All that remains of the coke ovens at Buffington is the No. 3 Block. The ovens themselves are in pretty deteriorated condition. A very interesting thing about the ovens at the northwestern end of the block is that bricks were used, probably during the Great Depression, to make doorways in the openings of the ovens. The doors themselves are long gone but all you'd have to do is hang new ones to have a very comfortable oven home! The trunnel holes have also been sealed up. At the end of the block are also the remains of a fan house. Across the Dunlap Creek from the ovens are the still intact hoist-house, bath-house and lamp-house building as well as the blacksmith shop, warehouse and welding shop. These are currently being used as businesses.
The history of the Buffington Mine and Coke Works is almost identical to Footedale.
The Buffington Coke Works, named for E.J. Buffington, President of the Illinois Steel Company, were built by the Eureka Fuel Company and placed into operation on November 16, 1900. The Eureka Fuel Company was a subsidiary of the Illinois Steel Company, who had long controlled the coal lands and coke works of the Southwest Coal and Coke Company at Morewood and Tarrs. Eureka was formed in 1898 to develop more coal lands. That same year Illinois Steel and its properties were incorporated as the Federal Steel Company. By summer 1899 Federal had purchased nearly 6,000 acres of coal lands in Nicholson, German, and Menallen Townships in Fayette County. The H.C. Frick Coke Company acquired the mine and coke works on April 1, 1903.
Totaling approximately 425 ovens in its heyday, the coke works contained three batteries of double block ovens. By 1928 the ovens were out and all coal was shipped through the U.S. Steel conveyor system to Colonial Dock on the Monongahela River. The raw coal was then shipped to U.S. Steel's byproduct ovens at Clairton. This system lasted until June 1957 when U.S. Steel closed the mines and dock.
The Buffington mine was originally closed in 1938 but reopened during World War II. It was permanently closed in 1946
|This is the condition the majority of the ovens at Buffington are in.|
|The first of the ovens with the doorways.|
|Looking out through the doorway.|
|The sealed up trunnel hole in one of the ovens.|
|Some more of the doorways.|
|There was a whole village here!|
|The ruins of the fan house.|
|This wall is almost gone.|
|Supports for the fan?|
|Former rail bed of the Connellsville and Monongahela Railroad that served the ovens and mine.|
|Looking across Dunlap Creek at the other mine buildings.|
|Two of the ovens on the creek side of the block. This was too overgrown to go any further.|
|We passed by this sign walking back to the truck in New Salem.|