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Return to the Main County Index for Southwestern Pennsylvania Coal Mines


Iselin: A Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Co. Town, Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA


Iselin: A Coal Company Patch Town, Iselin No. 1 & No. 2 Mines, Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA


Whiskey Run: Coal Company Patch Town, Iselin No. 3, No. 4 & No. 5 Mines, Whiskey Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA


Coal Miners Memorial Iselin Mines, Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA


Coal Miners Memorial Fritz Mines (Big Run Mines), Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA


Bufalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway at the Iselin Mines, Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA


Coal Mines of Indiana Co., PA MAIN INDEX
Iselin Mines
Iselin No. 1 Mine (Iselin),
Iselin No. 2 Mine (Iselin),
Iselin No. 3 Mine (Whiskey Run),
Iselin No. 4 Mine (Nesbit Run),
Iselin No. 5 Mine (HartTown),
Iselin No. 6 Mine (Armstrong Co., PA),
Big Run No. 1 Mine
(Fritz No. 1 Mine),
Big Run No. 2 Mine
(Fritz No. 2 Mine),

Iselin, Whiskey Run, Nesbit Run,
HartTown, Big Run,
Young Twp.,
Indiana County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Iselin Mines, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated July 1, 2010

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Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[A coal company patch town in Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA.]
[Located on the Iselin Branch of the Elders Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway.]
See: Iselin No. 1 Mine, Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
       Iselin No. 2 Mine, Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA

Iselin No. 1 Mine (ca.1903-1935),
Located on the Iselin Spur of the Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, on Harpers Run, at Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
Owners:  (ca.1903-   ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1920-   ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1930-1935), Helvetia Coal Mining Company,

Iselin No. 2 Mine (ca.1903-1935),
Located on the Iaelin Spur of the Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, on Harpers Run, at Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1903-    ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1920-   ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1930-1935), Helvetia Coal Mining Company,

Whiskey Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[A Coal Company Patch town in Young Twp., Indiana Co., Pennsylvania.]
[Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Ridge Branch.]
[The coal mining patch town of Whiskey Run is now a coal mining ghosttown, with only a road sign noting Whiskey Run Road.  The Whiskey Run town site has been totally stripped mined out.]
See: Iselin No. 3 Mine, Whiskey Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA

Iselin No. 3 Mine
(Whiskey Run Mine)
(ca.1906-1929),
Located at Whiskey Run (Reed), Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA on the Whiskey Run Spur of the Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, on Whiskey Run, at Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1906-  ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1920-  ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1929), Helvetia Coal Mining Company,

Nesbit Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[A coal company patch town in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.]
[Nesbit Run is now a coal mining Ghost Town, with only a road sign noting Nesbit Run Road.]
See: Iselin No. 4 Mine, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA

Iselin No. 4 Mine
(Nesbit Run Mine)
(ca.1910-1928),
Located at Nesbit Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA on the Nesbit Run Spur of the Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, on Nesbit Run, at Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1910-  ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1920-  ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1928), Helvetia Coal Mining Company,

Hart Town, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[The spelling of Hart Town may have been Harttown.]
[A coal company patch town in Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania.]
[The coal mining patch town of Hart Town is now a coal mining ghosttown, with only a few of the building foundations extant.  The Hart Town town area has been stripped mined out.]
[Located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, Ridge Branch, Whiskey Run Spur. The coal cars were run through the hill on a trestle and mine tunnels to the Whiskey Run Tipple.]
See: Iselin No. 5 Mine, Hart Town, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA

Iselin No. 5 Mine
(Hart Town Mine)
(ca.1910-1929),
Located at Harttown (Whiskey Run), Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA

[The coal mined at the Iselin No. 5 Mine (Hart Town Mine) was probably taken through the hill, via mine tunnels, to the tipple on the Whiskey Run Spur of the Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway at the Iselin No. 3 Mine at Whiskey Run.]
Owners: (ca.1910-  ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
             (ca.1920-  ?  ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
             (ca.1929), Helvetia Coal Mining Company, 

Iselin No. 6 Mine (ca.1967-  ?  ),
Located in South Bend Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
[Iselin No. 6 Mine mined the "Pittsburgh" coal seam.]
[Located on the USGS Avonmore, PA 7 1/2 min. Quad Map.]
[Iselin No. 6 Mine Map located at PA - DEP, Uniontown Map Depository A - Map ID. 1389 - Shelf location - L2.]
Owners: (ca.1967-  ?  ), Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company, Indiana, PA

Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[A coal company patch town in Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania, located just north of Clarksburg, and southwest of Iselin.]
See: Big Run No. 1 Mine, Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
        Big Run No. 2 Mine, Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
        Fritz No. 1 Mine, Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
        Fritz No. 2 Mine, Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA

Big Run No. 1 Mine
(Fritz No. 1 Mine)
(ca.1910- ? ),
Located on Big Run Creek, Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[The Fritz Mines did not have a direct connection to the B. R. & P. Railway, the coal mined at the Big Run Mines was probably taken through the hill, via mine tunnels, to the railroad tipple at the Iselin Mines on the Iselin Spur of the Elders Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway.]
[Fritz No. 1 Mine was also called Big Run No. 1 Mine.]
Owners: (ca.1910-  ?  ) Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
                                  [A subsidiary of the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company, Indiana , PA.]

Big Run No. 2 Mine
(Fritz No. 2 Mine)
(ca.1910- ? ),
Located on Big Run Creek, Big Run, Young Twp., Indiana Co., PA
[The Fritz Mines did not have a direct connection to the B. R. & P. Railway, the coal mined at the Big Run Mines was probably taken through the hill, via mine tunnels, to the railroad tipple at the Iselin Mines on the Iselin Spur of the Elders Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway.]
[Fritz No. 1 Mine was also called Big Run No. 1 Mine.]
Owners: (ca. 1910- ? ), Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, Indiana, PA
                                   [A subsidiary of the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company, Indiana, PA.]

Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company subsidiary Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company developed seven Mines in Young Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania area, along the Elder Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway.  Iselin No. 1 Mine and Iselin No. 2 Mine were developed on Harpers Run, along with the coal company patch town of Iselin.  Iselin No. 3 Mine and Iselin No. 5 Mine were on Whiskey Run, with the coal company patch towns of Whiskey Run and Hart Town.  Iselin No. 4 Mine was on Nesbit Run with the coal company patch town of Nesbit Run.  Fritz No. 1 Mine and Frtiz No. 2 Mine were developed on Big Run with the coal company patch town of Big Run. All of these towns, with the exception of Iselin, have passed into history, and are now Coal Mining Ghost Towns.
(Map courtesy of Eileen Mountjoy, formerly of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, copied from Eileen Mountjoy Cooper's book "Rochester &: Pittsburgh Coal Company: The First Hundred Years." ca.1982)

A portion of the U.S.G.S. ca.1904 Elders Ridge, PA 15 min. quad map showing the coal patch town of Iselin, Young Township, Indiana Co., PA   The Elders Ridge Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, had entensive yards in the valley of Harpers Run, below Iselin, as well as a railroad station.  Scan to the right for the entire map.
(Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)

One of the mine openings at Iselin No. 1 or No. 2 Mines, the building on the hill above the opening is a fan house, used to ventilate the mine, and provide fresh air at the working faces.  The large ventilating fan is located on the right side of the building.
(Photo courtesy of the Special Collections Section, IUP Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA)

DESCRIPTION:
Iselin, established in ca.1903 by the Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, a subsidiary firm of the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company, is located in southeastern Young Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.  Most of the more than 200 coal company miners houses built here survive, along with the much altered coal company store, mine office, and doctor's office.  The mining complex itself has been dismantled and the most of the area were the mines were located has been stripmined.

Several types of company houses were constructed by the Hyde-Murphy Company, general contractors.  The common single-family house is a weatherboarded frame structure resting on a stone foundation, and is topped by a slate roof.  The double-family houses, which sheltered two families, are much larger.  The T-Plan houses are built on full basements, with access by a flight of steps to a central shed porch.  The houses had privies and coal sheds in the rear, a few of which remain.  All houses were originally painted a uniform gray color, most now have some form of synthetic siding applied over the weatherboard.

The Iselin Mine complex was located in the valley of Harper's Run, below the coal company patch town of Iselin.  The mine building complex and accompanying railroad yards have been removed, though one mine portal is supposedly intact.  The mine office, now a private residence, is a brick structure, 36 feet X 18 feet, built on a stone foundation and topped by a hipped roof.  It was built in 1914.  The smaller doctor's office next door is of a tile construction, also covered by a hipped roof.  The coal company store, a large brick structure, has been substantially altered with the removal of the second floor and other changes, it now serves as the local fire hall.  The town had two churches, one Catholic and one Protestant.  The Holy Cross Parish Catholic Church building was scheduled to be moved to Aultman, but the move was never done, and the church building was sold, but by ca.2008 seems to be abandoned or only used for storage.

Undated photo of the Iselin Mine tipple and power house.
(Photo courtesy of the Special Collections Section, IUP Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA)

HISTORY:
Iselin was the second major coal company town established by the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company, and was built by its subsidiary firm Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company.  After completing work on the mining complex and the coal company town at Ernest, the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company began to develop a second major coal field in the Elder's Ridge area in southern Young Township of Indiana County.

Lucius Robinson, president of Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company, formed another of its subsidiary companies, the Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company, and purchased 6,000 acres in the Elder's Ridge area  of Young Township, Indiana County in November, 1902.  The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway began construction of a rail line extension south from its Creekside terminal in ca.1903, employing 675 men under the subcontractors King, Clement & Shoemaker Company.

Coal mining began at this location even before the new coal company patch town of Iselin was built.  Two drift mines, Iselin No. 1 Mine & Iselin No. 2 Mine, were opened by August, 1903.  The Hyde-Murphy Company, which was completing the coal company built houses at Ernest, was contracted with again to build the new coal company town, and had twelve houses completed by September, 1903.  The new town was named Iselin, after Adrian Iselin, the chief investor in the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal & Iron Company.

The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway "Elders Ridge Branch line" to Iselin was completed in ca.1904, and the new mines continued to expand.  The thirty-nine room Iselin Hotel was built in ca.1904, at a cost of $9,000 by Charles Rowe.  The town also had a railroad station which located near Harpers Run below the town, coal company store, doctor's office, theater, two churches, cemetery and a school building.

In the initial months, forty-two men were employed at the Iselin Mines.  By ca.1905, the work force had grown to 440, men and boys. The work force reached 1,200 by ca.1908, and in ca.1920, 1,700 were working the Iselin Mines.  Many of these were immigrants, as Indiana County could not furnish adequate local labor for such a large undertaking.

Iselin One the County's Big Mining Towns

Iselin is located one mile northeast of Eldersridge, at the terminus of the Iselin branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway.  There are a number of mines at this place ehich give employment to 1,000 men.  The seam worked is the Pittsburgh vein, which is the vest vein in the county.  The daily output is 6,000 tons.  These mines have always run regularly.  A company store is conducted in connection with the mines.
[from the "Indiana Progress," Indiana, PA, June 7, 1916.]

(History and description of Iselin Mines, adapted with additional data and pictures from "Indiana County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, 1993,"  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.)

Motormen and their mine motors outside the Iselin Mines.  The coal company owned miners houses can be seen up the hill on the right.  
(Photo courtesy of the Special Collections Section, IUP Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA)

Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company First Aid Team for the Iselin Mines, during a First Aid Meet, with First Aid teams from the other local mines.  
(Photo courtesy of the collections of the Historical & Genealogical Society of Indiana County, Indiana, PA)

Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company Iselin Mines First Aid Team ca.1916.
(Photo courtesy of the Special Collections Section, IUP Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA. Source: Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company Media Collection, MG 94: Series III, Box 1 Photographs, Folder: Iselin.)

Pittsburgh Gas Coal Company Iselin Mines First Aid Team, ca.1916.
(Photo courtesy of the Special Collections Section, IUP Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA. Source: Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company Media Collection, MG 94: Series III, Box 1 Photographs, Folder: Iselin.)

"Coal Miners Memorial, Iselin Mines,
Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania"

"Iselin: Coal Company Patch Town,
Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania"

"Iselin: A Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Town.
Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania"

"Whiskey Run: Coal Company Patch Town,"
Hart Town: Coal Company Patch Town,
near Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania"

"Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway at the Iselin Mines,
Iselin, Young Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania"

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