Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jimtown/Penn Manor No. 1 Coke Ovens

There were 43 coke ovens located at the Jimtown mine. This was the only coking operation in Penn Township. These ovens last appeared on county tax lists in 1900. In 1908 the official name of the Jimtown Mine became Penn Manor No. 1.

 The beginning of the mine and coke works dates back to 1884 when Thomas Moore acquired 470 acres of coal lands between Manor and Harrison City. Moore had a 98% interest in the New York and Westmoreland Gas Coal Company which was formed the same year. In late summer 1889 the properties of the company were conveyed by sheriff sale to F.L. Stephenson. On August 1, 1895, Stephenson along with co-partner George I. Whitney sold the property and mineral rights for $527,000 to the Penn Manor Shaft Company. The PMSC was formed in 1894 by Greensburg and Latrobe interests. At this time the assets at Jimtown included both shaft and slope entries, a tipple, farm house, blacksmith shop, brick engine house, brick boiler house as well as the engines and boilers for operating the mine. The coke works, which date back to the New York and Westmoreland era, were probably included as well. 

Penn Manor sold its interests on November 2, 1903 to the Pittsburgh and Westmoreland Coal Company. A few years later P&WCC became simply Pittsburgh-Westmoreland Coal. After operating the mine for a decade Pittsburgh-Westmoreland sold it to the Union Coal Company. Eventually other mines of the Union Coal Company would be transferred back to Pittsburgh-Westmoreland Coal but by 1923 the Jimtown mine had ceased operations.



This oven is all but buried. One of the reasons I began photographing coke ovens was because eventually they are all going to be lost either by nature reclaiming them or people knocking them out for redevelopment. This oven will be invisible in a decade.

Old pieces of steel rail.

This is a big pile of pipes that were part of the system used to quench the coke before unloading the ovens.

Looking down the old Manor Valley Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Old supports for a railroad bridge that once crossed Bushy Run.

One of the big steel sides from the bridge.

More bridge ruins.

The other side of the bridge.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Off of the West Penn Trail Saltsburg Section

This is part of the original Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal past White Station. This is the only part of the canal that I know of that still contains water. Further up you can still find old ruins of the canal. The old tow path is easy to locate and you can follow it for a good distance. After the canal ruins, you come across an old mine site. This was part of a coal preparation plant for the old Bowman No. 2 mine on the Westmoreland County side of the river. The coal was brought across the river via an aerial tramway. The tipple and pit mouth were located just across the river from here in the old coal town of Robinson, PA

A foundation for one of the preparation plant buildings.

Old ruins of the tipple on a siding off the mainline. The coal was loaded from here onto trains after it was cleaned.

Old tipple pillars.

Beyond the mine site and across Elders Run is this old railroad bridge. The current trail goes across this bridge and it is difficult to even recognize that you are on a bridge while on the trail.

This is on the back side of the bridge.

This is a portion of the old mine map for Bowman No. 2 showing the tramway, pit mouth, and tipple on the Westmoreland County side. The cleaning/preparation plant as well as the Elders Run bridge can be seen on the Indiana County Side. Below is the area over the modern map.


Beyond this there are a few buildings from some sort of industrial site. I heard that it was an old powder works but I'm not sure if that's accurate. The steel doors on the buildings sort of lend to that theory.

One of the big steel doors.

Beyond this is the switchback that goes back to the Conemaugh Dam recreation area and beyond that is the Bow Ridge Tunnel and the numerous stone arch bridges leading to Blairsville.

Beyond this tunnel begins the switchback on the Dick Mayer section of the trail.

July 18, 2014

A little update on this post. 

These are bridge piers from the Mooween Mine.

 The mine itself was located on the Westmoreland County side of the river.

 The tipple was located on the Indiana County side because that's where the railroad was.

 The coal was shipped across the river over a bridge located on top of these piers. 

The Mooween Mine began in 1906 and was in operation until ca. 1950. The operators throughout the mines life were the Keystone Coal Company of Moween, PA.

 Here we see a portion of the old Main Line Canal. On the left is the canal, on the right is the towpath.

This section still contains water (and a whole lot of frogs).

Update 4/11/15

 A couple more photos of the Moween Mine piers. A great day to view them before all the vegetation grows back. 



 This masonry work is still so tight. Incredible.


Also, the canal was really standing out today.


With the spring storms there was a lot of water in the canal. It really made it a unique experience.



And the creatures are coming back out too!!