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|Leisenring No. 2 Mine & Coke Works
(West Leisenring Mine)
(Butte Mine & Coke Work) (ca.1881-1950's ? ),
Located west of PA Rt. SR 1051 and Rankin Run, about 4 1/4 miles northeast of Uniontown, Butte / West Leisenring (Leisenring No. 2), North Union Twp. / Dunbar Twp., Fayette Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1881-1889), Connellsville Coke and Iron Company, Leisenring, PA
(ca.1889-1950's), H.C. Frick Coke Company, Scottdale, PA
|February 20, 1884, West Leisenring
West Leisenring, PA
19 Miners Killed in West Leisenring Mine
Gas had accummulated in one of the entries during the night... The men started to work in the morning without the mine having been examined... One man went into an old room to look for rails... and lit the gas with his naked light, which exploded, hurting and killing some of them, and the others were suffocated by the after damp. Several men escaped by going around to another entry.
(O'Malley,1891:180) (from "Adventures in the Mines" by T. T. O'Malley, 1891)
West Leisenring, Pennsylvania
February 21, 1884
THE TERROR OF THE PIT
Fire-Damp and After-Damp Gather Their Victims
Particulars of the Awful Pit Explosion at Leisenring, Pa
Nineteen Miners Hurried into Eternity
Uniontown, PA, Feb. 21, 1884
The little mining village of West Leisenring, four miles north of here, was the scene of the most terrific explosion ever known in the coke region. The Connellsville Coal & Iron company, of which Judge Leisenring, of Mauch Chunk, is president, have 300 coke ovens here, which have been in operation about a year. The works give employment to about one hundred men, and quite a little town has sprung up named after the president of the company. The coal for the ovens is obtained by means of a shaft, which reaches the coal at a distance of 400 feet from the surface.
A part of the force who had worked all night left the mines a little after 3 o'clock and seventy others took their places, making the usual morning shift. About 6:30 o'clock, while the men were digging, suddenly, without warning, there occurred an explosion that convulsed the mine in every apartment and threw the men into the utmost consternation. The scene of the explosion was in one of the apartments fully 800 feet distant from the bottom of the shaft, and therefore about 1,200 feet from the surface opening; yet the report was heard on the outside for a considerable distance and caused such a jar that the top of a derrick 100 feet high was knocked off. Two mules were standing at the bottom of the shaft 800 feet from the explosion, and the rush of air blew one of them through a wooden cage, shattering it to pieces. The other mule died of suffocation.
[from the "Fort Wayne Daily Gazette," Fort Wayne, IN, Feb. 22, 1884.]
Leisenring No. 2, Coal Company Patch Town:
Leisenring No. 2 Coal Company Patch Town sits on a hill sloping west of PA SR 1051, the mine and coke works formerly stood immediately to the east. The mine's newest headframe which was erected ca.1943, was moved ca.1957 to the Maple Creek Mine, in Mononggahela, Washington County. It is the only Fayette County Headframe known to survive [the headframe was still being used to haul refuse from the Maple Creek Mine, ca.1990]. Approximately severnty-five houses remain in the town of Leisening No. 2 [West Leisenring], the vast majority of which are the region's typical late-nineteenth century, early twentieth century gable-ended double-family houses.
About seventeen single-family houses are included in Leisenring No. 2, ca.1990, and most of these are former miners houses lining what was called Community Avenue (PA SR 1051, as it ran out of town to the north towards Leisenring No. 1). These houses are more recent, built ca.1910's, they are single-story frame structures with a central brick chimney and an intersecting gable roof.
The remainder of the extant single-family houses were constructed for management. Five of these line the west side of Third Street, the uppermost street in West Leisenring. These houses are two-story, three-bay, gable-ended, clapboard structures (most of which have now been sided with aluminum siding), with intersecting pediments on the front. They have a brick chimney at each end and a shed-roof porch across the front.
The Leisenring No. 2 Mine's superintendent's house also remains. It is located across the road to the north of the streets of double houses, It is a two-story, five-bay, brick buiding. The house originally had six rooms; but, it has been enlarged and is today painted white. The house also originally had a spring house associated with it, and was located just up the street from the coal company's office building, which once stood on PA SR1051.
A three-family tenement house, quite rare in the Connellsville coke region, stood across the street from the coal company office building, it is no longer standing.
Two churches, both of which date to before 1909, remain in West Leisenring, located at the south end of Third Street. A simple wood-frame, recently aluminum sided, Roman Catholic Church rests on a cast-stone foundation, and has a more recent church building immediately to its south. The Presbyterian Church, also on a cast-stone foundation, is a wood-frame structure with a truncated tower on its north side. A rectory with a partially enclosed front porch was added to the original church around ca.1910.
The West Leisenring No. 2 school building, which stood at the north end of Third Street, is no longer extant.
At the south end of town is the company store building and the community hall; the company store's warehouse which was between the two buildings, no longer remains. Built in ca.1925, the Community Hall is a two-story, stretcher-bond brick structure with a basement that is rectangular in plan and runs parallel to the street. All second floor windows have been infiled with brick and the gable ends contain decorative brick work and corbelling. The community hall originally had two bowling alleys and showers in its basement, and a gym foir basketball and roller skating and a barber shop upstairs. The community hall, in ca.1990, was being by a pallet company, for making wooden pallets.
The exterior of the former copmpany store, south of the community hall has been substantially altered. It rests on its original rubble-stone foundation, but has been refaced with aluminum siding and the foundation on the east side has been covered with a veneer of multi-colored, regular-coursed stone work.
Leisenring No. 2, Coal Company Patch Town:
Leisenring No. 2 (West Leisenring) was built by the Connellsville Coke & Iron Company to house its employees who worked at the Leisenring No. 2 Mine & Coke Works. The mine went into operation January 1, 1882.
In 1884, There are constructed and in operation at West Leisenring Coke Works just two hundred coke ovens. It requires about seventy-five miners to keep these ovens supplied with coal. (Progressive Age, Feb, 1884, p. 22).
The Connellsville Coke & Iron Company had constructed more than fifty houses and a coal company owned store prior to ca.1890, when the H.C. Frick Coke Company purchased the three Leisenring mines.
Leisenring No. 2 Mine has 2,991 acres of assigned coal, which was mined via a 398 feet- deep shaft. Between 1890 and 1925 the H.C. Frick Coke Company built more than forty additional double-family houses and thirty single-family houses. About twenty of these double-family dwellings were constructed east of the mine works in an area referred to as Butte.
In ca.1903 the H.C. Frick Coke Company had 423 employees at the Leisenring No. 2 Plant, 157 of whom were engaged in producing 187,600 tons of coke that year. At its maximum, the coke plant had 500 bee-hive coke ovens available; in five batteries of bank bee-hive coke ovens and one battery of block bee-hive coke ovens.
While the three Leisenring Mines seem not to have been shut down entirely during the 1922 Coal Miners Strike, the mine and works at Leisenring No. 2 was operating at about 90 percent by mid-June, 1922. At Leisenring No. 1 Mine the coke works was gradually being put in production by September, 1922.
The new brick West Leisenring community hall was built in ca.1925.
By 1928 the daily coal production capability was 1,650 tons and coke production was 1,100 tons.
Like Leisenring No. 1 Mine, Leisenring No. 2 Mine closed in the early 1950's, after the World War II and the Korean War flurry of production, and the bulk of West Leisenring Mine holdings was sold in December, 1950 to Cleveland realtor, John W. Galbreath. Galbreath then sold off the various properties and coal company houses to individuals.
(History and description of Leisenring No. 2 Mine & Coke Works, adapted from "Fayette County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, 1990," 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.)
Memorial, Leisenring No. 1 Mine & Coke Works,
Leisenring (Leisenring No. 1), Dunbar Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
Memorial, Leisenring No. 2 Mine & Coke Works,
West Leisenring (Leisenring No. 2), Dunbar Twp., / North Union Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
Mine Disaster Feb. 20, 1884,
Leisenring No. 2, West Leisenring / Butte, North Union Twp., Fayette Co., PA, USA"
Memorial, Leisenring No. 3 Mine & Coke Works,
Monarch (Leisenring No. 3), Dunbar Twp., Fayette County, Pennsylvania"
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