Saturday, January 2, 2016

Garwood Coke Works - Dunlap, PA

The Dunlap-Connellsville Coke Company was formed in May 1907. The officers of the company were William A. Bishop (President), Paul Mauzy (Vice President),  and G.W. Campbell (Secretery). The company started with 155 acres of coking coal on the Garwood Farm along Dunlap Creek in Redstone Township. The price paid for the 155 acres was $292,950 and a coke plant of 150 ovens was planned. The mine and coke works were served by the Coal Lick Branch of the Monongahela Railroad. After the formation of the company they expected to be making coke within six months. There were 31 ovens fired in September 1908. They were being lit as soon as they were constructed. The plant was still undergoing construction at this time.

The company also constructed the town of Dunlap to house the workers. By 1910 there were 78 residents and 14 houses. Nothing remains of this town today.

In 1912 Dunlap-Connellsville was reorganized as Aetna-Connellsville and took over the coke plant. At the time there were 119 ovens and it looks like it stayed that way through its duration. The planned 150 ovens didn't pan out. In 1921 they secured a contract supplying 5,000 tons of furnace coke each month for the remainder of the year. All ovens were burning and it was a good year for them. Work was up and down for the remainder of the mines life and it probably shut down for good in 1936.

A very detailed description of Garwood and Dunlap can be found here.


Today we stumbled across the remaining ovens trying to see if there was anything left of the Simpson Tunnel on the old Monongahela Railroad right of way. There was nothing left of the tunnel but there was plenty left of the ovens. The tunnel was either buried or filled in when the Mon-Fayette Expressway was put in.


Simpson tunnel and a few of the Garwood coke ovens. (Photo credit: Cultural Heritage Research Services Inc.)


The first thing we noticed was what appeared to be the remains of a tipple or a mine building.
And then the ovens started appearing.

And kept coming.

Most of the ovens were in this condition but there were some highlights. Like always.


A piece of wall.

There was a very long bank (right) and a nice block (left) of ovens. In the middle is the area where the coke was loaded onto the trains.

Looking over at the back of the block. On the other side is the right of way for the Monongahela Railroad.

The bank.

Another shot of both.

Part of an oven front.

Part of an intact loading wharf wall.

On the bank side.

This is the sad filled in Simpson Tunnel. There are videos and photos available online from people that were smart enough to document it while it was still here.

A rough shot of the black and white photo at the top of this post. Tunnel to the left, ovens to the right.

Old railroad ties remaining in the Monongahela Railroad right of way.

A final look at the tipple ruin on the way out.


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