Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mount Hope Coke Works Linn, PA

The Mount Hope coke works were constructed by Isaac Taylor and Company of Uniontown around 1898 and by 1900 contained 80 beehive ovens. In 1908 the Taylor Company was reorganized as the Mount Hope Coke Company. This company operated it until the end of 1913. Over the course of Mount Hope's ownership the beehives were phased out and replaced with rectangular ovens. By the time the Snowden Coke Company of Pittsburgh took over, the plant most likely consisted exclusively of rectangular ovens. In the January 1, 1914 edition of The Coal and Coke Operator and Fuel Magazine the plant is said to contain 150 rectangular ovens.

In the 1920 Coal Catalog trade journal, the plant is listed as having 300 rectangular ovens with no mention of beehives. All that remains today are two blocks of rectangular ovens. The northern block is almost completely buried. Only the top stones of the ovens are visible in some sections. On the southern block the front of the ovens are almost entirely intact, while the backs are almost entirely buried. It looks like it was done intentionally. Maybe the area was filled in, the slate dump is gone and the area appears to be somewhat reclaimed. I don't know. This site also contains two bridges from the Redstone Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad and a very clear rail bed.

Another interesting thing about this site: In 1920 the mine had the largest car dump in the world. The bin was over 300 feet long and the rotary dump could empty 28 coal cars in 8 seconds. Nothing remains of this massive structure other than some old concrete pillars.

 

These images are from the May 27, 1920 issue of Coal Age.

This thing had to be huge.
This 1959 aerial photo shows clearly the two blocks of ovens. There also appears to be some of the mining structures remaining. The two railroad bridges as well as the railway are clearly visible also.
The fronts of the ovens are in really good condition.

The back of all these intact ovens are completely buried.


The inside of these ovens are in great condition.


So much of the mortar remains between the brick.





At this point the ovens start crumbling and there's a good distance until they're intact again.

The fronts of these ovens are incredibly intact but it looks like the inside collapsed.



This is on top of the southern block.

The back side of the block is almost completely buried.


A lone piece of rail.

Almost gone.

This is an overturned concrete pillar.

It was hard to photograph due to everything being overgrown but this is the end of the block.

It seems to be completely intact.

This could be the area of the massive car dump.

Redstone Creek. After all the industry this creek has seen, it looks like it has recovered very well. The water is clear and is supporting freshwater clams. There were shells laying on the stone.

This is the northern railroad bridge.


This was taken on top of the bridge. The railroad ties are still visible.


This was a two track railway. Further down the line was a huge rail yard.

Redstone Creek from on top of the bridge.

A remaining piece of railing on the bridge. I've seen similar railings with PRR stamped on the base. I wasn't climbing out here to see if this had it.

More railroad ties heading back to the coke ovens.

The ties show this was a two track line through here.

The main branch is to the left. The siding going to the ovens is on the right.

Some of the concrete pillars from the tipple/car dump.



This is all that remains of the north block of ovens.

The top of the arch from the oven doors are barely visible above ground. I'm still curious about how exactly these got buried.

This is the southern railroad bridge. The abutments are part of peoples yards. The railing is very intact on this one.

 On the way back I decided to avoid the toll roads and just look around. I ended up at the Smock Historical Society's museum. It is only open on Saturdays from 10-4 so I was in luck. The ladies from the historical society are very nice. Stop in and see em! The museum is located in the former Union Supply Company building right in Smock. It is laid out very well and contains many different rooms and artifacts.


 


A nice display of coke making and mining tools.



This is only a couple of the rooms. There are many other rooms with full displays.

18 comments:

  1. Mike I thought you "scooped us again" but we found our photo journey to Linn in 2009--just never posted! We posted an album and gave you kudos. Make sure you "fan" our page Stuff Thats Gone...I am not sure if you are liked in there or just my personal page. Feel like one of those reality series--Coke Oven Wars! Thanks for all the great shots. JQ

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    1. Thanks John! Your shots are great. I thought I was the first to find this one! Those three houses you have photos of, the two abandoned and the red one that looks inhabited are all gone now. I was going to use them as a landmark from looking at the Bing birdseye images of the area. That's a nice place. I didn't see the railroad pier you found and I'm missing a bridge too. I just needed to get some preseason coke oven hunting in.

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  2. I'm really enjoying your blog and adventures! Thanks. Looks like you had a wonderful Saturday.

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    1. Thank you!!! It was a wonderful Saturday!

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  3. Great photos! Enjoyed your post,,,,,

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  4. Where is the sceond rail bridge. We walked from the west brownsville bridge and clrossed redstone creek. Is there a second bridge?

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    1. Hi Aldo, thanks for writing. The second railroad bridge is out by Braznell Concrete Road. It's at the edge of somebody's yard now.

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  5. We will find this year. Going the first week in August.
    We found the trolley bridge in Allison and want to find the two stone arch bridges in brownsville. Also looking for the century coke ovens.

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    1. Hey Aldo, I went looking for the Century coke ovens the one day but didn't have any luck. It was in the middle of summer though and everything was all overgrown. It's nice back there though. Those are some really nice bridges.

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    2. I wish I could send you a picture of where the century and republic Coke ovens are.
      My email is aldo_desalvo@yahoo.com

      We were not able to go over the other bridge. It looked like someone's yard

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    3. I'm curious to know if you ever found and took pictures of the Century Mine and Coke works. My GG Grandfather was killed there in 1913. I've been to Brownsville a few times on genealogy trips and one time I stopped into the Brownsville Historical Society and they called an older gentleman who grew up and knew the area...He took us back to where the Coke ovens were but unfortunately we couldn't see anything and I've had a hard time finding information about the Century mine. Any guidance or help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

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    4. Hi David, thanks for writing. I've been back there too and I also couldn't find anything. I went back in the summer though. I was right near there last winter but ended up finding the Champion ovens on the other side of the creek. So I really don't have much more I can offer, sorry. I can send you some snippets of maps or something but I never really researched Century too hard because I never found it. I think I'll head back out there this winter.

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  6. Patricia (Cavrak) KomackoFebruary 12, 2016 at 11:18 PM

    Very interesting....I was born at home in Braznell on the Jefferson Twp side. We had part of a coal mine on our property and another on the neighbors property. A cement pad with a round hole (about 24inches) that I believe was an air shaft. We used to throw stones down this hole and it took quite a while before we heard the stone hit water. It's a miracle that no one fell into this hole. During the 60's a bulldozer came and filled both openings in. I would like to learn more about the Braznell mine which I believe had a large explosion and several miners were killed. I would also like to see pictures of Braznell during the 20's. I am second generation from Slovak and Croation parents.

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    1. Hi Patricia, thanks for writing. There was a large explosion at the Braznell mine in December 1899 and from what I can find there were 20-25 killed. I'll look into it more and let you know what I find out. I'm very curious about it. Thanks for telling me.

      Mike

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  8. Thanks very much for the info about the mount hope coke works in Linn. I came across this by accident while looking for info about my ancestors who I believe settled in the area in the 1760's.
    P. Lynn

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    1. Wow! I'm glad you found it. Hopefully you are having success finding your ancestors. That is always a fun search.

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