Westmoreland County

Jul. 2002 image by author

21st Century condition of the Wilpen mining camp, near Ligonier, PA. The patch housed the workers of Shenango Furnace Company's drift mouth mine and coke ovens, which were of the rectangular design. The Baton Coal Co. was the final owner of the Wilpen mine and coke yard, and they closed the operation in 1951.

Dec. 2013 image by Mike Mance at

Remaining coke ovens that were operated by the Baton Coal Co.

Nov. 2006 image by author

Rare rectangular coke ovens at Fort Palmer,PA. The Fort Palmer Coal and Coke Co. constructed the coke works, coal mine, and patch town in 1907, but nothing remains but the ovens and building foundations and chimneys in the surrounding woods.

Apr. 2014 image by Kris Loveridge

Only ruins in the woods remain of the Fort Palmer coal mining town.

Nov. 2016 image by Mike Mance at

Ruins of the Old Colony Coal and Coke Company's coal mine at the now-vanished location of Old Colony, Pa.

Jul. 2002 image by author

This was one of the few remaining wooden tipples in the country when this photo was taken, and it was located in Clark Hollow near Ligonier, PA.

I went back in January 2003 to take a better photo of it and it was collapsed.

Joe W. writes that it "operated as late as 1986 [actually 1984]. It was a one man operation owned by Theodore Spewock of Latrobe. He would mine a few hundred tons and sell it for house coal each year. I believe he mined about 8 tons his last year. The mine opened in the 1950's and Mr. Spewock bought it in the late 50s. Hard to believe he used to push a loaded mine car (they are inside the mine apparently) up to the top of that tipple and dump it."

Circa 2001 image contributed by Marcus Wandinger of Germany

A better photo of Mr. Spewock's Clark Hollow tipple. As of 2021 he was still alive at the age of 100.

Circa 2001 image contributed by Marcus Wandinger of Germany

Rails on a ramp leading up to the Clark Hollow tipple.

Circa 2001 image contributed by Marcus Wandinger of Germany

Coal mine entrance.

Circa 2001 image contributed by Marcus Wandinger of Germany

For the first 10 years, Mr. Spewock employed two other men at his coal mine. Government regulations caused him to have to work alone, with his pony named Smokey, after 1970.


Jefferson and Indiana Counties

Nov. 2005 image by author

The ruins of Cacade Coal and Coke Company's Sykesville mine on the edge of Sykesville in Jefferson County. A gentleman in the area told me that the mine closed in 1938, yet these remnants of the mine were still extant at the time of this photo. Actually it was Powhattan Coal and Coke Company who originally constructed the mine in 1904.

1911 image courtesy of MSHA

An explosion of the Sykesville mine in 1911 caused the death of 21 people. This picture depicts the aftermath of that disaster. Judging by the size and angle of the conveyor the preparation plant must have been huge.

At least some of the Lower Freeport coal mined here was coked in the company's coke ovens across the road from the mine. Some of the ovens were beehive ovens, and some were rectangular ovens. Industrial World in 1913 announced, "The W.G. Wilkins Company, consulting engineers...are preparing plans for the erection of 200 rectangular ovens of the pusher type, for the Sykesville Coke Company, at Sykesville, near DuBois, Pa...The new ovens will parallel those of the older company ..." And the pond that was constructed above the coke works for quenching the coke is still there to this day.

The coal mine and coke ovens were shut down circa 1939. Then an intersting thing happened:

"Ed Murphy, who operates a service station south of Sykesville, recalls, 'The ovens here at Cascade Coal and Coke were shut down before World War II, and no coke was made here after that except once, in 1950. I was still in school then, but I was working, and I got a job here at the old ovens on the property of Kovalchick [classic Western PA name - CTD] Salvage. At that time, some fellows wanted to see if coke could be made again, so they repaired four old ovens with new firebrick, and converted them so that they could be machine-drawn. The men involved sent all the way to Uniontown for an experienced coke burner to teach us all how to make coke, and we did make a little coke from coal brought over from Cramer. But there were union problems, and marketing problems, and they gave up and shut them down. That was the last coke ever make in Jefferson County.'" (From "History of Coke" By Eileen Mountjoy, IUP Libraries)

Nov. 2005 image by author

A few of the remaining homes in Adrian, PA, named for Adrian Iselin. He was one of the founders of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company, who constructed this town to house the miners of the Adrian No. 1 mine in the Lower Freeport coal seam.

Nov. 2005 image by author

The houses on the other side of the street in Adrian. All of these houses have the same green siding, which may have been installed by the coal company many years ago.

1990 image by Scott Brown, courtesy HABS/HAER

This is how the coal company town of Rossiter, PA looked approximately 90 years after the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. built the town. The coal mines at Rossiter closed in the mid 1940s.

Image courtesy of Lesa

Lesa contributes this rare picture of the operations of the Panther Run Coal Company at Pardus, PA. Lesa says, "At one time the Panther Run Coal Company was big enough to have company houses and a school."

Google Street View image

As seen here the coal company store at Helvetia, PA has been converted to a private residence. Note the old concrete sidewalk, which was a luxury in most coal mining patch towns at the time. The Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company operated the coal mines at Helvetia from around 1900 until the 1950s.

Image by others

Coal tipple and patch town at Walston, Jefferson County, Pa.


Clearfield and Elk Counties

Nov. 2005 image by author

These beehive coke ovens still exist in Tyler, Pa.

Nov. 2005 image by author

Ruins of the coal mines are beside the coke ovens. There is a concrete tunnel with holes on the top of it that discharge onto a conveyor belt that is still inside the tunnel covered with coal. Behind this is two large stone trolley track supports.

Nov. 2005 image by author

Part of the Tyler coal mining camp. In addition to the Tyler Coal Company's mines at Tyler, Cascade Coal and Coke Co. operated a coal mine at Sykesville.

Nov. 2005 image by author

Byrndale was a large coal town with both Shawmut Mining Company and Shade Valley Coal Company mining coal there. This is some of the housing that the coal companies constructed in Byrndale.

Nov. 2005 image by author

Another street in the large Byrndale coal company town.

Nov. 2005 image by author

"Salt box" type company houses in Byrndale. The town was actually mentioned in the Woody Guthrie song "The Dying Doctor."


Somerset County

Jul. 2003 image by author

21st Century coal mining in the Meyersdale Coafield: A dragline that is bigger than life mines coal on top of a mountain near Berlin, PA. To get an idea of the scale of this machine see if you can find the Chevy Blazer sitting beside it.

Jul. 2003 image by author

This preparation plant is near the surface mine pictured above, off of Goodtown Road. It may or may not have been idle when I took this photo.

Image courtesy of

Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in Goodtown, PA was built in 1917 on land donated by the Consolidation Coal Co.

2001 image by Dave Cathell

Blue coal tipple and red car puller near Salsibury, Pa.


Clearfield County

Image courtesy of Sam Baker

Sam contributed this photograph, which he describes as a "coal tipple owned as of now by Waroquier Coal. No mines that I can tell are on site, but it is right beside the rails to trails on what was formerly the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is in a state of disrepair, which isn't surprising seeing how it is a mostly wooden structure."

Image courtesy of Sam Baker

Another photo of the Waroquier coal tipple, which is between Clearfield and Curwensville.


Clearfield and Centre Counties

Image courtesy of Sam Baker

Probable wall of the coke ovens wharf at Peale, PA.

Image courtesy of Sam Baker

Former railroad viaduct remains at Peale in Clearfield County

Image courtesy of

Ruins of the Kato No. 5 tipple.


Armstrong and Clarion Counties

This coalfield was named after the Low Grade Division of the Buffalo & Allegheny Valley Railroad.

Google Street View image

Former Great Lakes Coal Company store in Kaylor, Pennsylvania. The Kaylor coal mine was in the Lower Kittanning seam.

Google Street View image

Sons of Italy lodge and coal company housing at Bradys Bend, PA. Bradys Bend Coal Company operated the Brady Bend coal mine.

Google Street View image

These coal company homes at Oak Ridge, PA were constructed to house the families of workers of the Oak Ridge Mining Company's mines.


Greene and Washington Counties

This coalfield was probably named for the Panhandle Railroad, and maybe also because it is adjacent to the West Virginia Northern Panhandle. I think it should be differentiated from eastern Washington and Greene Counties because their coa is at times more metallurgical in nature, and this coal field in the western part of the counties is a steam (thermal) coal, which makes it the same type of Pittsburgh seam coal found in Marshall and Ohio Counties, West Virginia. And this is the last place in Pennsylvania where large blocks of unmined Pittsburgh coal seam remain.

2006 image courtesy of True Photography

This is one of the largest coal prep plants in the world - Consol's Bailey Preparation Plant, which processes coal from the Bailey and Enlow Fork longwall mines. This is in western Greene County, an area which wasn't opened up for large scale coal mining until well after the "coal patch" era.

1914 Pittsburgh coal seam map from Coal Age showing the Panhandle Coalfield (including the area marked "Deep Coal of Unknown Quality").


McKean County

Google Street View image

Remaining company houses at Clermont, Pa. At one time they were probably owned by Buffalo Coal Company.