in Pennsylvania. (Circa 1959 map from the "Atlas of Pennsylvania Coal and Coal Mining, Part 1, Bituminous Coal")


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