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Located on the Western Pennsylvania Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, later the Conemaugh Division, along the north bank of the Conemaugh River, approx. 2 miles east of Blairsville, at the mouth of Tom's Run, Strangford, Burrell Twp., Indiana Co., PA
USGS 7 1/2 min Quad. Map: New Florence, PA
UTM: E.17 650700 N. 4476680
Owners: (ca.1904- ? ), Graff Brothers Coal Company, Blairsville, PA
(ca.1904- ? ), Strangford Coal Company, Blairsville, PA
(ca.1905- ? ), Blairsville Coke Company, Blairsville, PA
(ca.1913- ? ), Graff Coal Company, Blairsville, PA
(ca.1915- ? ), Strangford Coal Mining Company, Blairsville, PA
(ca.1917- ? ), Strangford Coal Company, Blairsville, PA
(ca.1920-1923), Strangford Coal Company, Blairsville, PA
A portion of the U.S. Geological Survey 15min. New Florence,
PA Quad map, 1922 edition, showing the area around Strangford, Burrell Township,
Indiana Co., PA.
The former coal company town of Strangford is located roughly two miles east of Blairsville, on the Conemaugh River, at the mouth of Tom's Run. Todat, about eight of the original miners' houses survive, and fall into two house types. The smaller houses, of which there are six, are two stories in height, rest on random ashlar stone foundations, and are topped by side-gable composition shingle roofs. A one-story shed porch extends most of the way across the front, and several houses have small shed additions. Most are now covered with synthetic siding. The two larger houses, built for the mine superintendent and company managers, are also two stories high, but are three bays wide, and topped by center-gable roofs. Again, simple shed porches are centered on the facade.
A large slate dump from the Strangford Mine is located along the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks and the Conemaugh River.
The Graff Brothers Coal Company of Blairsville opened the Strangford Mine in ca.1904, with Ernest Fletcher as mine superintendent. The Strangford mine is along the Pennsylvania Railroad on the north side of the Conemaugh River, east of Strangford. The pit mouth is at an elevation of 975 feet. This was originally a pick mine with a daily output of 150 tons from advance workings. By ca.1913 mining was being conducted by the Graff Coal Company. In ca.1915, the mines were operated by the Strangford Coal Mining Company; sixty three men were employed, producing nearly 35, 000 tons of coal.
Mining at Strangford began in ca.1904 and was suspended in ca.1923, with a total production of 711,000 tons of coal removed; the coal was produced as run-of-mine. An area of about 326 acres has been developed; large quantities of minable coal are still available. The coal is medium-volatile bituminous having a normal bed thickness of 42 inches with a 1-inch bony parting in the lower part. The bed was measured and sampled at three points by personnel of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in ca.1922.
Apparently, only eight of the former coal company houses survive.
The Village of Strangford is located on the site of an old ford across the Conemaugh River. A Chemical works were once located in Strangford as well. Folklore has it, that these Chemical Works evidently gave off strange foul odors, and a railroad engineer is said to have claimed the smell was enough to "Strangle" someone, hence the place became known as, Strangford.
About one-half mile east of the Strangford Mine the Upper Freeport coal was strip-mined in a single cut which extends along the outcrop for approximately 2000 feet. The immediate cover is shale up to 30 ffet thick; and the cap rock is medium-bedded Mahoning sandstone, at least 15 feet thick.
Another extraction industry located near Strangford was a limestone quarry in the Loyalhanna Limestone, located further east in the Conemaugh Gorge. This abandoned quarry contains Strangford Cave. Strangford Cave has now been gated by the Game Commission, under the pretense the Allegheny Cave rat is indangered, even though the Allegheny Cave Rats live throughout the entire Conemaugh gorge, Loyalhanna gorge areas and Chestnut Ridge area.
Part of Strangford Mine Slate dump radioactive:
(History and description of Strangford Mines, adapted 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.)
The Strangford Methodist Church, one of the landmarks of Blairsville, was erected during the summer of 1908 under the supervision of Charles F. Libengood, carpenter and contractor. The lumber and labor were donated by residents.
Today's old photograph was reprinted from the Historical Record of Blairsville, published by the Young Men's Volunteer Fire Department in 1947
Miners Memorial, Strangford Mine,
Strangford, Burrell Twp., Indiana County, Pennsylvania"
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