Sunday, February 1, 2015

Struthers Coke Works-Fairbank, PA

The Struthers Coke Works at Fairbank, PA date back to ca. 1904. The plant was built by the Struthers Coal and Coke Company which was an affiliate of the Struthers Furnace Company based out of Cleveland, Ohio. The company town of Fairbank was named after Struthers Furnace Company Vice President George L. Fairbank. 


 The Struthers Furnace Company has local roots. Originally from Washington County, PA, John Struthers purchased 400 acres of land in Poland Township, Ohio (near Youngstown) in 1798. Originally named Marbletown, Struthers owned this land until the War Of 1812 when his family suffered financial ruin. The land lay dormant until 1865 when it was repurchased by Thomas Struthers, the son of John Struthers. It is John Struthers who is credited with bringing railroads and industry to the town. Marbletown would eventually be renamed Struthers in a popular vote.


 Struthers, Ohio's early iron industry dates back to 1803 when the Hopewell Furnace was built by Daniel Eaton. This furnace operated until 1812 when John Struthers fell into financial ruin.


In 1869 The Struthers Iron Company built the Anna Furnace. In 1896 the Struthers Furnace Company was incorporated and continued to operate the furnace. 

The Struthers Coke Works at Fairbank contained 200 ovens and probably lasted until the 1920's shipping its coke to the company's Anna Furnace.


 Today the Struthers Coke Works contains one block of deteriorated ovens and one bank of ovens in really good condition. 


Approaching the ovens.

This bank is in really good condition.

Looking over at the block which is not in good condition.

A swampy field of cat tails.

The condition of this bank leads me to believe these ovens were used much later than the 1920's.

Concrete bottom. These were definitely rebuilt at one point.

Then in the middle of the bank there are three or four deteriorated ovens.

Perfect beehive shape.

This tree lived and died in this oven.

Interesting stacked bricks.

At the far end of the bank. It looks like somebody used the stone for something else but left the brick.

The back side of the block still has a nice stone wall.

Except in this section.

The far end of the block. Nothing but coke oven rubble.

Looking back up the middle. Good ovens on the left, bad ovens on the right.

Field of cat tails.

Fairbank Herbert Road runs perfectly parallel with the back of the bank of ovens. You can't see them from the road.

On the block were these stone sleeper blocks.

Looking over at the bank from the block. Fairbank Herbert Road is in the background.



  1. Mike, the stone railroad tie blocks you found on top of the coke ovens were stone sleeper blocks used to support the larry rails that ran on top of the ovens, These were place over the support columns built into the coke ovens.

    1. Thanks Ray! That's the word I was looking for.