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Coal Miners Memorial Royal Mine & Coke Works (Chestnut Ridge Mine, Chestnut Ridge, Royal, Redstone Twp., Fayette Co., PA


Coal Mines of Fayette Co., PA MAIN INDEX

Map of H.C.Frick Coke Co. Mines
Royal Mine & Coke Works
(Chestnut Ridge Mine),

Chestnut Ridge, Royal,
Redstone Twp.,
Fayette County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Royal Mine, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated March 5, 2010

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Royal Mines & Coke Works
(Chestnut Ridge Mine)

(ca.1905-1940 ?),
Located north of Route 40, about seven miles west of Uniontown, on the Pennsylvania Railroad, 5 miles southeast of Brownsville, north of US Rt. 40, and west of Franklin Lake, Chestnut Ridge, Royal, Redstone Twp., Fayette Co., PA
[Royal Coke works contained 365 rectangular coke ovens ca.1916, located in the Klondike Region of the Connellsville Coke Region, Fayette Co., PA.]
Owners: (ca.1905-    ?   ), W. J. Rainey Company, Uniontown, PA
              (ca.1916-   ?   ), W. J. Rainey Company, Uniontown, PA
              (ca.1920-   ?   ), W. J. Rainey Company, Uniontown, PA

DESCRIPTION:
Chestnut Ridge, Coal Company Patch Town
Chestnut Ridge, the coal company town built for the Royal Mine & Coke Works, has approximately ninty coal company built houses, which is probably the majority of its original coal company built housing.  The houses are laid out along four parallel streets and one intersecting street south of the former Royal Mine & Coke Works.  The bulk of the houses are semi-detached dwellings with their gable ends facing the streets.  Of the standard wood-frame construction, they are four-bay on the ground level and two-bay above; they rest on coursed-stone foundations. The houses have shed or hipped-roof front porches, and their two interior brick chimneys are either on opposite sides of the roof ridge or piercing the ridge.  A few of the dwellings in the southwest part of Chestnut Ridge have individual, one-bay shed-roof porches, over each front door.

In the northern part of the town single-family houses line two different streets. Running north to south along the road that leads to the mine plant, there are a number of two-story wood frame dwellings probably constructed for management people.  Built on coursed-ashlar foundations, these dwellings have intersecting gable roofs.

The other street of single-family houses is to the west and has six one-story, three-room wood-frame workers' houses with their gable ends facing the street.

Chestnut Ridge's coal company store contains more decorative elements than most company stores.  A two-and-one-half story common-bond red brick buildimg, it is located at the end of the of the row of managers' houses, roughly in the center of the town.  The company store would have been on the way to work for all of the Rainey employees at the Royal Mine.  The building is four bays wide on its gable ends and six bays long, it has brick pilasters and all of its windows have double voussoirs with white keystones and end blocks,  Across the street to the south of the company store are two semi-detached side-gable dwellings.

An open playing field is located in the southeast corner of the town.

(History and description of Royal Mine & Coke Works, Chestnut Ridge, Fayette Co., PA, 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.)

The Chestnut Ridge Coal Company Store, Chestnut Ridge, Royal, Redstone Twp., Fayette ca.1990. After the coal compay closed the store it was run by Bill Moody and his family. At that time it was owned by the Moodys. At that time the streets didn’t have names and they weren’t paved. They were gravel with Red Dog on top. Red dog was a kind of slag from a quarry on the mine property.
(Photo courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record, U.S. Department of the Interior, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

HISTORY:
Chestnut Ridge was built by the W. J. Rainey Coke Company, of Uniontown, PA, to house the employees working at the Royal Mine & Coke Works.  The facility was placed into operation sometime between 1905 and 1908.  The plant had 186 bee-hive coke ovens in operation in ca.1908, and by 1912, 373 bee-hive coke ovens were in operation.  The company store and the greater number of company houses was constructed in the years following the plant's opening.  In 1912 the plant had 263 employees, mined 299,544 tons of coal and produced 188,783 tons of coke.

In ca.1927 the Royal Mine produced 784,824 tons of coal, had 555 employees, and operated 297 days that year. There was 1 fatality (Frank) and 9 serious accidents in the mine that year. The general superintendent for the eight W. J. Rainey Mines, Inc. mines in Fayette County was D. D. Dodge, based in Uniontown, and the superintendent for the Royal Mine was James Eaton, based in Chestnut Ridge (a small town about half way between Uniontown and Brownsville). The Royal mine had a vertical shaft entry that was 375 feet deep. The coal mined was the Pittsburgh seam, 94 inches thick.

By 1930 The W. J. Rainey Company had closed the coke works at the Royal Mine, but the mine continued in operation, with a workforce twice its 1912 size with 542 employees, and produced 668,401 tons of coal.

Coal Miners Memorial Royal Mine & Coke Works (Chestnuit Ridge Mine),
Chestnut Ridge, Royal, Redstone Twp., Fayette Co., PA

Support the Coal & Coke Heritage Center, a non-profit research center and museum.
Want to know more about the women who lived in the coal patch towns?  You need this book.  One of the few studies done on the women of the coal & coke era.
Common lives of Uncommon Strength:
The Women of the Coal & Coke Era of Southwestern Pennsylvania 1880-1970
Complied, written and edited by: Evelyn A. Hovanec, PhD   227 pages.
Voices of the women tell unique stores of the coal and coke era, plus vintage photographs, documents, maps, and newspaper articles.  Hardcover $35.00  Soft cover $25.00  Add $5.00 shipping / handling.
Send Check or money order to:
Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University Fayette Campus
P.O. Box 519, Uniontown, PA  15401
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