Sunday, April 5, 2015

Smithton Coke Ovens/Waverly Coke Works

I am having a difficult time figuring out exactly what these ovens belonged to. The Eureka Coke Works was near here but as far as I can tell they only had 18 ovens. That rules Eureka out. Other suspects are the Smithton Coal and Coke Company who purchased 32 acres of coal lands on the "outskirts of Smithton" in 1905. But not much other information is to be found about them. The biggest bet is the Waverly Coke Company. In an 1897 Engineering and Mining Journal they are listed as having "about" 125 ovens at Smithton. That would fit what we have here. 



  Further research, now in 2017. We are calling these Waverly Coke Works(Smithton No. 2). The following description is from the PA, The Old Miner website:

The second coke works at Smithton stands on the east side of PA SR 3029 (Jacobs Creek Road), approximately one-quarter mile south of Smithton.  This was last operated by L. W. Overly in the 1950's and consists of a battery of bee-hive bank coke ovens along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks.  There as approximately 100 coke ovens standing ca.1994, some of which are in fair condition.  Many, however, are greatly deteriorated.  This coke oven battery is constructed with rubble stone retaining walls with some concrete patching.  The fronts of the ovens are of brick and stone construction.  Present as archaeological remains on the hillside above the coke ovens are concrete foundations that were part of the L. W. Overly Mine. 

Regardless, these ovens are located south of Smithton above the current CSX tracks and along Jacobs Creek Road. There easily could have been 125 ovens here and there are probably close to 100 today. The stone construction appears very old and a lot of the ovens are intact. Above the ovens are a lot of mine ruins including piers and foundations. 


Any information on these would be greatly appreciated. 


Starting off at the old Stoneys brewery.

Most of these ovens are in pretty good shape.

Some of them aren't.

Some intact and unburied floor tile.

The famous Yough crown brick.

Trees doing their thing.

This one's just about buried.

A big pipe.

Almost buried. A mansion for a groundhog.

Nice stone wall.

Looking out at the Youghiogheny and the CSX tracks.

There were a couple of these pipes coming out of the hillside above the ovens. This leads me to believe the ovens were used pretty late. They were probably recycling the heat from these ovens.

CSX train coming up the tracks.

This was great. There was either a spring somewhere behind this oven or some drainage. Regardless it was the first oven waterfall I've ever seen.

Another one of the pipes coming off the hillside.

There was a bed roll in this oven. The one near where the backpack is on the ground.

Another super adaptive tree.

There was coke all over the ground.
A view from the tracks.

Another interesting tree. This is also the only section of intact wharf wall.

These are on the hillside behind the ovens.

This is some sort of ashy concrete.

These were still further up the hill.

Looking down from the highest intact pier.


This foundation was on the top of the hill.

These were located on every corner of the foundation.

A closer look at the foundation.

A couple more shots of the old Stoneys brewery.



A short video of the waterfall oven.


  1. As far as I know these were last used in World War 2. That is what I was told by my dad who grew up in Jacobs Creek and my grandfather who live his entire life (1909-1999) in Jacobs Creek.

    1. Thanks for the info Don. They started up a lot of the ovens during the war and reopened a lot of the mines. The country used a lot of coal during the war because of all the steel that was needed. Everybody was working and making money. Thanks for writing!

  2. Your work is GREAT. I miss the old mines and ovens of SW Pa. Asa very young child I lived high on hill North of Shoaf and would tell people who visited, "Cokeoven burn" and point out all over area of the red glow. Keep up the good work. Hope to meet you some day. I now live in Dallas.
    Cokeovenjoe Tom Holly of Uniontown

    1. Thanks Tom! That's a funny story. I hope you all are alright in Dallas. Horrible events last night.