Dawson was not a coal company town. Rather, it was an independent town on the bank of the Youghighoeny River that served the surrounding coal and coke operations. Nearby were the coal mines and coke works of Fort Hill, Rainey, Jackson, and Sterling No. 1 and No. 2. In the 21st Century Dawson is not exactly booming. But many residents have done a good job preserving the 1870 - 1920 architecture.

May 2018 image by author

Some of the structures in Dawson are architectural gems. The building on the left was the First National Bank, and the house on the right was built for coal and coke baron James Cochran.

May 2018 image by author

Another view of the James Cochran house. Mr. Cochran, with his brother Samuel, were pioneers in the Connellsville coke industry, and they owned coal and coke operations such as the Washington Works at Star Junction, and the Nellie Works near Vanderbilt.

May 2018 image by author

This grand structure was originally the First National Bank. It also contained offices of some of the local coal and coke companies, such as the Washington Coal and Coke Co., and even some residential apartments.

May 2018 image by author

Coal baron Philip Cochran's name is on the Methodist church which he endowed.

May 2018 image by author

Historic homes beside the railroad tracks.

May 2018 image by author

The National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Dawson Historic District states, "Some of the houses, especially along Gallen, Laughlin, and Strickler Streets appear to be company-built houses, each with four window openings, gable roof, full length from porch with chamfered porch posts and two-over-two windows." But, having studied coal and coke maps and towns from this area, I'm not so sure.

July 2009 image by edenpictures

This mansion, named Linden Hall, was built in 1913 for James Cochran's widow Sarah. It contains 35 rooms, 27 fireplaces, 13 baths, and an indoor bowling alley.


United States, Dept. of Interior, National Park Service. Piper, Clinton E. "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for "Dawson Historic District", 1997.