2018 image by author

Former coal company houses for the miners of the Vesta No. 7 Mine near West Brownsville, Pa. Vesta Coal Co. was a coal mining subsidiary of J&L Steel. They controlled huge acreages of coal lands in southeastern Washington County, Pa.

Dec. 2007 image by author

Mule stable, lamp house, and pump house remaining from H.C. Frick Coal and Coke's mine at Ralph, PA. The high quality metallurgical coal from the Ralph mine was transported by underground conveyors to the Palmer Dock for shipment down the Monongahela River to the Clairton coke ovens until the mine was closed in the 1950s. In this picture a few of the patch houses can be seen on the hill above the mine buildings.

July 2002 image by author

This is what's left of the Crystal coal company village, built around 1900. The United Connellsville Coke Co. had 120 coke ovens there. Where are they now? Other companies to operate at Crystal include Sackett Coke Co. and Hekla Coal Co.

Image courtesy of Wes C.

The remains of the coke works at Fairbank, PA, an operation of Struthers Coke Co. or Struthers Furnace Co.

July 2002 image by author

Company store and a few company houses remain at Outcrop, PA, Springfield Township, where long ago coal was mined and transported to the coke ovens by aerial tramway. Rich Hill Coke Co. opened Outcrop in 1901.

Image scanned by author; materials courtesy of Tony Graziani at USX Resources

H.C. Frick Coke Company's mines began shipping coal to US Steel's Clairton by-product coke plant in the 1920s. The coal was delivered to coal barges from an underground conveyor system to the Colonial Dock, shown here in 1955.

Image courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly Campus

A postcard of the Colonial Beltline, used by U.S. Steel until 1961.

April 2009 image by author

St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church with the company houses of the Gridnstone patch in the background. I think this church is a mission church from St. Peter Parish in Brownsville. This part of the Grindstone patch is called Old Hill, and another section of housing not shown in this photo is New Hill. The coal mine and coke yard at Grindstone was Colonial No.4, which, after being operated by the Pittsburgh Coal Company for a number of years, was purchase by Frick in 1911. The name came from the Grindstone School House because it featured a grindstone on its gable.

Image courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly Campus

A vintage picture of the Lambert mining camp, where the American Steel and Wire Co. had over 400 ovens in blast at one time.

Image scanned by author; materials courtesy of Tony Graziani at USX Resources

The dedication pamphlet from the opening of the Robena Prep Plant from 1946. Mining at Robena began in 1943 when Frick Coke drove two entries under the Monongela River from the Ronco mine in Fayette County. At the time it was the largest coal mine in the nation.

Image scanned by author; materials courtesy of Tony Graziani at USX Resources

The first barge of coal loaded at Robena, H.C. Frick Coke Co., Mid-1940s.

2000 image Courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly Campus

The last days of the Robena barge loadout

April 2009 image by author

What remained at Robena in the 21st Century.

John writes, "I used to work at Robena , Cumberland and Dilworth mines. I thought you would have more to read about

Robena, being that it was the biggest mine in the USA at one time. I worked at Colvin shaft. There was something like 8 or 9 shafts. Lots of guys worked there. I only worked there 4 years, then it closed in 1982, I think. I went to Cumberland mine for maybe a year and ended up at Dilworth mine until it closed a few years ago. Sad to see them all closing. Did you know that off the bottom of Colvin shaft there was a big motor barn? It was made out of red bricks. When you walked in it you thought you were in a REAL BIG garage outside. It had rails going in and out of it where they pulled motors in and worked on them. They had lots of motors that pulled wagons - 10 toners, 20 toners, 50 tons. Some of the motors had a spool on them with 50 or 100 foot of cable to hook to the trolly wire. If they had to go beyond the trolly wire they would use their cable. What's funny is I can remember running a buggy there. They would have their trip setting on the ramp. When you pulled your buggy up onto the ramp to dump coal you had a cable to pull to make the wagons move up so you could dump your load of coal. The cable you pulled was connected to a big winch up the tracks away. SOMETIMES the motor crew would forget to unhook the winch cable when they would pull the trip out of the section. They would drag that winch down the tracks with the trip. MAN the dust would be flying. Funny how you remember little things like that."

Image courtesy of Sam Baker

Remains of the Ceylon Road Shaft for Robena mine. There was an electrical substation, a fan ,and a bathhouse here.

Image courtesy of Sam Baker

Detail of the Robena Ceylon Road Shaft.

Mar. 2018 image by author

At the site of the former Colvin Shaft of Robena Mine now sits this treatment facility to treat the acid mine drainage (AMD) from the shaft.

Aug. 2002 image by author

This was part of the Dilworth mine at Rice's Landing, PA. Dilworth was originally an H.C. Frick Coke & Coke Co. operation (and later U.S. Steel) dating back to the 1920's. Later Consol was the owner. It was still open when this photo was taken, but was closed at the end of 2002 due to exhaustion of reserves. This was one of the last Klondike Coalfield mines to close.

Aug. 2002 image by author

1998 image courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly Campus

This photo taken at the Dilworth Mine shows how the lamphouse got it's name

July 2004 image by author

One of the few active coal enterprises remaining in the Klondike Field is this facility at Alicia, PA, previously owned by CONSOL. This is where coal is transferred from rail cars to river barges.

Image courtesy of Robert Deavers

Coal hopper at the ruins of the Eclipse Mine, near Elco, PA. For more photos of the ruins of this coal mine see this link.

April 2009 image by author

Ballfield and company houses at Maxwell, PA, on the banks of the Monongahela River. The workers' housing is reflective of reforms in patch construction resulting in "model towns". Evidently this was one of the last Frick Mines in Fayette County to close, being opened at least until the 1950s, and one source even says 1960.

July 2004 image by author

Ruins of the tipple at the patch of Martin, PA, one of Republic Steel's captive mines.

2012 image courtesy of Chip and Evan of SWPARE

This picture shows the remains of the Huron Water Works of Trotter Water Co. near Ronco, PA. This is the last remaining water works of the Trotter Water Co., and it was in use at least until around 1990. Built circa 1900, it is abandoned now. Trotter Water, named after the Trotter mine/patch near Connellsville, was a subsidiary of H.C. Frick Coal & Coke Co. Trotter Water Co. was needed to supply water for the coal washing and coke quenching, and also for the Frick patches. Frick Coke was so big in Fayette County that it probably seemed like a second government, with their private towns and residential and industrial infrastructure.

Bing maps image

The next time someone asks you what exactly is a Pennsylvania coal patch town, show them this picture of Chestnut Ridge, PA. Workers of the W. J. Rainey Company's Royal coal mine and coke works lived here. Thus this is one of the patch towns where the village name doesn't match the mine name.

Image source lost

July 2003 image by author