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Coal Miners Memorial Claridge Mine, Claridge, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Miners Memorial Denmark Mine, Claridge, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


History of the Denmark Mine, Claridge, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


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Claridge Mine,
Claridge,
Penn Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Claridge Mine, Penn Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated Oct. 4, 2009

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Claridge Gas Coal Company, Greensburg, PA
See also: Keystone Coal & Coke Company, Greensburg, PA

Claridge Mine (ca.1891-1923),
Located on the Manor Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Claridge, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[Claridge Mine location shown on the USGS Greensburg Quad. Map.]
[See also: Denmark Mine from more information on the mines in Claridge, PA.]
[Claridge Mine Maps, PA - DEP, Uniontown Map Depository A - File# - Shelf location - C4.]
Owners: (ca.1891-1891), J. Howard Patton, Greensburg, PA
              (ca.1891-1902), Claridge Gas Coal Company, Greensburg, PA
              (ca.1902-1923), Keystone Coal & Coke Company, Greensburg, PA
              (ca.       ?       ), Clemens Brothers Coal Company

Kew Mine (ca.1920-1925),
Located 1 mile northeast of Claridge, on Brush Run, 1/2 mile south-southwest of Bouquet, Kewtown, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[New mine in 1920]
Owners: (ca.1920-1925), Claridge Coal Company, Claridge, PA

Denmark Mine (Manor Valley Mine)
(Upper Pit, Slope Entry Mine)
(ca.1880's-1923),
Located on the Manor Valley Branch Railroad, later the Manor Valley Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Claridge, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[(ca.1880's-1889) Denmark Mine was first called Manor Valley Mine.]
Owners: (ca.1880's-1918), Manor Gas Coal Company, Manor, PA
              (ca.1918-1923), Westmoreland Coal Company, Irwin, PA

Denmark Mine (Manor Valley Mine)  
(Lower Pit, Slope Entry Mine)
(ca.1880's-1923),
Located on the Manor Valley Branch Railroad, later the Manor Valley Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Claridge, Penn Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[(ca.1880's-1889) Denmark Mine was first called Manor Valley Mine.]
Owners: (ca.1880's-1918), Manor Gas Coal Company, Manor, PA
              (ca.1918-1923), Westmoreland Coal Company, Irwin, PA

Office and yards of the Claridge Mine of Keystone Coal and Coke Company
(Photo courtesy of John W. Mochnick's book "History of Penn Township.")

DESCRIPTION:
The unincorporated town of Claridge, Penn Township, Westmoreland County, consists of three residential areas and a small commerical district, all of which are located along Bushy Run. The section of Claridge farthest to the east is known as Kewtown, and features the Kew House, a large two-story residence overlooking a number of coal company-built double-family houses.  These double-family houses, about one dozen are extant, extend in a single row on the north side of Bushy Run. They are the standard two-story wood-frame buildings with gable roofs and main facades parallel to the gable ridge (which also parallels the street).  Also, north of Constitution Street in Kewtown are a few double houses scattered among single - family houses that date from the 1920's through the 1960's.  Kewtown is divided from Denmark, the second section of Claridge, by Dutch Hollow.  

The Denmark section of Claridge was developed prior to Kewtown but retains only three ca.1910 double-family houses, all of which have been greatly altered into single-family houses.  The grade school which was located in the Denmark section of Claridge has been torn down.  

The third section of Claridge, containing the downtown area, has a few 1910's - 1920's commercial buildings.  At one time, Claridge, Denmark, and Kewtown together had about eighty to one hundred  double-family coal company houses and a coal company store.  Very few of the original houses survive and the coal company store has been demolished.  With the exception of a large mine dump on the north side of Bushy Run, nothing survives from the Claridge Mine.

HISTORY: Claridge, PA:
The site of a number of coal mines, the town of Claridge, in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, was named by Robert Pitcairn, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, after his ancestral village in Scotland.  Soon after the Pennsylvania Railroad established service to Claridge in the 1880's the Manor Gas Coal Company, led by local capitalists Amos B. Kline and George Huff, opened the town's first mine which the company called the Manor Valley Mine, name was changed later to the Denmark Mine.

In ca.1891 another mining concern, the Claridge Gas Coal Company, headed by J. Howard Patton of Greensburg, opened a second coal mine in Claridge, this mine was located south of the Manor Valley Mine.  The Claridge Mine has a drift entry and was the larger producer of the two mines.

The Claridge Mine was opened by the Claridge Gas Coal Company of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, it was located directly south and across the public road of the community from the Denmark Mine of Manor Gas Coal Company and immediately adjacent the present elementary school of the district.  The Claridge Mine tipple operations were reached by a short rail spur from the line of the Manor Valley Branch Railroad of the Pennsylvania Railroad, originally built to serve the Manor Valley Mine.  

The Denmark Mine and Claridge Mine officially retained these names throughout the period of their operation. But local residents of the community differentiated the two mines by simply applying the terms "Old Side" to the Denmark Mine, and "New Side" to the Claridge Mine.

Coal Patch Town of Claridge:
There were 400 Slovenes living in Claridge already in ca.1903. Among them are 200 families. They work in the coal mines. The Claridge Company offered Rev. J. Kranjc accommodations and money for a Slovene church, but up to now construction has not yet started. The JSKJ Kranjsko Slovenska Katoliska Jednota, KSKJ, has its Society of St. Michael No. 40 and St. Barbara No. 20 here. {from Rev. J.M. Trunk text published originally in 1912 Part 8, History of Slovene Communities.}

Throughout the early 1900's between 120,000 and 230,000 tons of coal were extracted each year from the Denmark mine.  Production at the Claridge mine ranged from about 8,000 tons in 1891 to nearly 153,000 tons in 1897.

In ca.1902 the Keystone Coal & Coke Company of Greensburg, PA was formed with the merger of several coal concerns including the Claridge Gas Coal Company.  The Manor Gas Coal Company met a similar fate about ca.1918 when it was acquired and its mines absorbed by the larger Westmoreland Coal Company.

Reported in the newspapers of 1910:  At the Claridge mine "at midnight on September 26....seven shots were fired into Company House No. 14. This house was used as a boardinghouse for the working miners and there were twenty-seven men in the house at the time that the shots were fired.  Four of the bullets passed entirely through the house, two of them striking the beds upon which the boarders were sleeping."

As late as 1930 the Denmark Mine in Claridge was producing annually over 1350,000 tons of coal, employing 139 miners and colliery workers.  However, Denmark Mine did not survive the depression years, closing in ca.1932.

One of Claridge's other coal producers, the small, independent Claridge Coal Company, was established about ca.1920 and operated the Kew Mine.  This modest venture employed as many as seventy men and boys in the early 1920's.  The most coal this mine produced was in 1924, when over 68,000 tons were extracted.  Miners at the Kew Mine extracted coal by pick and shovel.  In 1925, its last year of operation, the Kew Mine produced about 13,000 tons of coal, employing just twenty men.

After the Claridge Mine was acquired by the Keystone Coal & Coke Company in ca.1902 it was operated for many years. By ca.1906 Keystone Coal & Coke Company controlled fifteen mines in Westmoreland County.

The various mines of the Keystone Coal & Coke Company produced 2.5 million tons of coal in 1906, shipping most of it to market on the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The company's coke works produced only about 52,000 tons of coke in 1906.  With nearly 3,000 employees in the early 1900's, Keystone Coal & Coke was one of the largest coal operators in western Pennsylvania.  

The Claridge Mine remained a steady producer for Keystone Coal & Coke Company.  In ca.1906 the mine produced nearly 357,940 tons of coal and employed 334 persons.  In 1914 mining equipment included six boilers totalling 750 horsepower and eight pumps, with the mine producing nearly 237,000 tons of coal and employing 221 miners.  The 1920's saw the population of the town of Claridge reach its peak at about 2,500 persons.

The coal market slumped dramatically in the early 1920's and as a result the coal operators lowered the miners wages, and reduced their working hours.  In the wake of these conditions a giant strike in the bituminous coal fields erupted in 1922, leading to the abandonment of numerous mine properties.  The Keystone Coal & Coke Company closed several of its mines and reduced operations at a number of others. The Claridge Mine was one of the properties that Keystone Coal & Coke decided to abandon. The company ceased operations there in 1923 and workers at the Claridge Mine were forced to look elsewhere for employment

Superintendents at the Claridge Mine:
1891 - J. Howard Patton
1911 - T. R. Johns
1912 - C. H. Daily
1914 - G. M. Brinker

(History and description of the Claridge Mine, 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. and John W. Mochnick's book "History of Penn Township.)

"Coal Miners Memorial, Claridge Mine,
Claridge, Penn Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
"Coal Miners Memorial, Denmark Mine,
Claridge, Penn Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
"History of the Denmark Mine,
Claridge, Penn Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
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