Saturday, March 15, 2014

Youngstown Coke Works, Youngstown, PA- Fayette County

The Youngstown Mine and Coke Works were founded in 1880 by The Youngstown Coke Company. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, this company consisted of four partners who were managers at different iron works and blast furnaces in their home town. That same year they founded the town of Youngstown, PA to house the workers for the mine and coke plant. 

Containing 240 ovens, this plant was operated by the Youngstown Coke Company until 1903 when it was acquired by the H.C. Frick Coke Company. They operated this plant until probably the early 1920's at which time it was closed. World War II and the demand for coke caused the reactivation of the plant and mine in 1943 until it closed for good in 1948.

On October 27, 1884 an explosion at the mine killed 14 workers. 

90 years later, the Percy Mine, which closed in the 1950's and was built above the Youngstown Mine caught fire underground.  It wasn't until 2005 that this fire was actually brought under control. I'm not sure what the condition of it is now.

There is one bank and two blocks of ovens here. These are the bank ovens.

It's the opposite of what you usually find. Here the fronts are relatively intact and the ovens themselves are falling down.

Still nice brickwork.

Inside one of the bank ovens.

This is the condition of a lot of these ovens.

A bit of hardware left on this one.

What happened here?

These all appear to have original construction.

I'm not sure what the thing on top of these bank ovens is. We'll get back into that later.

Looking over at the block ovens.

A nice Yough brick.

Looking straight down the bank. This is a very long intact bank of ovens.

Garfield block.

This is the split between the block ovens. The end is very intact on the block to the right. The one on the left not so much.

A big tree laying on the ovens.

Another stamped brick.

A pile of Garfield bricks.

Coke oven block makes a nice fire ring.

These pier blocks are very nicely intact.

The end of the bank ovens.

End of the ovens and what looks like a pier for a bridge onto the ovens. Probably for the larry cars that loaded coal into the ovens.

Looking over at the blocks from the side of the bank.

The block ovens. The daylight inside the ovens was coming in through the fronts where they detached from the ovens.

The end of the block.

Very nicely intact. It's very rare to find them this nice.

Looking down the line. The banks are on the right and the blocks are on the left.

Block ovens and the pier wall.

Very nice. The cups on the ground look like somebody dragged a keg back here last night.

This is the back of the block ovens. Not in very good condition at all.

Further down the back ovens get better.

The patch town of Youngstown.

This is strange. I thought it was a room but it does have a trunnel hole at the top for loading coal.  It's a coke oven but different. Also, I've never been in a coke oven that reeked of stale beer like this one. There was a big party here last night.

Inside of it. The floor was wet with beer.

This sat right next to the room/oven. A small looking oven that is still bricked up.

This is on top of the block.

Looking from the room towards the end of the block.

The other end of the block.

I like the course of brick under the block on this oven.

This is the thing that was on top of the bank ovens.

The hoops must have supported something.

The hardware runs the whole way through it.

On top of the bank of ovens.

A piece of railroad tie from the larry track.

Old photo of Youngstown coke drawers (The Engineering Magazine 1901)


  1. Mike; The barrel and chimney shows that someone, perhaps recently, was using the old oven for shelter. This was common in the depression years when whole families would live in idle coke ovens because of hard times. You are doing a great job of documenting the remaining ovens as they are getting reclaimed one by one.

  2. I found a guy living in one last summer in Bradenville. Thanks Jim. They're definitely getting fewer in numbers.