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|Acme Mine & Coke Works (Acme Coke Works
Located on the Smithfield & Masontown Branch of the B. & O. Railroad, near Strum Station, Smithfield, Acme, Georges Twp., Fayette Co., PA.
[Acme Coke Works contained 80 coke ovens ca.1910.]
Owners: (ca.1900- ? ), Acme Coke Company, Uniontown, PA
(ca.1900- ? ), Uniontown Coke Company, Uniontown, PA
(ca.1910-1940's), Pennsylvania Coke Company,
This description was written ca.1990 for the Industrial Heritage Survey and some of the details may have changed since then. The Borough of Smithfield is located along PA State Route 119, with several commercial buildings dating from the early 1900's standing on the south side of the road. The town was laid out on top of a hill, with one main street running north-south. Most of the Coal Company built houses are situated on this main street and consist of two-story wood frame buildings with gable roofs. Approximately forty coal company built houses were extant ca.1990, in Smithfield. The easternmost part of Smithfield Borough is bounded by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Along the west side of the railroad a section of a single battery of bee-hive coke ovens, the Acme Coke Works, were extant ca.1990. About fifteen coke ovens remained in place, ca.1990, most of which were severely deteriorated. At its peak in the 1910's there were about eighty bee-hive coke ovens, however, the northern two-thirds of the bee-hive ovens were demolished a number of years ago. None of the historic mining structures associated with the Acme Mine are extant.
The B & O Railroad not only served the Acme Coke Works and Mine, but also maintained a large railroad siding to the east. South of the Acme Coke Works coke oven banks the B & O Railroad built a wye, called York Run Junction. One branch line extended north through the Smithfield Coke Works, to Shoaf, Highhouse, and Leckrone, where it joined the Monongahela Railroad in Redstone Township. The other branch line extended southwest to West Virginia. Just south of the Acme Coke Works, in the center of the Smithfield wye the B. & O. Railroad constucted a large freight depot, however the freight depot has been demolished. The only other coal related structure near the Acme Coke Works and the wye was a more recently constructed coal tipple off PA Route 119 that was used by trucks and was probably operated in conjuction with the removal of useable coal from the slate dump from the abandoned Acme Mine.
Smithfield is situated in an area of rolling hills with the coal seams exposed above the stream levels and along the valley walls in the southernmost reaches of the Connellsville Coke Region. Uncertainly over the quality of the coal in this area forestalled its development until the late nineteenth century. Specifically, the completion of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Morgantown and Fairmont, West Virginia Branch through Smithfield in 1896 hastened the establishment of several coal mines and coke works in the area.
The only substantial remnant of the coal and coke industry in Smithfield is located along the abandoned B & O Railroad tracks on the east side of the town. Although little is known about this small coal mining and coking operation at Smithfield, it may have been built by the Uniontown Coke Company ca.1900. By 1903 the Uniontown Coke Company was operating twenty bee-hive coke ovens in Smithfield, and employed thirty-seven mine workers at the coke ovens in ca.1903. In addition, the Uniontown Coke Company's mine, the Acme Mine, employed eighteen miners and produced 4,500 tons of coal in ca.1903. The Acme Mine was located east of the coke ovens, both of which were served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. A small steam flowing into Georges Creek, and the B & O Railroad, separated the mine from the coke works.
By 1913 the Uniontown Coke Company had been bought out by the Pennsylvania Coke Company, and the mine was called the Acme Coke Works Mine. The nearby small mine was unable to supply the coke works with the coal it needed, with its eighty bee-hive coke ovens, additional coal was shipped to the coke works from other mines. It is not known how long the Pennsylvania Coke Company operated the Acme Works, though by the early 1920's the Acme Mine and Coke Works were shut down. The Acme Coke Works remained idle until World War II, when they were re-builr and re-opened. About eighty hand-drawn bee-hive coke ovens were operated for a few years. Coal was trucked to the ovens and the coke was shipped out by railroad. The coke ovens have been abandoned since the mid-1940's.
|(History and description of Acme Mine & Coke Works, adapted with additional data from "Fayette County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, 1990," America's Industrial Heritage Project, National Park Service, Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record, U.S. Department of the Interior, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)|
|"Coal Miners Memorial,
Acme Mine & Coke Works,
Acme, Strum Station, Georges Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
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