Sunday, March 6, 2016

Crystal Coke Works - Crystal Works, PA/Springhill Township Fayette County

The Crystal Coke Works dates back to around 1903 and were started by the Sackett Coke Company. The Sackett Coke Company applied for a charter on April 20, 1903. They had a capital stock of $115,000.00 and the directors were William W. Parshall of Uniontown, Hugh R. Sackett, Ross F. Hodges, and Adolph A. Eberhart of Smithfield and William J. Lyons of Gans. At the time they had 160 acres of coal lands and 225 acres of surface. I would assume these coal lands were at the site that would become Crystal. In September of that year they added 164 acres to their holdings. 


Crystal Works was located on the Fairmont Branch of the B&O Railroad just above Smithfield. By 1906 the plant had 100 ovens and was shipping their coke as far as Douglas, Arizona where it was used by the copper smelters located there. By 1910 the Sackett Coke Company was running Crystal and another plant of 40 ovens at Madison, Westmoreland County at full capacity. The plant at Madison was purchased in December 1909 from the United Connellsville Coke Company. In 1918 there is a mention of Sackett being involved in business as Sackett and Harsh Coke Company and Crystal Works is listed as being operated by the United Connellsville Coke Company with 120 ovens. The United Connellsville Coke Company is listed as being a subsidiary of the Hillman Coal and Coke Company. In a 1924 "Coke Ovens of the lower Connellsville District" list, Sackett is listed as operating the 30 oven Sackett plant under the H.R. Sackett Coal and Coke Company. In 1926 the Hecla Coal and Coke Company is listed as purchasing 30 acres of coal "adjoining Crystal Works of the Hecla Company". The Hecla Company is listed as being a subsidiary of the "Hillman interests". Backtracking to 1920, the Hillman Coal and Coke Company is listed as operating a crushing and screening plant at Crystal mine.


J.H. Hillman had his hands in a little bit of everything.


Hugh Rosboro Sackett died on March 20, 1947. He was 87 years old. His obituary states that he still held an interest in Sackett and Harsh as well as Crystal Works so apparently the plant was still operating as late as 1947. Was Sackett involved with it the entire time along with the Hillman Companies?



In this 1939 aerial Crystal Works certainly appears active.



Today there is still a bank of ovens at Crystal Works. A lot of the ovens roll over into people's yards and I didn't photograph them because I didn't want to to start taking pictures of somebody's property. The better ovens were back behind the houses so that's what I used. You can see from the photo above how the ovens got close to the houses and where they pulled away. Also notice the tipple and the crusher. The foundation remains from the crusher.



This small building was sitting near the coke ovens. The concrete slab for a roof probably indicates that this was used to store explosives. If the explosives would accidentally go off the blast would shoot the roof off and direct the blast upward instead of outward.

Another look at the building. This would have probably had a big iron door on it.

The ovens. There really wasn't a lot left.

What remained was in decent condition though.

Starting to go over into the yards.

I'm assuming this is the foundation for the crusher.


Hugh Rosboro Sackett
Born March 12, 1860 (New Geneva, PA)
Died March 20, 1947 (Smithfield, PA)


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