Monday, December 26, 2016

Shamrock Coke Works

The Shamrock Coke Works were constructed in 1900 by the Fayette Coke Company. Shamrock was one of the first two coke plants (Griffin was the other) in the new Klondike district of the Connellsville Coke Region. These ovens continued to burn into the 1960's. By 1934 Shamrock is listed as being operated by the Shamrock Coal and Coke Co. This might have been a reorganized Fayette Coke Company or this might have been one of Max Noble's (of Shoaf fame) companies as he is is listed as owning the plant later. Fayette Coke Company also operated the Shamrock Supply Company and built the company houses that comprised the one time town of Shamrock. Today there are six or seven of the original houses left. Initially there were more than 30 houses.


Mines and Minerals - Volume 22 November 1901


A portion of the Footedale mine map showing the ovens and the houses at Shamrock. All the little squares north of the ovens are company houses.


In 1935 Shamrock discontinued their domestic coal sales and concentrated exclusively on coking the coal they mined. The ovens were rebuilt in 1950. Sometime after this Max Noble is listed as owning Shamrock. A fire on April 20, 1961 destroyed the mine's boiler house. There were two mines associated with the coke plant, Shamrock No. 1 and Shamrock No. 2. The mines were located to the north and south of the ovens. 


There are four blocks and one bank of ovens at Shamrock. Some are intact, some are not. The one's that are intact are in pretty decent shape. The bank of ovens along the road are extremely overgrown. The ovens on the side of the block facing the bank are pretty inaccessible as well. The other three sides of ovens are pretty clear. 


These two photos are from 1963. They are both of the bank of ovens running along New Salem Road. The top photo,  you can see to the left the ruins of one of the blocks of ovens. It looks like there was a wall behind the ovens shielding the road from the smoke.

Photos courtesy of


These ovens are part of the bank that runs below the road.

After this point you can see how overgrown this area gets.

These ovens are on the side of the block facing the bank.

Inside these ovens are a surplus of goodies.

One of the bank ovens below the road.

Inside one of the storage ovens.

Old stock of coke oven blocks. Shamrock is where the Dunbar Historical Society got their materials to build their demonstration beehive oven.

Insanely overgrown bank of ovens.

Another ovenload of blocks.

More blocks.

An oven full of beehive floor tiles.

This is the other side of the block facing the bank.

Notice the cement repair work in the arch.

Looking back at the ovens below the road. Notice the box truck driving past.

The end of one of the blocks.

Nice section between two blocks.

The box on the right is a power receptacle.

Another overgrown section near the road.

It's a total swamp.

There are some nice ovens remaining here.

A nice view of the southern block.

The end of the block.

A couple of the old miners houses at Shamrock.