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Coal Miners Memorial, Hostetter Mine & Coke Works, Hostetter, Unity Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA INDEX
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Hostetter Mine
& Coke Works,

(Lippincott Mine & Coke Works),
(Jamison No. 21 Mine)

Hostetter,
Unity Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

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

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated Sept. 20, 2008

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Lippincott Mine & Coke Works (ca.1890-1898),
Located on the Unity Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, on the Hostetter, Baggaley spur, off of T 894, Hostetter, Unity Twp.
[The Lippincott Mine was renamed the Hostetter Mine ca.1898.]
Owners: (ca.1890-1898) Hostetter Coke Company, Scottdale, PA

Hostetter Mine & Coke Works (ca.1898-1962),
Located on the Unity Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, on the Hostetter, Baggaley spur, off of T 894 at Hostetter, Hostetter, Unity Twp.
[Mine was first called Lippincott Mine and the Company Coal Patch Town was called Hostetter]
Owners: (ca.1890-1898) (Lippincott Mine) Hostetter Coke Company, Scottdale, PA
              (ca.1898-1906) Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company, Scottdale, PA
               [The Lippincott Mine was renamed the Hostetter Mine after the Hostetter Coke Company was reorganized as the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company.]
              (ca.1906-1941) H.C. Frick Coke Company, Scottdale, PA
                                       Company Store: Union Supply Company
              [(ca.1906-1941) H.C. Frick Coke Company continued to operate the Hostetter Mine under the
                Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company name, but directed by the General Superintendent of Frick Coke Company.]
               (ca.1941-Nov.,1962) Leased to Jamison Coal & Coke Company, Greensburg, PA
                 [Jamison Coal & Coke Company renamed the Hostetter Mine Jamison No. 21 Mine. when they leased the mine.]

Jamison No. 21 Mine (ca.1941-1962)
               (ca.1941-Nov.,1962) Hostetter Mine was leased to Jamison Coal & Coke Company, Greensburg, PA
                 [Jamison Coal & Coke Company renamed the Hostetter Mine "Jamison No. 21 Mine". when they leased the mine.]

HOSTETTER CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATIVE
The Commemorative Cover Cachet "From The Coal & Coke Era to The Space Age" issued by Hostetter Station, the Hostetter, PA United States Post Office for the centennial celebration of Hostetter, PA 1890 - 1990. The Hostetter Centennial on August 15, 1990.
(Cachet courtesy the Coal Mining Archives of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)

Map of Hostetter, PA
Topographical map of Hostetter ca.1964, showing the Unity Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad connection to the Hostetter Mine, which continued on the the Baggaley Mine. The Unity Branch of the P.R.R., now ca.2000 ends at Dorothy, PA.
The West Penn Railways Trolley Line to Latrobe is shown as an old Railroad grade abandoned.  From the Latrobe Quadrangle - Pennsylvania - Westmoreland Co., 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic) SW/4 Latrobe 15' Quadrangle. ca.1964
(Map courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)

DESCRIPTION:
In ca.1993 the most prominent structures standing on the site of the Hostetter Mine Complex was a large coal washer, recently utilized by the Delta Penn Coroporation to reclaim coal from the Slate Dump (Bony Dump) near the Hostetter Mine.  A few of the bee-hive coke ovens also survived from the coke works.  They are located east of the coal washer, along a tributary of Ninemile Run.  The extant structures of the coke works included about thirty bank ovens in severely to moderately deteriorated condition and about a dozen block ovens in severely deteriorated condition.
Most of the Hostetter Mine and Coke Works remains have now (ca.1999) been stripped away and the site covered with soil and reclaimed.  The mine and coke works, huge slate dump site is now, ca.2000, a long open valley covered in grasses, with no remains of the coal operation above ground.

(Photo by Ray Washlaski, of the Hostetter Mine site captured from a video tape, taken Nov., 2000.)

The town of Hostetter retains about fifty company-built houses, including a row where the foreman, mine boss, and other company officials lived, the superintendent's house, company store manager's house, company store, and a school.  The residences built for the company's managers are located on "Pony Row."  There are seven of these residences, each a large two-story double house with a gable roof, and two brick chimneys, resting on a stone foundation.

The mine superintendent's house is the largest residence in Hostetter.  It is a two-story wood-frame building with a hipped roof, clapboard siding, a full-length front porch, resting on a stone foundation.  The house has four-over-four-light double-hung sash windows and contains a centrally placed brick chimney.

The workers' houses stand in rows along First, Second, Third, and Fourth streets.  These include two-story wood-frame double houses and one-and-one-half-story single-family houses.  The double houses are typical of those found in western Pennsylvania coal patches.  Each has a gable roof, with the main entrance parallel to the gable roof, a central brick chimney, two-over-two-light double-hung sash windows, and rubble stone foundations.
(Photos by Ray Washlaski, captured from a video tape taken Nov., 2000.)
A number of houses retain their original outhouses, each with four stalls.  Most of the double family houses have been converted into single-family dwellings, and most have remodeled siding and front porches.  The single-family houses are also of wood-frame construction but have the typical coal patch saltbox roofs.  They feature central brick chimneys and rest on stone foundations.
Photo at right: One of a few remaining four stall outhouses in Hostetter, ca.2000, typical of those used in the Hostetter patch during the coal mining era.
(Photo by Ray Washlaski, captured from a video tape taken Nov., 2000)

The former company store, a two-story wood-frame building with a gable roof, has been completely remodeled  with the exterior covered with a wood paneling and served as a shop (ca.1993) for a furniture refinishing company.

The former school building was a one-story, stretcher-bond red-brick building containing a hipped roof which intrsects a gable-roof.  The gable roof covers the projecting central entrance.  This entrance was at the gable end and featured a stone panel with the inscription "1915 Hostetter."  A rear wing, also of brick constrution with a stone foundation, was topped with a gable roof. The school building had been altered with infilled and boarded up windows and a wood-frame garage type addition along the main side facade. The roof over the rear of the building looked to be in eminent danger of collapse.  The building served as a garage for the Unity Township road maintenance crew. The school building was torn down ca.2004. 
The former main entrance to the Hostetter school building, showing the stone panel, with a decorative brick border. The panel inscription is "1915 HOSTETTER." The Hostetter school building was torn down in ca.2004.
(Photos by Ray Washlaski, of the Hostetter school building, were captured from a video tape,  taken Nov., 2000.)

Construcion crew at Hostetter Patch Building the Coal Company Town
Carpenters and construction crew during the building of the company houses and Company Town of Hostetter for the Hostetter Coke Company, ca.1890.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection, Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA.)
Hosteter Company Store THE COMPANY STORE
The Hostetter Coke Company, Company Store shortly after it was built, with the Hostetter railroad station, on the Hostetter Spur, of the Unity Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad and freight loading dock, in the background to the right, ca.1890.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA.)

Hostetter Patch Hostetter Coal Patch
The new Company Patch Town of Hostetter, built by Hostetter Coke Company ca.1890, on a cold winter day.  Stacks of building material are still stored in the foreground.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collections of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)
Hostetter Patch Hostetter patch ca.1890's, with the bee-hive coke ovens burning in the back-ground and the Company Store to the right.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collections of the the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA.)
Hostetter Company Store Hostetter Company Store ca.1890's, with the railroad and the smoking Bee-hive oven coke works in the back-ground.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)

HISTORY:
David Hostetter, one of the founders of the Hostetter Coke Company, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of a physician.  By the early 1850's he had inherited his father's patent medicine business and began manufacturing "Hostetter's Bitters."  Successful in this venture, Hostetter invested his money in coal and gas lands in western Pennsylvania and had financial interests in Pittsburgh banks and railroads.  In the late 1880's Hostetter and several partners acquired coal lands in Unity Township, Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania and established the Whitney Mine & Coke Works  in ca.1889.  Led by superintendent John T. Rush, the mine had a slope entry and the coke works contained 302 bee-hive coke ovens.

In ca.1890 the Hostetter Coke Company opened a second mine and coke works and built the coal company patch town of Hostetter in Unity Township.  The company named the town Hostetter, after David Hostetter, and called the mine the Lippincott Mine & Coke Works. The superintendent at Hostetter, F.J. Friend, oversaw the opening of this slope mine along with the construction of a brick engine house and 292 bee-hive coke ovens.  Operations at the Lippincott Mine commenced in February, 1890, and by the end of the year it employed 162 persons, who produced nearly 36,000 tons of coal and over 17,000 tons of coke.  The Hostetter Mine & Coke Works was served by the Hostetter Spur off the Unity Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the spur line also served the Baggaley Mine & Coke Works. (That year, ca.1890,  the Whitney Mine and Coke Works employed 310 persons and produced 120,000 tons of coal, and 85,000 tons of coke.)

By the late 1890's the Hostetter Coke Company had reorganized as the Hostetter - Connellsville Coke Company and had renamed the Lippincott Mine the Hostetter Mine.

During the bitter coal miners strike of 1894, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company on the Unity Branch, have placed officers on all trains out, since the track was greased by the strikers.  Shipments of coke from Hostetter Connellsville Coal Works at Lippincott Mine had continued.

A deputy sheriff on duty at Lippincott Mine was severely beaten by strikers who caught him on the road near Latrobe.

In 1900 the Hostetter Mine and Coke Works employed 317 persons who produced 230,000 tons of coal and 163,000 tons of coke.  The coke works had been expanded by ca.1900 and contained 355 bee-hive coke ovens.

Explosion Rocks Hostetter Mine, February 27, 1903

From the Pennsylvania Mine Inspectors Report for 1903:
Hostetter. About one o'clock on the afternoon of February 27, 1903, an explosion of fire damp occurred in pillar workings on the No. 5 butt entry of No. 7 entry left.  I was at once notified of the explosion by Mr. J.R. Marshall, the general superintendent.  I arived at the mine at 6:30 P.M. and immediately entered the mine and proceeded to No. 6 entry left, where I met the rescue party, which was composed of Mr. George Eustis, Sr., mine foreman, John Dillon, John McDonald and John Nolan, fire bosses, and several others. Mr. Eustis and others had just returned from No. 7 entry left, and reported it to be practically clear of smoke as far as they had been.  Fire was supposed to exist in some part or parts of this entry which originated from the explosion.

A consulation was at once held and I was informed by the rescue party that they had to retreat from No. 6 entry, owing to the smoke which was coming from No. 7 entry left, below and accumulating in the reat workings of No. 6 entry above.  After carefully considering the matter we returned to the outside for the purpose of allowing the rescue party to get some nourishment, as they were very much fatigued, and also to examine the mine map and get such information as would assist us in a further examination.  We returned in about one and one-half hours and on reaching No. 6 entry left we found smoke on the traveling way, which prevented any further advancement to No. 7 entry left.  The smoke encountered was conclusive evidence that a portion of the workings on No.7 entry was on fire, and we concluded that it would endanger the lives of the party to attempt to go any further.

On our trip outside we were informed that three to six persons were supposed to be in this section of the mine, in the extreme workings on No. 6 entry.  Upon learning this we proceeded up entry No. 6 for the purpose of rescuing them, if possible, notwithstanding this had been tried and abandoned three hours before that time.

After making every effort possible to explore the extreme workings on No. 6 entry left, we were again compelled to desist, owing to the smoke which had accumulated, either from fire in No. 6 entry left or the fire in Nol. 7 entry left, which was only a short distance away, or from both.  We returned to the outside and while in consultation, nine mem led by a boy came out.  These parties had secreted themselves in an abandoned place and by the proper use of canvas had prevented the smoke from entering thier retreat.  They said that they had heard the calls of the rescue party, but supposed that the calls came from miners in the same predicament as themselves and for that reason did not answer.  They supposed that they might possible be forced from their hiding place by these parties.

On the following morning I called Inspectors Roby, Callaghan and Mollison, who arrived on the first train, and we at once entered the mine. A careful examination revealed the fact that explosive gas was near the fire, which caused us to abandon any further attempt to reach the fire. A consulation was held and it was decided that the best thing to do to protect life and property would be to seal the fire off by building stoppings of masonry in all openiings to the burning section.  This was done, and the stoppings remain at this writing.

The exact cause of the explosion will probably never be known, as the mine was worked exclusively with locked safety lamps.

The miners escaped uninjured, except Frank Bassar, who worked with his brother Mike on No. 12 pillar, off 4 butt entry, off No. 7 entry left. His body is still supposed to be in the burning section of the mine.

Mike Bassar, who was one of the persons who escaped, stated that his brother Frank left him about fifteen minutes before the explosion occurred and he had not seen him since. I think that his body is certainly in that section of the mine.

The mine was considered practically clear of explosive gas, as I never found any in the pillar workings.  John McDonald, the fire boss, who examined this section in the morning, informed me that he could not detect any gas on the falls or in any other places. This being the case, I am of the opinion that during the day a feeder of gas was liberated by the disturbed strata in the pillar workings and the same accumulated in the cavity caused by drawing the pillars and also in the abandoned portions of this section, and that Frank Bassar, who is still missing, wandered off into the place where said gas had accumulated and that the explosion was caused by a defective lamp or by the lamp being tampered with.

By ca.1910 the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company was the third leading producer in the Pennsylvania Second Bituminous District; only the Jamison Coal & Coke Company and the Keystone Coal & Coke Company outproduced the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company.

By this time, ca.1906, however, the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company was controlled by the H.C. Frick Coke Company of Scottdale, with W. H. Clingerman, General Superintendent of Frick Coke Company, directing the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company.  The Hostetter Mine & Coke Works and the Whitney Mine & coke Works properties continued to operate under the auspics of the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company, until they were leased by the Jamison Coke & Coke Company in ca.1941.

Through the 1910's the Hostetter Mine and Coke Works consistently produced over 340,000 tons of coal and 210,000 tons of coke each year.  The mine and coke employed between 350 and 400 persons per year.  Burgess B. Boyd, of Hostetter served as superintendent of operations beginning in the 1910's through the early 1930's.  By ca.1930 the Whitney Mine was idle, although the H.C. Frick Coke Company continued to operate the Hostetter Mine and Coke Works under the Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company banner.  In ca.1930 production of coal at Hostetter Mine amounted to more than 97,000 tons; coke production exceeded 51,000 tons that year, the fifth largest of the county's ten remaining bee-hive oven coke producers.

As one retired coke worker recalled, the company paid its coke workers by the amount of coke produced.  About 1930, workers received $2.65 per railroad car load of coke.  (It took about eight to ten hours of work at the coke ovens to produce this amount.)  By the late 1920's the block ovens at Hostetter were changed over to a machine drawn coke operation, whereas the bank ovens to the south remained a hand drawn coke operation.

The United Mine Workers Union, Local #7951, represented the miners of Hostetter Mine.
In 1941, the Jamison Coal & Coke Company of Greensburg leased the Hostetter Mine, as well as the Whitney Mine and Marguerite Mine from the H.C. Frick Coke Company.  Jamison Coal & Coke Company closed and sealed the Hostetter Mine in November, 1962.

Hostetter, In its prime
The houses and fenced in yards, gardens and out building in the H.C. Frick Coke Company town of Hostetter Sept. 6, 1911.
(Photo courtesy of the coal mining archives of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)

Firing a Coke Oven, Hostetter Coke Works Firing the Coke Oven
Firing a coke oven with a wood fire to heat up the brick coke oven, before bricking up the opening and adding the coal charge through the charge hole in the top, at Hostetter Coke Works, of Hostetter-Connellsville Coke Company, a part of the H.C. Frick Coke Company, ca.1912.
(Photo courtesy of USX Resource Management Division, Uniontown and Coal and Coke Hertiage Center, Penn State University, Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA.)

Loading Coke into boxcars, a Back Breaking Job
The back-breaking job of hand loading coke into wooden railroad box cars at Hostetter Coke Works ca.1910, Hostetter Mine, Hostetter, Unity Twp. The H.C.Frick Coke Company was one of the last coke company's to employ mechanical coke loading equipment.
(Photo courtesy of USX Resource Management Division, Uniontown and Coal & Coke Heritage Center, Penn State University, Fayette Campus, Uniontown, PA)
Hand Loading Coke, Hostetter Coke Works

Hostetter Mine Rotary Dump Steel mine cars, loaded with coal from the Hostetter Mine, being pushed into the rotary dumping shed.  From there the coal was tranported on a conveyer to the tipple for loading into the railroad hopper cars, at the Hostetter Mine in its later years.  A few of the old bee-hive bank coke ovens can be seen to the right.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Archives Mining Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society , Latrobe, PA)
Hostetter Mine Railroad yards A part of the Hostetter Mine complex, with the railroad yard in the foreground, and railroad coal loading tipple to the left, in its later years.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)
Coal Miners at the Hostetter Mine in later years.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)
The Mine Tipple
The Hostetter Mine tipple. The large slate dump (bony dump) is to the right.  Wooden mine props are stacked in the foreground for use in the mine.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)
Hostetter Mine coal loading tipple and rail yards of the Unity Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad towards the end of production at the mine.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)
A few of the coal miners at Hostetter Mine around the time of the Second World War.
(Photo courtesy of the Coal Mining Archives Collection of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)
Coal Company patch house, Hostetter, PA One of the original Hostetter Mine Company houses ca.1993, that has not been remodeled extensively which retains its original wood clapboard siding and windows.
(Photo by Carmen DiCiccio courtesy of HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C..)

Hostetter coke oven battery in ruins Reclaiming the Slate Dump
The remains of the Hostetter Coke Works and Slate Dump (Boney Dump) at Hostetter Mine, as they were being reclaimed ca.1993.  This area has now (ca.1999) been stripped of most of the remains of the coke works and reclaimed and planted in grass.
(Photo by Ken Rose, courtesy of HABS/HAER, National Park Service, Library of Comgress, Washington, D.C..)

The earth moving equiptment begins to reclaim the old slate dump (boney dump) and coke works at the site of the Hostetter Mine.
(Photo courtesy of the coal mining archives of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA
The reclamation work on the Hostetter Mine and slate dump (boney dump). Photo taken on April 23, 1994. Chestnut Ridge is in the background.
(Photo courtesy of the coal mining archives, Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe,PA)
Another photo ca.1994 of the reclaimation work on the Hostetter Mine Slate Dump, a bank of coke ovens is buried in the foreground of the dump.  Chestnut Ridge is in the background.
(Photo courtesy of the coal mining archives of the Latrobe Area Historical Society, Latrobe, PA)

Coal Miners Memorial "Hostetter Mine & Coke Works,
Hostetter, Unity Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania "
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