Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lincoln Coke Works - Keisterville, PA

While trying to inventory what is left in our region as far as coke ovens, it is necessary to find out what isn't there as well as what is. Lincoln Coke Works had 400 ovens at one time. Most of those were in a long bank that curved around the ridge below the town of Keisterville. Today all that is left are some traces and a couple of extremely deteriorated ovens. 



1939 aerial showing the town of Keisterville. Above the town you can see the long row of ovens snaking throughout most of the photo. There are two other banks or blocks to the left and the tipple is center-left in the photo. Other than the town and a couple remnants of ovens, nothing in this photo exists anymore.


A portion of the Lincoln mine map showing the layout of the ovens.

The A.L. Keister and Company's Lincoln Mine and Coke Works began operations in 1900 with 80 ovens. By 1902 there were 180 ovens and before the year was up they had a total of 300. 


Abraham Lincoln Keister was born September 10, 1852 in Upper Tyrone Township. He graduated from law school at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio in 1874. He practiced law in Columbus, Ohio until 1882, when he came back and entered the coke business. He organized the First National Bank in Scottdale in 1889 and served as president for 28 years. In 1901 he organized the Scottdale Savings and Trust Co. and was connected with it until his death on May 26, 1917. From 1913-1917 he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Pennsylvania 22'nd District. 

The Lincoln Coal and Coke Company was incorporated in 1904. The directors were A.L. Keister, B.F. Keister, F.O. Keister, A.C. Overholt and Charles Loucks, all of Scottdale. By 1907 the plant had 400 ovens and had constructed a new steel tipple over the existing structure. The tipple was built by the Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Canonsburg. The plant was operated by a 150 horsepower engine built by the Buckeye Engine Company of Salem, Ohio. 


The plant probably operated until the 1940's. 



Abraham Lincoln Keister


The 1907 tipple. Featured in the March 1907 Mines and Minerals trade journal.

Detail from the March 1907 Mines and Minerals.


Bits and pieces. Here's a little bit of a wall.

Few remains of ovens scattered along the hillside.

Adjacent to the oven site is a cattle field. On the other side of this electric fence are miscellaneous pieces of coke ovens.

And this is the best they get.

Out of 400 ovens this is all we have.

The interesting thing about this is it gives us an opportunity to see the sections of a coke oven that are normally buried.

Coke oven biology.

A couple charts showing how ovens are constructed. What I think is interesting is that the floor tile goes in last.

A couple of photos of the patch at Keisterville.



  1. Impressive blog! I liked the pictures you shared. All pictures are nice and beautiful.

  2. This is a nice site! Lots of information and history. I do have to say seeing how mother nature is gradually reclaiming its own over old industrial giants, this does not make a good case for global warming.

  3. Great aerial photo. I've had no luck finding one. May I use it and the schematic in the next edition of Chicken and Biscuits? Can you give me the source so I can cite it? Coal and Coke Museum has detailed schematics. William Leichliter (Bill) Hoover

    1. Hi Bill, you certainly can. The aerial I got from Penn Pilot at

      The mine maps can be found at

      The beehive schematic I think is available online at the Library Of Congress. If not I can send you a better resolution via email.

  4. As a great granddaugther of Solomon Keister, I truly appreciate your findings. I have wondered all my life about the him, the mines, Keisterville, and the acreage my grandmother donated to Ohiopyle. Thank you so much.