Sunday, December 10, 2017

Maple Glen Dairy Farm - Mt. Pleasant

Yesterday afternoon Marybeth and I went to walk around the old Maple Glen Dairy Farm. I don't know much about this place. I've found mentions of it in old newspapers from the 1940's and 1950's. It's definitely different from researching mines and coke plants. I found that it was a working farm up into the 1960's and was operated by the Glick Brothers. They did home deliveries of milk. According to the Images Of America- Mount Pleasant Borough (2014, Friends Of The Mount Pleasant Public Library) book, the Glick Brothers owned a meatpacking plant on Rt. 31 west of town and their three farms bordering the town provided doorstep delivery of milk from the 1930's through the 1960's. 


I remember going to a dairy farm with my grandfather when I was a kid. It was somewhere in Mt. Pleasant. The barn here reminded me of it, but I would think the layout is similar to most dairy farms. 

Some of the milk caps I collected.

A Maple Glen milk bottle I found on Etsy.

Walking back to the farm.

Marybeth. One of my favorite people on the planet.

This twin silo is what caught my attention before anything else. I've never seen one like it.

This house is amazing.

One of the farm buildings.

Inside of this building.

A brick grill outside.

The crooked house.

Shelves inside the crooked house. We laughed because this was the first time we could explore an old house without even stepping inside.

Crooked house. Interior from the exterior.

Basement of the crooked house.

Other side of the crooked house.

One of the barns.

Inside the barn.

Collapsed wall.

Corn crib!

Another barn.

Vent falling victim to time and gravity.

A collapsed farm building.

Inside of the other barn.

Old boiler in one of the buildings. A cat lived in this building and wasn't a big fan of us being there.

Inside the cat's house.

Bottom of the silo's.

Looking up one of the silos.

Juniata Coke Works

I'm kind of coming to the end of the remaining coke ovens in the old Connellsville Coke District. It's been about five years and I have done somewhere around 135 coke plants. It has to be a Guinness record. I'm now picking up some odds and ends and there's still a few left. Juniata is one I have looked at many times and just never did it. It looked easy, it sits right off the road, there's a nice clearing where high tension power lines pass over the ovens, but that creek. I wasn't expecting the stupid little creek. I beat it though. 


It turned out to be a pretty cool site. The history is interesting as well. The ovens date back to 1890 and were constructed for the Juniata Coke Company. It wasn't until 1891 that everything was up and running. The Juniata Coke Company was another Cochran concern. The company was based in Dawson and had its headquarters in the National Bank Building, right in town. I'm pretty certain the only plant they operated was this one, under this name anyway. Juniata Coke Company would operate the plant until August 1, 1908, when Frick scooped it up for $150,000. When Frick bought it, however, the mine was nearly worked out. All that remained were a few stumps and ribs. Frick bought it for the purpose of securing an outlet for another large tract of coal he held in that neighborhood. He would operate it until at least 1921. The Frick influence had already been in place by 1904, U.S. Steel is listed at having half ownership with Juniata holding the other half in that year. I'm assuming the $150,000 was just buying Juniata's half but that's still a lot to pay for an empty coal mine.



The August 15, 1890 Connellsville Courier reporting on the purchase of the property and the start of the new company. By 1891 there would be 250 ovens. This would be the total amount throughout the life of the plant. I can't make out the name of the farm that was originally there.


By October 1890 everything was starting to take shape as reported in the October 17, 1890 Connellsville Courier.


By January 1891, 25 of the ovens were ready to go. January 9, 1891 Connellsville Courier.



Also in January 1891, Cochran was working on bringing trolley service to link some of the towns he either owned or had mines at. Massillon Independent January 19, 1891.


By May 1892 the reservoir was being built and the town was now known as Juniataville. This also tells us a little bit of what was happening in the new town the week of May 13, 1892. Connellsville Courier May 13, 1892.



In October 1901 Juniataville made national news when  a father and his two sons met a horrible death in an abandoned air shaft leading to a worked out section of the mine. This is from the Philadelphia Inquirer October 14, 1901.


The part saying Gilleland worked at the mine for more than 25 years must be a typo. The mine would have only been open around 10 years at this point.


On October 7, 1917 more tragedy struck Juniata. Warren Morning Chronicle October 8, 1917.


The Juniata mine map shows 124 block ovens and 126 bank ovens. There is nothing remaining of this block. There is a decent section of the bank, and the "pit" where the tracks were between the bank and block remaining.


This is what's left there now:




This is the view from the road. The sun was really working against me all day so bear with me.

This is what's left of the block. It looks like one of the piers that held the weight of the larry cars remains.

A little section of the front wall.

These are all of the bank.

They're all in pretty bad shape.

This is all debris in the area where the trains would have been loaded.

Back to the bank.

A small portion of the retaining wall remains between these two ovens.

The area between the bank and the block.

Huge piles of coke ash.

The old railroad grade.






After this I went down to look for the Wheeler Coke Works. There wasn't anything left but there were still some nice stone railroad structures. This area was a crazy hub of railroad activity.

A 1900 Uniontown Quad map showing the area with the ovens visible at Wheeler.

1931 Uniontown Quad showing how much this area exploded with railroad activity. Wheeler is no longer even listed.


 Huge stone bridge to nowhere.

 Old bridge piers all along the creek.

 Wheeler coke ovens would have been on the left.

 The grade leading up the bridge to nowhere.

 The bridge that now carries the Great Allegheny Passage.

 Piers remaining from one of the bridges that passed through here.