Hello everybody! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and surviving this heat. It's been awhile since my last post. I've been outside working, swimming, or on the river somewhere. I haven't come across anything that I haven't already written about, but there are definitely some plans in the works. Once Coke Oven Season rolls around again, it should be back to business as usual. Hopefully busier.
Today I happened to be working out at Keystone State Park and finally got an opportunity to get into the Kell Visitor Center and check out their nice mining museum. It's small, but there are certainly some unique items and photos from this neck of the woods. The collection mainly contains items from the Salem 1 & 2 Mines, and the Huron Mine and Coke Works. The center doesn't seem to have regular hours and is manned by one employee, she also does hikes and other activities. I was fortunate enough that she unlocked the door for me today.
The stone building was originally built by the Keystone Coal & Coke Company, and was used as a meeting place to conduct business, and also as a hunting and recreational lodge for its executives and management. Like I said, it's hard to get in there, but aside from the mining collection, there are other exhibits related to the park as well as the foliage and animals located within its boundaries. It's a very nice mixture of history and nature.
One thing I didn't do was get a photo of the outside. This is the building and the photo was borrowed from Waymarking.com
This is probably the most interesting piece in the collection. It is a piece of wooden pipe that was used to transport the water from the Keystone reservoir to the coke plant at Salemville.
Keystone No. 1 Mine and Coke Works, from a postcard I own. This mine and coke works operated from 1900-1960. A much more detailed history can be found here.
Some photos showing the Salem No. 2 Mine which was located at the state park.
A collection of miners tags from the Salem Mines.
A very blurry photo of a squib holder.
More mining artifacts.
A photo of women standing at the Belgian style coke ovens that used to be at the Huron Coke Works near the Salem No. 1 Mine.
A couple photos of the Huron Works. I had these on my computer and I don't know where they originated. This one falsely labels them as beehive ovens.
This one, I'm assuming, meant to say "Push Coke Ovens".
"Tipple Sheet" and other papers from the Salem No. 2 Mine.
Another sheet showing photos from the three mines.
The women on the Huron ovens.
Salem No. 1 ovens.
Salem No. 1 Mine. Same photo as the postcard I have.
Salem No. 1 coke ovens.
Some more mining tools on display.
Coal wagon located outside.
Signage located next to the coal wagon.
Mine map showing the Salem No. 1 and Huron Mines. Both sites have been completely reclaimed, and nothing significant of the mines or ovens remains. There is one foundation at the Huron works, but the company houses are all gone and have been replaced by newer houses. Salemville still has some company houses, as well as the company store and a couple other buildings. Nothing remains of the mine or coke works.
A very detailed history of the Huron Mine and Coke Works, written by Ray Washlaski can be downloaded here.
The following are a few photos from Ray's paper:
This photo appears to have the ovens under construction. The Huron Mine and Coke Works operated roughly through 1895 into the late 1920's. By 1927 the ovens were cold, but the coal was still being coked at the Salem No. 1 Coke Works. If you're interested in learning more about the the Huron Mine and Coke Works, I highly recommend downloading Ray's paper. There are many more photos.