1959 image by John Enman*

People were still living in this coal company housing at Mount Braddock when this photo was taken. Now the entire patch town is gone. Mount Braddock coal mine and coke ovens were opened in the late 1800s and had several owners. Probably the most well known operator of Mount Braddock was the W.J. Rainey Co., who had several other operations in the Connellsville Coal Field. From studying old Pennsylvania coal mining annual reports I believe Rainey had closed Mount Braddock by 1930.

Image courtesy of Laura

Laura contributes this photo taken at the W.J. Rainey Company's Mt. Braddock Mine. She writes, "My great grandfather is holding the mule. Mt.Braddock Mines in the 1920s."

1959 image by John Enman*

Hays was located between Continental No. 3 and Amend. These company houses at Hays are more like what would have been found in the West Virginia and Kentucky coalfields.

Mar. 2023 image by author

Some of the Hays company houses are still in existence. The Hays mine was owned by R.B. Hays Coal Company, and was actually in the Sewickly seam of coal, rather than the Connellsville section of Pittsburgh coal that defined this coalfield. This coal camp wasn't built until 1920. In the 1930s the Hays mine was leased to Shady Side Fuel Co.

Jan. 2019 image by author

As an illustration of the wealth that was created for a select few in the Connellsville Coal Field here is the former mansion of coal baron Josiah V. Thompson. The estate was originally known as Oak Hill, but is now a Catholic monastery.

2018 image by author

This was probably the company store at Morgan, and may date back to the 1870s. I have a map of coke works in the area dated 1893 and it does show a store in this approximate location. The store may have served several of the surrounding coal and coke works, such as Frick works, Foundry, Eagle, and White. Nearby Summit mine (now Owensdale) had its own company store.

Feb. 2005 image by author

Boreholes in a field next to the Youngstown patch (background) in North Union Township are actually monitoring wells for an underground coal fire that has been burning for thirty years.

Image courtesy of Noreen

Noreen contributed this photograph and writes, "I understand this is the Bumblebee Mine. My uncle tells me Bumblebee was located about 1/4 mile up the railroad from the Shoaf mine."

Image courtesy of Noreen

Another great picture from Noreen, this one of Hope, Pennsylvania, which she describes, "This is Hope taken in 1932. The first building on the left is a tavern. I believe this is still standing. In the far back on the left side of the picture, you will see several 2-story white houses. These houses were on the road that would take you to Uniontown. This dirt road ended at Hope."

Image courtesy of Noreen

Noreen sent in what is probably the only surviving photograph of the coke ovens at Hope. "My father took this picture of the Hope ovens - I recognize his handwriting on the front of the picture."

Mar. 2003 image by author

This loadout on the edge of the city of Connellsville appears active from a distance, but on closer inspection seems idle.

Dec. 2002 image by author

Derelict stripping shovel sitting on the edge of Fairchance.

Dec. 2002 image by author

Patch houses on the left and coke oven ruins on the right at Marguerite, Pa. The town, mine, and coke works was constructed by the Standard Connellsville Coke Company in the 1897-1900 period. Naturally, the H.C. Frick Coal and Coke Co. eventually took over the operations. The King Brothers Coal & Coke Company were the last operators of the Marguerite mines, finally closing them in the 1950s.

Apr. 2003 image

21st Century coal mining in the Connellsville Coke Field - high quality bituminous coal, probably from the Sewickley seam, stockpiled at the Burd Surface Mine.

Donna Myers of the Dunbar, PA Historical Socitey contributed this picture, about which she writes, "Our historical society is rebuilding a coke oven from original unused stock from the Shoaf and Shamrock ovens which we purchased from the owner." It looks like they will leave the beehive part exposed for educational purposes. So a big pat on the back to the volunteers of D.H.S. (Sep. 2009 image courtesy of Dunbar Historical Society)

Later, in one of my wackier moments, I was thinking about how a beehive coke oven needs to be fired up occasionally to keep it structurally sound. So, thinking the PADEP would not notice it, I emailed the Dunbar Historical Society and offered to drive a pickup truck load of West Virginia metallurgical coal to Dunbar on a Friday afternoon, fire it up, and stay with it all weekend. On Sunday I was going to quench the coke, load it back in my truck and drive it down to Edgar Thomson and give it to U.S. Steel to use in their blast furnaces. (Where I'm sure the guard would say, "Is this a joke?") So the Historical Society considered my offer, then replied, "While I think the idea a great, our oven houses several implements and educational signage. I fear our insurance carrier would cancel our policy!!"

Nov. 2006 image by author

Remains of the Nellie coke works, built by Brown & Cochran Company in 1882. These coke ovens are located behind Vanderbilt, PA, where the Paul and Clarissa coke works were also once located.

Image and research by Cassandra Vivian

This overgrown house near Mount Pleasant is the last remaining patch house from the Star coal and coke works. This was originally a row of at least eleven company houses. By 1899 they were all torn down except for this one. Star was a very early operation, starting in 1871. Different owners over the years included, B. F. Coughanour, A. C. Cochran Coal & Coke Company., and McClure Coke Co.

November 2004 image by author

Mount Pleasant Township.


*John Enman papers, 1876-2013, Coal and Coke Heritage Center at Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus