Connellsville, Pa., was at the center of southwestern Pennsylvania’s coal and coke region and soon the region took on the name the Connellsville Coke Region. In 1906, Connellsville celebrated its centennial. The Coke Arch pictured was located at Brimstone Corner in the heart of downtown, during the festivities. Note the HCFC Co. sign (Henry Clay Frick Coke Company). The electric lighting of this arch and sign are said to be the first of its kind in the city of Connellsville.
Newcomer, Pa., located about five miles from Uniontown in Georges Township, fired thirty beehive ovens in 1904. Amend #1, a drift mine just behind the Newcomer school supplied the coal for the ovens. Often the students gazed out of the windows and watched the pony pull two or three wagons of coal on a track to a coal tipple located at the far side of the ovens. The ovens were shut down in the 1930s, but were reopened in the 1940s in response to the war effort by the Galardi Coal Company. Railroad cars filled with coke were tagged with a paper denoting foundry or steel mill coke. Some of the coke, however, was shipped as far as Virginia, where it was used for roasting peanuts.
Marianna, Pa., located in Washington County, West Bethlehem Township, and owned by the Pittsburgh/Buffalo Coal Company, was once described as the “model mining town of the world.” But tragedy struck Saturday, November 28, 1908, about 10:30 a.m. The bodies of 153 miners were removed from the site. An explosion, apparently caused by a blown-out shot, instantly ignited a combination of gas and dust, which ripped through the mine almost simultaneously igniting a secondary explosion. The blast was so powerful it destroyed the casing leading to the fan and badly wrecked the top of the outlet shaft and head frame shown here.
Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, coal mining towns sprung up on farm land as well as hill tops and hill sides throughout the forty-plus mile long Connellsville Coke Region. The sparsely populated area, of approximately 39,000 people, would grow to more than 110,000 by 1910. Often each mine, with or without a coke yard, to open also had a town surrounding it. This photo of the Davidson patch, located in the original heart of the Connellsville Coke Region, was taken in the early 1940s. In the foreground is a view of the rear of the company store. Beyond are the houses, often wooden duplexes, in regular lines. The tracks to the left is the Pennsylvania Railroad main line that traveled through Connellsville to Uniontown.