Saturday, January 10, 2015

Isabella, PA- Isabella Mine Tipple and Barge Loadout

Today was a nice sunny day with a high of 10 degrees. Not letting the temperature deter us (like sane human beings), we ended up at three different sites. After visiting abandoned coke plants, the next stop was Isabella, PA to explore their barge coal loadout along the Monongahela River. 


Dating back to circa 1907, the mine, town and coke works at Isabella were constructed by the Isabella Connellsville Coke Company of Pittsburgh. At one point this site contained 124 beehive and 136 rectangular coke ovens. All the coke ovens appear to be gone. The remaining structures are part of the tipple, the barge loadout and a large brick building. After changing hands many times, the mine itself seems to have been active up until the early 1980's. Unfortunately we ran out of daylight before we could explore the brick building but we did get some quality time in the barge loadout.

This was a fun one.


Coming down over the hill toward the river. We passed through this mountainous slate dump. It was apparent this mine was active for several decades.

Approaching the river. The remaining tipple section and the large conveyor structure reaching out over the Monongahela.


The conveyor belt housing and CJ.

The barge loadout.

Looking back at the tipple.

Aside from the half missing wooden planks in the conveyor structure, this trestle that is barely holding it up was more than enough to keep us out of this section.

We went in here though!


Massive gears that were turned by a motor made by Diamond Machine Co. of Monongahela, PA.


I wish every place had some convenient date stamp like this.

Looking out at the section over the river.

Looking down the river.

Looking back toward the shore. The steps leading up to the main conveyor section.

Control wheel and more gears.

Looking up river.

Barge piers.

Underside of the conveyor belt.

One of the hoppers that dropped the coal onto the barges.

Looking back into the conveyor structure.

Big wheels.

Underneath the hopper.

Detail of the Isabella Mine and Coke Works from the June 14, 1913 issue of Coal Age.


  1. As usual, awesome pics from a high-risk venture.

  2. Nice!! High risk? Puhleeeeeeez!!! Looks like fun. High risk is rappelling down an abandoned old ventilator shaft or going back in some little dog hole mine dug in to the high wall of an abandoned strip mine. Don't do that!!! :-)

  3. I used to inspect bridges & culverts down this way from 2000 to 2013 when I worked for Norfolk Southern (I retired in March 2015). I would always write up that bent up trestle as I feared that some day it would fall down on the tracks. NOW IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM!

    1. Ha! Yeah, I can't believe that thing is still standing too.