Saturday, February 14, 2015

Revere No. 1 Coke Works- Revere, PA

Revere is a huge maze of coke ovens. Everywhere you turn, there is either an almost completely buried or severely deteriorated coke oven. From what we were able to pull together, there were at least two rows of rectangular ovens and one bank of beehives. At its heyday, Revere is listed as having 650 rectangular ovens, I'm assuming this does not include the beehives but that is just an assumption. 


Revere dates back to 1900 and was another W.J. Rainey Coke Company venture. By 1902 there were 600 beehive coke ovens at Revere No.1.  Revere No. 2, which was also located here, was a mine only. Revere No. 1 was a mine and coke works. In 1912 Rainey replaced the beehives with two rows of rectangular ovens. This is where it gets confusing to me. From the source that I'm getting this history from, it seems to omit the beehives that are still there. In 1915 the Coal Field Directory lists Revere as only having 550 ovens. Regardless, the rectangular ovens at Revere were the second of only two of these type in the original Connellsville Coke Region. The first being Mt. Braddock in 1908. Since this was a William J. Rainey operation, the coke was probably shipped to the steel mills in Cleveland. 


The Revere works was one of the later plants to assume operations following the national coal strike of 1922. It wasn't until September that they were operating at full capacity. By 1929, 400 rectangular ovens were in use. The mine was exhausted by 1935 and the entire operation shut down for good. 


The town of Revere (Post Office Uledi) is unique to other patch towns by it's abundance of single family homes. Certainly by 1900, more effort was placed on company housing in the hopes of attracting and keeping a stable workforce. 

Some of the nearly buried beehive ovens.

A couple of the rectangular ovens.

The inner walls were all punched out of the rectangular ovens.

They were all in really bad condition.

These ones appeared to be holding up.

Insides punched out on this one too.

They're starting to get buried.

This is what's left of the bank of beehives. Behind them is the park at Revere.

Almost buried but I crawled inside.

Just ruins.

This entry is good and blocked.

The beehives. One of the rare occurrences where the fronts remains but the ovens are collapsed.

In the middle of the dirt road/trail running through here are the remains of a coke oven floor.


This is one of two abutments for a bridge that ran over here probably from the mine.

The other abutment.

Looking down the middle. There were more tires here than a Firestone warehouse.

Some separated rectangular ovens.

Inner wall of a rectangular oven.

Very buried rectangular ovens.

Strange ghostly remains of some rectangular ovens.

It's always nice to find a skull hanging on a branch. Some rocket scientist sawed off its antlers.

Barely there. Only the slightest remains.

Directly in the middle of this photo you can see the remains of one rectangular oven.

It started snowing. First wave.

More rectangular remains.

C.J.'s album cover.

More remains.

One final look at the rectangular ovens.

On the way out I noticed this was the end of the bank of beehive ovens.

The first oven in the bank.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hawksworth Mine- Greensburg, PA

The Hawksworth Mine dates back to 1913 and was opened by the Greensburg Coal Company. The Greensburg Coal Company, later known as the Greensburg Coal & Coke Company reorganized in Spring of 1913. At this time the Company possessed 450 acres of the Pittsburgh coal seam which was 7 feet thick in this area. The mine was built one mile west of the Greensburg passenger train station on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The coal was owned by the Coulter family and Alex Coulter became president of the new company. Frank Stark sank the shafts to around 140 feet and built the buildings. The steel tipple was built by the American Bridge Company. In 1914 The Greensburg Coal & Coke Company acting as the selling company for the Greenburg Coal Company opened offices in the Commercial Trust Building in Philadelphia.


The mine was electrically powered throughout by the West Penn Power Company. The engine that hoisted the shaft was the first large hoist motor to operate directly off the power line. 


Most of the coal was sold to the railroads, some of it for 85 cents per ton when the mine first opened. 


The company bought the 25 acre Zellar farm west of Greensburg and built the town that would later be known as Gayville. The mine produced 7.5 million tons of coal and was worked out in the Spring of 1937. The houses were then sold, mostly to the employees who were given first chance at a very low price.

(History taken from City Of Greensburg "A History" ; Coal Industry by W.W. Jamison Jr. 1949)


Armed with a copy of the 1915 Greensburg Sanborn Map, we set out to locate all these structures.

We started with the shaft tower and tipple.

With a little help from the junkyard dog.

Some of the tipple piers.

Tipple piers on both sides of the Pennsylvania Railroad siding which served the mine.

More tipple piers.

Looking across at the hoist house.

More tipple piers.

Steel beams sticking out of the shaft tower base. According to the Sanborn map, this tower was 75 feet tall and made of iron.

Base of the tower.

Over to the hoist house.

Looking back at the shaft tower and tipple from the hoist house.

Roof frame from the collapsed hoist house.

Old Peirce 355 insulators.

Collapsed brick wall of the hoist house.

An old piece of mine track leaning against the hoist house.

Rusted steel.

Somebody covered the collapsed roof with roofing paper and built a shelter. The nicest feature was this brick fireplace. It's hard to tell if it was local kids or the homeless that built this. After this, one of the employees of the junkyard asked us if we could move the truck. A bus driver that didn't realize there was a short railroad tunnel, drove the bus down Mt. Thor Road. When he got to the tunnel and was forced to back out he got stuck in ice.

Not the highlight of his bus driving career.

However, the junkyard dog was very happy to see Mary Jane.

After moving the truck we went back to search for the other mine buildings. When we got back the bus was still there but the passengers walked back to Seton Hill.

The next building was the office building.

Nothing left but the foundation. We did find evidence of a fire at this building.

More mine track laying in the rubble.

Coal chute door. After this we went looking for the sand house on the map. We didn't find it but we did find something so much cooler.

An old rusted out freight trolley car.

These were the only identifying numbers we could locate.

A hinge on the back.

It was almost completely collapsed.

Trolley car from a distance.

Another look at the railroad siding.

Creepy baby doll hanging upside down in a tree.

Next on the list was the fan house. This was cool.

Supports for one the fans.

8 foot tall fan.

                                      Identifying the manufacturer was way too easy.                                                                             

Even the manufacturing date was intact. Wonder who the guy was making exhaust fans for mines on Christmas Eve 1907.

All the fan hardware was intact. I tried turning it but it was stuck in the ground.

Massive wheel that turned the fan.

Oil cap still intact.

The fan from a distance.

Another piece of the fan house.

Next was the supply house.

Not much of anything left here.

Old chimney on the supply house.

The only structure on the map we couldn't find was the car repair shop. Also, extra special thanks to the owner and staff of the junkyard for letting us on the property to explore the mine ruins. Thanks for letting us play with your dog too!!


Old photo of Hawksworth Mine. (Photo courtesy of Images Of America- Greensburg by P. Louis Derose.) Book is available here: