St. Michael was the location of Maryland Coal Company's Maryland No. 1 mine, which was opened in 1908. It was the deepest bituminous coal shaft mine in Pennsylvania. In 1932 the Berwind-Whie Coal Co. purchased St. Michael and Maryland No. 1 mine. (Maryland No. 2 was a sister mine a few miles away in Wilmore Heights.) In 1955 Maryland No. 1 produced 519,168 tons of coal from the "B" seam, and daily capacity was 2000 tons. 1958 tonnage was only 41,720 tons, and the mine closed that year.

But there is more to St. Michael than the coal industry. St. Michael was actually a phoenix rising from the ashes of the infamous South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club, which was established in 1879 to provide a recreational getaway for wealthy Pittsburgh business leaders and their families. Their resort - replete with clubhouse, clubhouse annex, and cottages - was located on the shores of the dammed up South Fork of the Conemaugh River. Under their watch the lake's dam failed and caused the catastrophic Johnstown Flood of 1889 that resulted in the death of over 2,000 people. The South Fork dam was never rebuilt, but the remains of it can still be seen today at St. Michaels.

A view of the town of St. Michael, Pa., operated by the Berwind White Coal Company. (Mar. 2004 image by author)

Duplex patch housing, as seen in coal company towns all over Western PA. (Mar. 2004 image by author)

Former Maryland Coal Company store. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

Maryland Coal Company even built this bank at St. Michael. Why they thought a coal company town needed a bank is beyond my comprehension. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

Lintel over the bank door reads, "St. Michael National Bank," although the building now holds offices for Adams Township. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

Foundations from the Maryland No. 1 tipple. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

This was originally the South Fork Hunting and Fishing clubhouse built 1881 and enlarged in 1886. Later it was a hotel and tavern. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

This was the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Clubhouse Annex built in 1887. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

Coal company houses behind the clubhouse. Also, the coal company reconfigured some of the remaining Hunting and Fishing Club cottages into company housing for managment. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

Post card of the colliery, which is no longer existing. (Image by others)

Part of the slate dump is still there, though. (Apr. 2018 image by author)

Anyone need any red dog for their driveway? (Apr. 2018 image by author)


Fitzsimons, Gray, editor. Blair County and Cambria County, Pennsylvania; An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. 1990.

National Park Service, publisher. Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Cultural Landscapes Inventory. 2016.



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