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:



  1. My Grandfather, Frank Jablonsky Sr., worked in this mine.

  2. Greetings "Coke Oven Mike"-
    Jeff in Austin, Texas writing...
    Every single square inch of this blog is fascinating and priceless!
    The history you and your friends uncover, and document is of the utmost in historical value, and is much appreciated.
    I can't begin to tell you how much your site has enlightened, and educated me.
    I'm sorry and heartbroken I don't live anywhere near you and your friends, as I'd love very much to accompany you on your journeys.
    Your coke oven coverage, the Negro Mountain Tunnel, every facet seems to scream and demand it's attention to the detail you include.
    Not to mention how you include vintage maps and other aspects to your blog.
    You seem to paint an almost complete picture of every place you visit.
    Ever since I was a young kid, I've been enamoured with railroads, coal mines, old tunnels, old highway alignments, smoldering slate dumps, and especially those coke ovens!
    Austin, Texas offers me little or nothing in this respect.
    Thank God for your interest, and willingness to document and share this wonderful stuff.
    My grandfather William Howard Fulmer (1910-1984) was born in Yukon, and worked the Magee mine from an early age until 1954. He then worked the Hutchison mine for several years.
    His father George Albert Fulmer clear cut what was to become the village of Yukon, and co-founded the Yukon Lumber Co., and was a carpenter and blacksmith for Westmoreland Coal.
    He was instrumental in constructing the town, and supervised the sawmill and it's labor.
    It was my grandfather's brother Sherman who owned the farm that became Hutchison.
    My grandmother Elizabeth was born 1915 in Smithton, her family immigrated to the area from the Czech Republic and Hungary.
    My grandfather gave guided foot tours of the Magee mine in the late 60s and early to mid 70s.
    He would describe the operation in Hellish detail as if it were some glorious battle being fought.
    He was a 'Joy' operator, had several injuries and got out about 1959 when I was born.
    He once told me he started working at the mine at the age of 13 as a coal picker on a conveyer belt, and smoked Camels.
    During the Depression he worked part time on the WPA paving, and was hired during downtime at the mine to finish the New Stanton to Irwin leg of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
    He took up being a carpenter after his days with Westmoreland Coal.
    I have many vintage photos of Yukon, and a rather large collection of my grandfather's personal effects; including his mining history, accident reports and paychecks.
    I should get off my lazy ass and write a blog on all this mess instead of taking up valuable real estate here.
    Thanks for doing this blog Mike, it's all KILLER and NO FILLER.

    1. Thanks so much Jeff. That's a great story of the history of Yukon. I would to see those photos sometime. I'm so happy you're getting something from my blog. Thanks so much for writing.

  3. Mike Jeff from Texas nailed it on my interests as well.Coke ovens,mines.tipples etc.From Brinkerton area I have retired in Va.but come back frequently.Keep up the good work !!

    1. Thanks! Brinkerton area has some great places!

  4. Am fascinated with the coal mining industry of SW PA. This post answered many of my questions about the Hawksworth Mine in Greensburg, PA. Looking forward to reading all these well-researched posts supported by great photos!