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Coal Miners Memorial Calumet Mine & Coke Works, Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


"Progress ending a way of Life,  The Calumet Coke Works," Calumet, Mt.  Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Calumet, Pa During the Great Depression, Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA INDEX
Map of Westmoreland Co., PA
Map of H.C.Frick Coke Co. Mines
Map of R.R. Transportation System Westmoreland Co.
Map of West Penn System Light Power Railway
Calumet Mine &
Coke Works,

H.C. Frick Coke Company,
Calumet,
Mt. Pleasant Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Calumet Mine, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Editor,

Updated March 3, 2010

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Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[A Coal Company Patch town in Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania.]
[Located on the Sewickley Branch of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad.]
[Located on the West Penn Railways Trolley line to Hecla Junction.]

Calumet Coke Company, Calumet, PA
[Calumet Coke Company was later acquired by the H.C. Frick Coke Company.]
See: Calumet Mine & Coke Works, Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
       Calumet, Pa During the Great Depression, Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA

Calumet Mine & Coke Works (ca.1888-1932),
Located along PA Rt. 981, on the Sewickley Branch of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[Calumet Coke Works contained 260 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1901.]
Owners: (ca.1888-1899), Calumet Coke Company, Calumet, PA
              (ca.1899-1932), H.C. Frick Coke Company, Scottdale, PA
              (ca.1956-   ?   ), C. W. Dillon Coal Company,

A portion of the Latrobe, Pa 15 min quad. map, ca.1922, showing the coal company patch town of Claumet and the surrounding coal patches. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)

DESCRIPTION:
The coal patch town of Calumet, in Mt. Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, straddles Sewickley Creek, on the east side of PA Rt. 981.  On the north side of the creek there is an L-shaped road lined with about twenty coal company built houses.  These are the standard double houses found in western Pennsylvania's coal towns.  Each is a two-story wood-frame building with a gable roof, brick chimneys (some have a single chimney, others have two chimneys), and stone foundations  Many of these houses have been extensively remodeled and are now single-family residences.  The original clapboard siding has been replaced with metal or asphaltic siding, and the original front porches have either been enclosed or substantially rebuilt.

At the foot of the L-shaped street is the former H.C. Frick Coke Company Store, the Union Supply Company.  It is a one-story wood-frame building, measuring 60 ft.x 60 ft., and has clapboard sliding and a flat roof with a stepped gable on its main (north) facade;  the storefront contains multi-light windows behind large storefront windows. A recently installed porch with a metal roof extends across much of the main facade.  The interior of the building features a pressed-tin ceiling; the building rests on a stone and concrete foundation. The former Union Supply Company Store now (ca.1994) operates as the H & R Tool and Die Company and is in good condition.

On the south side of Sewickley Creek two roads run parallel to PA Rt. 981 and three roads are perpendicular to PA Rt. 981.  Twelve houses in this section of Calumet were originally built as single family dwellings.  These are one-story wood-frame buildings with gable roofs and single brick chimneys located just off the gable ridge.  The gable ridges are parallel to the main facades.  Many of these small miners' cottages have been altered with rear additions and porch enclosures. They rest on stone foundations. Twelve other company-built dwellings in this south section of Calumet are double houses identical to those described above.

Nothing remains of the Calumet Mine or Calumet Coke Works at Calumet, except parts of the slate dump.  The mine and coke works were located along Sewickley Creek, south of the abandoned railroad spur, on the northern outskirts of the town.  Tailings from the mine and coke ash from the coke works extended along the south side of Sewickley Creek, most of which has been reclaimed.

The Calumet Mine & Coke Works, power house and tipple located along Sewickley Creek, Calumet, Mt. Plaesant Township, Westmoreland County, PA  A make-shift bridge of planks, is in the foreground, used by the miners to cross Sewickley Creek.  The miners houses can be seen in the background.

Remains of the Slate Dump at the site of the Calumet Mine.
(Photo captured from a video tape taken in April, 2001 by Raymond A. Washlaski)

Double Outhouses of Calumet
Two of the remaining double outhouses located in an alley behind the row of double family houses in Calumet, ca.2001.
(Photo captured from a video tape taken in April, 2001 by Raymond A. Washlaski)
Detail of back of outhouse
A detail photo of the back, or alley side, of one of the double outhouses in Calumet, ca.2001
(Photo captured from a video tape taken in April, 2001 by Raymond A. Washlaski)
One of the old double outhouses in Calumet.
(Photo captured from a video tape taken in April, 2001 by Raymond A. Washlaski)

Merry Widow Miners Boarding House, Calumet, PA
The Merry Widow Row house or boarding house, Calumet Mines, Calumet, PA, date unknown.  The row house was torn down a number of years ago.

There was a tavern in the lowest level, family quarters and a parlor on the ground level (family legend tells that it was a favorite out-of-the-way place for some powerful politicians who took their girlfriends there!) The top floor was a boarding house for H. C. Frick Coke Company people and sales reps who came to visit the mines.
(Photo courtesy of Kenneth H. Eichner and Mt. Pleasant Township Bicentennial Committee)

HISTORY:
In 1888, the Calumet Coke Company established the Calumet Mine & Coke Works along Sewickley Creek in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County.  The Company built twenty-three houses in 1888 and the Calumet Coke Works containing 105 bee-hive coke ovens.  This operation was served by the Southwest Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. About 100 miners were employed in the mine (a shaft operation) that exploited Calumet's 80 inch-thick Pittsburgh Coal seam, and seventy-five coke workers were employed in the coke works.

By the early 1890's the Calumet Coke Works was inlarged and contained 225 Bee-hive coke ovens.  Typical annual production at the Calumet Mine in the 1890's was about 100,000 tons of coal;  the Calumet Coke Works produced about 60,000 tons of coke each year.  In 1889, after one year of production at the Calumet Mine & Coke Works, by the Calumet Coke Company, the H.C.Frick Coke Company acquired a one-half interest in the Calumet Coke Company.

During the bitter coal miners strike of 1894, a dozen deputy sheriffs , that were being paid by the H.C. Frick Coke Company at Calmuet, while off duty, went swimming in the reservoir there. Two of them were captured by several hundred angry strikers.  The others escaped.

By ca.1899 H.C. Frick Coke Company acquired control of the entire Calumet Coke Company.  Under the auspices of H.C. Frick Coke Company production at Calumet Mine rose through the early 1900's, despite the fact that the coal company continued to mine the coal by using hand labor.  H.C. Frick's theory was, why spend money on mining equipment, when you had willing men with weak minds and strong backs, that worked cheap, to do the mining work for you.

Railroad Map of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad
A portion of the 1895 Railroad Map of Pennsylvania, Showing the major railroads and connecting lines. The Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad of the Pennsylvania Railroad and mining towns it served, including Calumet is shown on the map.
(Print courtesy of the Map Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.)

By ca.1900 over 900 persons, the miners and their families, were living in the coal company patch town of Calumet, in Mt. Pleasant Township, the Calumet Mine was annually producing over 200,000 tons of coal, and the Calumet Coke Works was shipping between 125,000 and 150,000 tons of coke each year.  Robert Ramsey, a long-time H. C. Frick Coke Company employee, served as superintendent of the Calumet Mine & Coke Works operations at Calumet.

The condition of Calumet Mine in ca.1910, from the mine inspectors reports, was:  Calumet Mine - Ventilation is good, except in a small section of the pillar workings to the left of the main haulage road.  Drainage fair. Improvements made to Calumet Mine in 1910 were: 230 Wolfe safety lamps and equipment were renewed.  Work was started on safety latches at landing for the shaft cage.

From the 1910's through the early 1920's the Calumet Mine was consistently one of the H.C. Frick Coke Company's better producers. By 1914 the H.C. Frick Coke Company employed 260 men and boys at the Calumet Mine, who produced over 225,000 tons of coal and 150,000 tons of coke.

Production at the mine decreased after the First World War,  as with many other Frick mines the company did not mechanize or fully electrify its operation.  

In ca.1919 Calumet Mine produced 189,557 tons of coal and 69,589 tons of coke, there were 260 coke ovens with 127 in operation.  The mine had 270 employees, and 1 fatal accident in 1919.  In 1920 Calumet Mine produced 157,816 tons of coal and 85,641 tons of coke, there were 260 bee-hive coke ovens with 150 in operation, and employed 241 men and boys.  The mine had 3 non-fatal accidents in 1920.

As late as ca.1930 the H.C. Frick Coke Company was still using eleven mules or horses for hauling coal in the Calumet Mine, in addition to a single steam locomotive, and two mine locomotives operated by compressed air.  Production in ca.1930 amounted to a mere 9,000 tons of coal.  The Calumet Coke Works had been abandoned by this time.  

By ca.1932 the H. C. Frick Coke Company closed and abandoned the Calumet Mine and sent a number of the miners to the Standard Shaft Mine near Mount Pleasant, and layed off the rest of the coal miners to fend for themselves, with no compensation or means of support.

A Mr. Kromer owned the "Kromer Hotel" in Calumet during the coalmining days.

(History and description of the Calumet Mines & Coke Works, with additional data and pictures adapted from "Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, 1994,"  America's Industrial Heitage Project, National Park Service, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record, U.S. Department of the Interior, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

The Calumet Union Supply Company Store, the coal company stores run by the H.C. Frick Coke Company to supply the miners and their families with whatever they needed.

Post Office Calumet Calumet Post Office
Calumet Post Office ca.1970, The Post Office was moved into one of the patch houses at Calumet, after the Union Supply Company, the H.C. Frick Coke Company, coal company store and former Post Office was closed, Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania.
(Photo courtesy of Kenneth H. Eichner and the Mt. Pleasant Township Bicentennial Committee)

Bishop closes two more of the ethic Catholic Churches in the coal patch towns in the Diocese of Greensburg, PA, that the coal miners and their families built.  Just another slap in the face to the coal miners that gave and gave to build these parishes.

St. Stanislaus Parish, Calumet, PA and Forty Martyrs Parish, Trauger, PA

By Melissa Williams Schofield
Special to The Catholic Accent, Nov. 27, 2008, Greensburg, PA

Father William C. McGuirk wasn’t certain what approach he would take to announce to parishioners the decisions to close Forty Martyrs Parish in Trauger and St. Stanislaus Parish in Calumet, both of which he served as administrator.

He said a book given to all the priests who had to make those announcements in October, "A Struggle for Holy Ground: Reconciliation and the Rites of Parish Closure," was most helpful.

"Instead of preaching, I walked through the Stations of the Cross and invited parishioners to venerate a relic," Father McGuirk said about his approach with the parishioners at Forty Martyrs.

"I took a healing approach, though it focused on the wounds they felt. The main altar was stripped at the last Mass. Everyone was invited to venerate the altar, kiss it and bow to it. Many people came forward in a beautiful procession," he added.

He said it was similar to a funeral where loved ones say their last goodbyes.

"I believe you need ritual action at a time like this. I did focus on the bricks and mortar so they could let go of them," said Father McGuirk, who can relate to the sadness. His home parish, St. Mary, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Parker, also closed in October.

After the final Sunday Mass at Forty Martyrs Parish, a farewell luncheon was held to signify an ending and new beginning.

The 90-year-old parish, like many in the diocese, is rooted in the growth of the coal and coke industry in southwestern Pennsylvania. By the early 1900s, many Hungarian Catholics were living in the Trauger area, but they were unable to understand homilies or make confessions in their language in neighboring parishes.

Forty Martyrs Parish was established as a mission in 1916, and the church building was dedicated in 1918.

One parishioner there, who preferred anonymity, said she and her husband of Hungarian background spent most of their time at Forty Martyrs. She was a lector and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and helped clean the church.

She hopes to get more involved at St. Florian Parish in United.

"We knew the change was coming to our parish," she said. "I know the Holy Spirit will help."

Eleanor Czarniak, who used to attend St. Stanislaus Parish, has also made the move to the neighboring parish in United.

What she remembers most about St. Stanislaus Parish in Calumet, a tiny country church on a rolling hill overlooking the former coal mining community of Mammoth, are Christmas Eve Masses celebrated in Polish.

Now she goes to daily Mass at her new parish where she’s happy to have a "good priest and a good parish" in Father McGuirk and St. Florian.

"We hated to lose our parish, but St. Florian’s is another beautiful parish," Czarniak said. "We take with us fond memories, but you have to go on. I have a lot of good, Polish memories."

She and her husband, Chet, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next May. He is now a lector at St. Florian Parish. They were married in St. Stanislaus Parish, their son was a server there, Eleanor was baptized there and her parents were parishioners.

"It was a beautiful church. We were all family," said Czarniak.

The parish was founded by immigrants coming to the Mammoth area to work in the coal mines and rich farmlands, she said. On Aug. 9, 1895, one acre of land was purchased and a small church was erected and named in honor of St. Stanislaus.

Czarniak also talked about how people would travel for miles for a variety of homemade peroghis, from prune to potato.

She said one of the parish’s former pastors, Msgr. William G. Charnoki, jokingly commented that the peroghi were so delicious, he was convinced they were filled with gold.

Father William C. McGuirk said he has invited everyone to stay on board and bring their skills into the "new St. Florian."

That includes the popular peroghis.

"Every attempt is being made to be inclusive, not exclusive. All three parishes have good cooks. We don’t want that to stop," Father McGuirk said.

He invited parishioners to venerate the altar after the final Mass. A farewell dinner was held to reflect on the past and look ahead.

Father McGuirk has retained the organists from each parish. Eucharistic ministers and lectors from St. Stanislaus Parish and Forty Martyrs Parish will also remain.

Though the process has been a difficult one, Father McGuirk says the logo on the stationery at St. Florian Parish sums it up best.

"The new St. Florian. Good ideas going forward."

(Courtesy of "The Catholic Accent," Greensburg, PA.)

Calumet Coke Works Calumet Coke Works
The ruins of the Calumet Coke Works, ca.1970's with town of Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Township, to the right, in the background.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Ligonier St., Latrobe, PA
Calumet Coke Works Calument Coke Works and Calumet Mine Slate Dump
Calumet Coke Works with the Calumet Mine slate dunp (boney dump) in the background, ca.1970's.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Ligonier St., Latrobe, PA)

Last Coke Works The last Bee-hive Coke Works
John Sanner tends one of the last remaining operating Bee-hive coke oven banks (photo ca. 1970) at Calumet Coke Works, Calumet, PA
(Photo courtesy of Kenneth H. Eichner and the Mt. Pleasant Township Bicentennial Committee & The Coal & Coke Hertiage Center, Penn State University, Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA)

For a photo essay and the story of
one of the last operating coke works
in Westmoreland County and Western Pennsylvania. -

The Calumet Coke Works
click on photo Link at Left or go to
Progress Ending a Way of Life,
The Calumet Coke Works,

"Progress ending a way of Life,  The Calumet Coke Works"
Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
Coal Miners Memorial, Calumet Mine & Coke Works,
Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
Calumet, PA During the Great Depression.
Calumet, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA

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