Fayette County was not only known for its coal and coke industry, but, in the 1800s, there was a small iron-makingn industry as well. An iron furnce opened named Lemont, which is French for the mountain ("le mont"). Indeed, it was at the base of Chestnut Ridge, although the date of its abandonment is unknown to me. Lemont Furnace Company was established in 1871. By 1877, over 100 coke ovens had been built to supply the local iron furnace. Lemont Furnace Company was listed as having 120 coke ovens in an 1882 issue of "The Coal Trade." In the fall of 1889 McClure Coke Company, which owned beehive coke works in other areas of the Connellsville Coal Field, purchased the ovens, and probably the Connellsville Nine Foot coal seam reserves, too. Lemont No. 1 was established as a full-blown coal and coke company town, and sold its product on the market rather than to the neighboring iron furnace, which may have been blown cold by that point. In 1890 McClure opened Lemont No. 2 coal mine and coke works. By 1895 coke king H.C. Frick had a controlling interest in McClure Coke. (The owners had attempted to sell the firm outright to Frick a few years earlier, but Frick thought the price was too high.) In 1898 a lake was constructed to supply the coke ovens with water for quenching, but it also provided water for other local purposes. In 1900 Lemont No. 1 and 2 became a part of the H.C. Frick Coke Company empire. Within a few years a Lemont No. 3 had opened, although it probably was just a coal mine without its own coke ovens. Throughout the early 20th Century, the Lemont coal mines and coke ovens continued to produce under the Frick banner, even after Frick himself passed away in 1919. There was the ususal labor strife in the 1920s. Beginning in 1934, Lemont Coal and Coke Co. leased Lemont No. 2 from H.C. Frick Coke (a subsidiary of U.S. Steel by then), although the Lemont coal mines themselves might have been depleted by then. Yough Connellsville Coal & Coke Co. leased Lemont No. 1 for a short time in the 1930s, too. Lemont No. 2 was still listed as an active operation into the late 1940s.

May 2003 image by author

Gob pile and patch housing at Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania.

May 2003 image by author

Idled coal recovery operation at Lemont Furnace.

May 2003 image by author

A pile of coke that was never shipped.

May 2003 image by author

These ash and coal refuse piles are old enought to have vegetation growing on them.

May 2003 image by author

The back of the plant with the Lemont "patch" in the background.

May 2003 image by author

Coal company-built houses at Lemont.

May 2003 image by author

Looking down a street in the Lemont patch.

May 2003 image by author

These coal and coke workers' houses may be older than the ones shown above.

Jan. 2019 image by Michael Mance

Mostly covered over coal mine portal.

2010 image by Jay

Former company store at Lemont Furnace. This was a Union Supply Company store, which was the retail arm of H.C. Frick Coke Co.

Google Street View image

Right down the road from the above store can be found this former company store. It was the original company store for Lemont No. 1 operated by Keystone Supply Ltd., which was McClure Coke Company's store division. The store was later a Union Supply Company store, too.

Google Street View image

Lemont No. 1 company houses near the No. 1 store.


Maher, Regis M. Patches of History...The 1920's & 1930's: Heyday of Fayette County Coal & Coke in Pennsylvania. Stefano's printing, 1999.

Heald, Sarah, editor. Fayette County, Pennsylvania - An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. National Park Service, 1990.

Warren, Kenneth. Waste, Wealth, and Alienation - Growth and Decline in the Connellsville Coke Industry. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.

Various annual reports on bituminous coal mining by the Pennsylvania state government dated 1875, 1891, 1893, 1897, 1908, 1933, 1934, 1934, 1943, and 1944.

Mance, Mike. Coolspring Reservoir & Lemont No. 2, 6 January 2019. http://coalandcoke.blogspot.com/2019/01/coolspring-reservoir-lemont-no-2.html. Accessed Jan 1, 2023.

Rothwell, Richard, editor. “History of the Connellsville Coke Industry.” Coal, vol. 1, ser. 13, 29 Mar. 1882. 13.

Thurston, George H. Pittsburgh's Progress, Industries, and Resources. A.A. Anderson & Son, 1886.

Saward, Frederick E, editor. “The Connellsville Coke Region.” The Coal Trade, 1882.

Nelslon's Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. S.B. Nelson, 1900.

Reese, John B. Grubbing the Bowels of the Earth. Pennsylvania State University, 1988.

“Coal Strike Situation Becomes Serious.” The Iron Age, 13 Apr. 1922.

The Black Diamond's Year Book. The Black Diamond Company, 1914.

Pennsylvania Mine Map Atlas