Hazlett beehive coke ovens
Jan. 2003 image by author

Ruins of the Hazlett coke yard on the edge of Mount Pleasant Borough. These are some of the oldest coke oven ruins in Westmoreland County, being built in 1871 by Boyle & Hazlett Company. McClure Coke Co. operated the ovens in the 1880s. H.C. Frick Coal and Coke were the final owners of the Hazlett coke yard, which probably did not operate very far into the 20th Century.

I also viewed the ruins of the Buckeye coke works (and associated slate dump) about a half a mile up the tracks from the Hazlett ovens, although the ovens were in very poor condition.

HC Frick Coke Co. mapImage scanned from a map loaned to author by US Steel Mineral Resources, Uniontown

Frick Coke Co. map dated 1893 showing the location of the Hazlett coke yard in relation to Mount Pleasant Boro in the upper right.

Baggaley Pennsylvania company store
May 2003 image by author

Company store and patch town at Baggaley, PA, built in 1897 at the northern end of the Connellsville Coke Field by the Puritan Coke company. Of course H.C. Frick Coke eventually ended up operating it and they closed the coal mine and coke works at Baggaley in 1922.

Baggaley Pennsylvania coal patch town
Circa 1912 American Iron and Steel Institute image via Google Books

This photo of Baggaley is over a century old.

York Run fan house
Nov. 2002 image by author

This fan house between Shoaf and York Run was probably from the Smiley coal mine.

U.S. Steel Mount Braddock coal mine
Dec. 2002 image by author

Here are the remains of the last major coal mine in Fayette County: US Steel's Mount Braddock mine, which closed in the mid 1980s. There was no processing plant there, as the direct ship coal was taken to the Robena plant and blended there. They later leased the facility to another company to gob out the last of the coal barrier, but it was idle at the time of this photograph. These structures were still standing well into the 21st Century, but have been demolished now.

Owensdale Pennsylvania coal patch town
Feb. 2003 image by author

Ownensdale, Pa., a coal and coke town originally named "Summit." The Summit coke yard was constructed as a Cochran concern in 1874. H.C. Frick had nearly 150 ovens in blast there around 1880. In the background is the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad trestle.

Kyle coal mine horse stable
Image courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly campus

Horses and mules that worked in the Kyle mine run wild from their stables in this circa 1940 photograph. Not too many years later the beasts of burden disappeared from the mines, replaced by modern machinery.

2018 image by author

These coal company houses in Fairchance, Pa. were built to house the workers of the Kyle coal and coke works.

Pennsylvania Railroad bridge abutment
Feb. 2003 image by author

This bridge abutment on Jacobs Creek is one of the last remnants of the Mount Pleasant Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In the background can be discerned the old rail bed of the spur that went up to the big coke yards at Bessemer and Morewood (Southwest Nos. 1 and 2). Now this is part of the Coal and Coke walking trail.

Bessemer Pennsylvania coal patch town
Mar. 2003 image by author

The last vestige of the Bessemer patch on the edge of the shopping center between Mount Pleasant and Scottdale. The Bessemer coke plant and coal mine were opened in 1878 by C. P. Markle & Sons Coal Company. I am not sure when Bessemer shut down, but in 1900 it was reported that mining of the final section of the Bessemer mine had begun.

Bessemer Pennsylvania coal company house
Mar. 2003 image by author

Detail of the rubblestone foundation of one of the company built houses at Bessemer.

Coalbrook Pennsylania coal patch town
Dec. 2002 image by author

Here is the Coalbrook patch town, opened in 1879 (although these houses might have been built later). J.R. Torrence, and later McClure Coke Co., owned and operated Coalbrook in later years. Of course, Frick finally muscled in and was the final owner. The mine closed in 1918.

Grace Pennsylvania beehive coke ovens
Dec. 2002 image by author

These coke ovens up the track from Coalbrook were the Grace coke yard, and are among the oldest coke oven ruins in Fayette County, being built in 1875. John Moyer was operating Grace in 1880. A later operator was W.J. Rainey. The mine closed in 1927. The area is also known as Moyer.

Pennsylvania coke ovens map
Image scanned from a map loaned to author by US Steel Mineral Resources, Uniontown

1893 Frick Coke Co. map showing most of the Grace ovens. The patch town on the hill above the ovens is gone now, and a gun is club there.

Pennsville Pennsylvania beehive coke ovens
Feb. 2003 image by author

Only the scantiest remnants remain of the Pennsville coke ovens in northern Fayette County. Pennsville coke works and coal mine was opened in 1872 by A. H. Sherrick Company. Later owners included Dillinger, Sherrick & Company, A. O. Tinstman Company, and Pennsville Coke Company.

Uniontown Pennsylvania coal mine ruins
Dec. 2002 image by author

Remains of Stern Coal Company's Ball Mine, also known as the County Home Mine, on the edge of Uniontown.

H.C. Frick Connellsville
Image courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly campus

A postcard of Frick's Davidson coke works on the edge of Connellsville.

McClure Pennsylvania coal company house
Feb. 2003 image by author

This company-built house is the last remnant of the coal patch of McClure in Upper Tyrone Township. Everyone focuses on the many H.C. Frick Coke Co. operations in the Connellsville Coke Field, but McClure Coke Co. was Frick's biggest competitor before 1900. Both the Painter coke yard and the Diamond coke yard were at McClure, the former being built in 1871 by Col. Israel Painter and acquired by McClure Coke Co. in 1878. The Diamond coke works were originally operated by Lomison & Stauft. Two coke works, a whole patch town, and nothing left but this one house.

Adelaide Pennsylvania coal mine
Image ourtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly Campus

Sealed up mine entry at Adelaide, named after Frick's wife.

Pennsylvania slate dump
Image courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly campus

Call them gob piles, slate dumps, or bony piles, (or culm banks in the Anthracite coalfields) but they are the results of coal mining and coke making down through the years, and they still can be found throughout the Connellsville Field. As they are reclaimed, however, their numbers become fewer every year.

Leith Pennsylvania coal patch town
Circa 1912 American Iron and Steel Institute image via Google Books

The coal and coke companies encouraged their employees to grow gardens in the yards of their company homes, such as this one in a colorized photo from Leith, Pa.

From a April 24, 1900 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette item titled "Leaped Into A Coke Oven" - Early this morning coke workers along the Morgan yard of the plant of the H.C. Frick Coke Company saw standing on the edge of the coke ovens a tall and haggard man. As the workers gazed, he deliberately walked to the red rim of the trunnel head, looked in, and with a last gesture of farewell, directed as to heaven, brushed back his hat from his forehead and leaped into the coke oven. A flame of unusual brilliancy and length shot up through the trunnel opening, and the workmen ran to the oven. Tearing down the clay and brick doors they could see the body within the glowing furnace, writhing and seething. When the body was taken out it was unrecognizable. So far there has been no identification.