Sunday, November 13, 2016

Old Colony Mine and Coke Works

Today we tried our luck with the Old Colony Mine and Coke Works. There is a lot to see at this rarely seen site. The mine and coke works are located on the property of the Old Colony Sportsmen Club in Ligonier Township. Old Colony was once the name of a company town as well but there is nothing left of any of the houses. What remains are extensive tipple ruins, the washer bin and the majority of the coke ovens. 


The Old Colony Mine and Coke Works were built by the Old Colony Coal and Coke Company in 1904. This was the first coal and coke plant on the Ligonier Valley Railroad's Mill Run Branch. The first bank of 50 ovens were built in late 1904 and the first shipment was made in 1905. That same year an additional bank of 50 ovens were built followed by another 28 at a later time. The Colombia Coal and Coke Company would later operate the plant followed by the Greensburg Connellsville Coal and Coke Company. The mine and coke works were abandoned in 1925 and have sat here ever since. 


The following are some old photos of the Old Colony Mine. Courtesy of Ray Washlaski.

Some of the miners at the Old Colony Mine and some of the mine tracks. We found some railroad grades and cuts today but much of this area has been strip mined in the past. Also there was evidence of logging operations taking place back here as well as pipelining. The stripping, logging and pipelining affected a lot of the terrain.

The extensive tipple, washer and bins in the background. Most of these piers remain today as does the concrete coal bin. The coke ovens are not seen in this photo but are down the hollow to the right. The hillside behind the tipple has been stripped.

Another view of the tipple. This looks like it is taken from the opposite direction of the previous photo.

I'm not sure what's going on here.

The tipple under construction. Must be circa 1904.

This looks like a different tipple to me.

All these portals make sense. We kept coming across potential openings today and they were all leaking water.


Here are the photo's from today:



Approaching the tipple ruins. A piece of mine track sticking up in the air.

Piers for the tipple.

Side of the coal bin at the washer.

Rear of the coal bin with piers heading up the hillside.

Hole in the side of the coal bin. Wire mesh exposed.

This small tunnel ran underneath the bin.

Looking out a big hole in the side of the coal bin.

Back wall of the bin.

Piers on the oven side of the tipple and washery.

Looking over the tipple piers.

Tipple piers and Ray Washlaski.

6 inch water pipe sticking out of the hillside.

Coke ovens.

A small piece of the front retaining wall of the oven.

This is the condition of most of the ovens. None of the ovens had their fronts.

A small section of wall.

Looking up through the top of the oven.

These ovens were used hard.

A tree for every oven.

Coke slag stuck to the inside of this oven.

A tree clutching some oven bricks.

This tree grew up and around the top of the oven.

A Union Fire Brick lining brick.

The side of this oven is nice and exposed.

Tree shrooms.

Another moss covered exposed side.

Looking down at the railroad cut. Isn't this one of those supernatural orbs?

Looking up loading dock of the ovens. Railroad grade to the right.

This small tree growing right up through the trunnel hole. In a few years this tree will tear this oven apart.

Another view of the railroad cut.

Down toward this end the ovens become increasingly deteriorated.

Just the backs of the ovens remain.

A little bit of the brick front of the oven.

A small section of the wall.

This is nice. A couple of the door wall blocks remain.

The end of one of the oven banks.

Looking up between the two oven banks.

Heading back out.

A final look at the tipple piers heading back to the car.