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Coal Miners Memorial Helvetia Mines, Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA


Coal Mines of Clearfield Co., PA MAIN INDEX

Links to More Local History Web Sites
Helvetia Slope Mine,
Helvetia No. 2 Mine,
Helvetia-Stanley Mine,
Mahoning Mine,
Stanley Shaft Mine,

Helvetia, Stanley,
Brady Twp.,
Clearfield County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Memorial to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Helvetia Mines, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated Aug. 1, 2010

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Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA
[A coal Company Patch Town located on Stump Creek, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA.]
[Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway.]
[All that remains of Helvatia is a church building and two or three houses, various foundations can also be found at the former coal mining town site.]

Helvetia No. 1 Mine
(Helvetia Slope Mine)
(ca.1900-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA
[Helvetia Mines were abandoned Feb. 25, 1954.]
Owners: (ca.1900-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
              (ca.1906-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
              (ca.1927-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1954-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Indiana, PA

Helvetia No. 2 Mine (ca.1900-  ?  ),
Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA
[Helvetia Mines were abandoned Feb. 25, 1954.]
Owners: (ca.1900-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
              (ca.1906-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
              (ca.1954-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Indiana, PA

Helvetia-Stanley Mine (ca.1900-  ?  ),
Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Helvetia, Stanley, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA
[Helvetia-Stanley Mine had 40 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1912.)
[Helvetia Mines were abandoned Feb. 25, 1954.]
Owners: (ca.1900-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
              (ca.1906-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
              (ca.1912-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Indiana, PA

Mahoning Mine (ca.1906-  ?  ),
Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA.
[Mahoning Mine was listed as abandoned ca.1912.]
Owners:  (ca.1906-  ?  ), Mahoning Coal Company, Helvetia, Clearfield Co., PA
               (ca.1912-  ?  ), Mahoning Coal Company, Helvetia, Clearfield Co., PA

Stanley, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA
[Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad and the DuBois Electric Railway.]

Stanley Shaft Mine (ca.1906-  ?  ),
Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Stanley, Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1906-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburg Coal & Iron Company, Punxsutawney, PA
See also: Helvetia Slope Mine, Helvetia, Clearfield Co., PA
               Helvetia-Stanley Mine, Hevetia, Clearfield Co., PA

A portion of the USGS DuBois, PA 15min Quad map, showing the location of Helvetia, Stanley

Helvetia Mine Power House, ca.1930's.  The power house provided electricity for the Helvetia Mine and also the town of Helvetia.
(Photo courtesy of Richard Joslin.)

Inside view of the Power House, the turbines, and electircal panels at the Helvetia Mines.
(Photo courtesy of Richard Joslin.)

Another view of the inside of the Helvetia Mines Power House.
(Photo courtesy of Richard Joslin.)

DESCRIPTION:
Helvetia
The village of Helvetia, located in Brady Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, was another mining community. In 1947 Helvetia was named the top mining town in Pennsylvania based on appearance. One of the reasons was that there was a lot of competition for the $100 prize that was given to the families that had the nicest flower and vegetable gardens,  The village also had cement sidewalks, a rarity in the mining towns.

Very few structures remain in the community.
[from "The Progress," Clearfield, PA, Feb. 24, 2004, Clearfield Bicentennial Edition]

Helvetia, Pennsylvania - Abandoned Town
Back in the day, this was a "company town," home to the workers for a nearby coal company. After the company folded, so did Helvetia, basically. The people gradually abandoned it for other opportunities, leaving behind a declining infrastructure.

My future mother-in-law spent part of her childhood there, so we visited. There are a few buildings left. Somebody is now living in what used to be the company store, and there's still a lake formed by a stream that was dammed up to generate electricity; part of the walls of the generating plant are still there. There is still a church, and a monument to the WWI and WWII soldiers from the area. Walking on the side of the road, you can see sidewalks along the road, that go nowhere, and steps up to houses and porches that no longer exist (you can still the outlines of some the filled-in foundations).

Following an old gravel road up the hill out of town takes you to the schoolhouse, which is also privately occupied. There is a signboard noting the former existence of Helvetia. All in all, it was a neat bit of PA history. [Traci, 08/07/2008]

Stanley

The community of Stanley is located in Brady Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.  One of the first industries in the community was a sawmill that is pictured in the 1878 Caldwell's Atlas of Clearfield County.

The owner, L.B. Carlisle, constructed four buildings in Stanley which were described as barracks for the men employed by the mill and their families.

Coal mining also played a large part in the community.  Mines were owned by the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company.  In 1903 the Stanley Shaft was sunk to a depth of 175 feet.  In 1918, Helvetia-Satnely Mine had two 20 foot fans for ventilation, according to a local history.

They were the only 20 foot fans mentioned in all the Pennsylvania Department of Mines reports.

In 1918, the Helvetia-Stanley Mine had 72 mules, which were used to pull the loaded coal cars through the mine.  It also had 6 boilers, 42 water pumps and seven electric cutting machines.  It was reported to have a 72 inch vein of coal.

The community had a post office for slightly more than three years.  It opened May 7, 1891, and closed June 28, 1894.  The postmaster was Harry C. Shea.

[from "The Progress," Clearfield, PA, Feb. 24, 2004, Clearfield Bicentennial Edition]

Rear view of the Mahoning Supply Company Store at Helvetia, Clearfield Co., PA, located between Sykesville and Luthersburg.  The store served the miners and their families that worked in the Helvetia Mines.  This store building was destroyed by fire on April 21, 1939.  A new store buildng was built in Helvetia.
(Photo courtesy of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company Media Collection, MG 94: Series III, Special Collections Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA)

HISTORY:

from "The DuBois Courier," Dubois, PA, Dec. 24, 1927
Repairing At Helvetia and Soldier
That the mines of this city are still potent factors in evident from the fact that work is under way in two of the shafts within ten miles of this city, that have been frequently mentioned in duscussions concerning the exhaustion of the coal supply in this vicinity.  They are the Helvetia and Soldier shafts.

The Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Co., owners of the shafts, are making extensive repairs at both plants and, while officials declare the the present repairs do not mean that there will be an immediate resumptian upon the maxuum basis of these mines, it is apparent that the plants are each held high emough by the owners to be considered worth spending good sums upon in order to return them to general good repair.

At the Soldier mine, which has been idle more than four uears, crushed pillars are being removed and new timbers are being installed.   The coal being removed is sold locally, although a car was loaded Wednesday and was shipped to market.  The wear and tear of idleness in the mines has been breat and the work of repair will occupy a Considerable period.  About eight men are now at work in the mine.

At Helvetia a crew of about 35 men is at work making repairs.  This mine has also been practically idle the past four years.  Numerous pillars have been crushed in the mine and as a result a considerable quantity of coal has been removed and placed on the market.

An official of the R. and P. Company stated yesterday that the coal market was such that it did not warrant placing any additional coal on the market, but that to prevent losing the Soldier and Helvetia mines altogether the present repair work was a necessity.

The Eleanora mine of the same company, idle the past three years, is not being repaired at this time but it is probable that the same procedure will be followed there within the next year, to prevent caves and the like that would make it impracticable to open the mine when the market warrants.

The coal at Soldier and Helvetia is of exceptional quality and the supply in each mine, it is estimated, will last several years under full operation.
[from "The Dubois Courier," BuBois, PA, Dec. 24, 1927.]

from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Tues., Aug. 6, 1929

COAL MINER, 70,  KILLED IN BLAST
John Petrick, Father of Josephine Resident,
Victim of Premature Explosion in Helvatia Shaft.

SYKES TRAGEDY

DU BOIS, Aug. 6
Two serious coal mine accidents occurred in this vicinity on Monday, one at Helvetia resulting in the death of John Petrick one of the best known and oldest active miners in this section; and the other at Sykesville, causing injuries to William Morrell, a popular resident of Sykesville, which are feared to include a broken neck. Both accidents had unique features. John Petrick, who was one of the veteran coal miners of this section, was the victim of a premature explosion of coalite, an explosive used to blast down coal. The explosion is believed to have resulted prematurely because of a misunderstanding of signals between Petrick and Charles Jeffery, his "buddy" at the Helvetia mine of the R. & P. Coal Co.

Petrick and Jeffery had prepared a shot at about 1:30 p. m. and Jeffery went to the electric battery to complete the connection that fired the shot. When he returned to the room, he found Petrick dead, his injuries indicating that he was close up to the charge, possibly with one hand at the mouth of the hole. Jeffery declared that the men left the shot together and that he had called to Petrick, asking if Petrick was ready. He understood Petrick to reply "go ahead and shoot." However, when Petrick's body was found one hand had been blown off and he was badly mutilated about the head and chest. In the hand was clutched a part of the wire that was used to fire the charge. It is believed that he was in the act of placing the wires in the hole and that he actually completed the electric circuit a moment after Jeffery had thrown his switch.

John Petrick was 70 years of age and a native of Austria. He had resided in Helvetia for 8 years and been engaged in coal mining for half a century. His wife died 15 years ago and he is survived by the following sons and daughters:-Mrs. Steve Kranak, of Youngstown; John, Jr., of Kramer; Helen, of Erie; Kathryn, of Josephine; Michael, Wallace, Julia and Steve, at home. The remains were prepared for burial at the Shultz Undertaking Parlors in this city, but no arrangements for the funeral have been completed.
[from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Tues., Aug. 6, 1929.]

from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Fri., April 21, 1939
Helvetia Has $30,000 Blaze

Fire early today destroyed the Mahoning Supply Company Store and a residence at Helvetia, with a loss estimated at $30,000 by DuBois firemen.

High winds carried the blaze from the store to the home of mine foreman Joseph C. Callahan just 70 feet distant.

The store was a shopping center for miners employed at the Helvetia mine of the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company.  The mine has been closed, but not picketed since the mine shutdown began March 31.
[from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Fri., April 21, 1939.]

from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Feb., 25, 1954
Helvetia Operation Shut Down
"Ridiculous freight rates" was the reason given today by Dr. C. J. Potter, president of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company, for closing the Helvetia mine of the coal producing firm in Clearfield Co.

The coal company head said operations at the mine will cease with the end of today's business resulting in the layoff of 163 employes.

"Unreasonable freight rate differentials and high cost of production" make it impossible for us to operate the Helvatia mine," he said.

The 63-year-old mine reached its peak production during World War II when 500 miners were employed.  Since that time there has been a steady decrease in both employment and tonnage produced.

Dr. Potter remarked "that it costs us $3.57 per net ton to ship coal via the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Helvetia to Buffalo, N.Y., a distance of 163 miles while firms in the Fairmont, W. Va, coal field ship coal a distance of 436 miles to buffalo via the same railroad at a cost of $3.87 per net ton,"

Thus, West Virginia coal mines can ship coal almost 2 and one-half times as far and pay only thirty cents a ton more.  The unfair freight differential set by the Interstate Commerce Commission, is responsible for this "ridiculous"situation, according to Dr. Potter.
[from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Feb. 25, 1954.]

Coal Miners Memorial Helvetia-Stanley Mines,
Helvetia, Brady Twp., Clearfield Co., PA

An Alphabetical Index to the Coal Mines & Coal Companies
of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania

[Click on a letter to take you to that Index]
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