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Coal Miners Memorial Kinlock Mines, Kinlock, Lower Burrell Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Kinlock Mines Disasters, 1928 & 1929, Kinlock, Lower Burrell Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


History of the Valley Camp Mines, Valley Camp, New Kensington, Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA Main INDEX
Township Map of Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania
Map of R.R. Transportation System Westmoreland Co.
Map of West Penn System Light Power Railway
Kinlock Mine No. 1
(Shaft Entry),
Kinlock Mine No. 2
(Slope Entry)

Kinlock,
Lower Burrell Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Kinlock Mines, Lower Burrell Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated May 6, 2010
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Kinlock Mine No. 1, Shaft Entry (ca.1918-1935),
Located on the Kinlock Spur of the Allegheny Valley Railroad (later the Pennsylvania Railroad), the mine shaft is under present-day PA Rt. 366, Kinlock, Lower Burrell Twp. (Present-day City of Lower Burrell)
              (Site of the 1928 Kinlock Mine Disaster, a gas explosion that killed 12 miners)
              (Site of the 1929 Kinlock Mine Disaster, a gas explosion that killed 46 miners.)
Owners: (ca.1918-1914) Valley Coal Company, Leechburg, PA
              (ca.1914-1935) Valley Camp Coal Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Kinlock Mine No. 2, Slope entry (ca.1918-1935),
Located of the Kinlock Spur of the Allegheny Valley Railroad (later the Pennsylvania Railroad), N. of PA Rt. 366 at Wells Avenue, Kinlock, Lower Burrell Twp. (Present-day City of Lower Burrell)
Owners: (ca.1918-1935) Valley Camp Coal Company, Cleveland, Ohio

DESCRIPTION:
The town of Kinlock is located on a terrace and hillside adjacent to Pucketa Creek along PA Rt. 366, in Lower Burrell Township, (presentday City of Lower Burrell) near New Kensington, in Westmoreland County.  The town consists of the company store, pay station, community center, two sections of company houses and a series of tenements.

Kinlock Mine Company Store script Company Store script from the Valley Camp Stores Company. The coal company store at Kinlock Mine.
(Courtesy of "20,000 Coal Company Stores," by Gordon Dodrill)
A ca.1923 photo of a group of miners at the Kinlock Mine.  The man standing fifth from the left is James Davidson (Davis). (Photo courtesy of the "Daily Dispatch," New Kensington, PA.)

The Company Store
The company store stands at the corner of Hill and Broadway;  it is a two-story wood-frame building that measures 66 ft. x 41 ft.  Its original vertical wood cladding has been covered with aluminum siding. The building features a gable roof and a tall red-brick chimney, and a relatively well-preserved storefront and wood porch.  The display windows have been infilled with sheet metal and the other windows have been altered.

(Photo ca.2010 by Ray Washlaski.)

The Valley Camp Coal Company pay station is a two-and-a-half-story stretcher-bond red-brick building;  it contains a hipped roof of asphalt with a brick chimney.  The building rest on a concrete foundation;  modifications include windows infilled with brick and porches added to the main facade and the rear. The Coal Company pay station is Hereda's Bar and Hereda's Hotel.

(Photo ca.2010 by Ray Washlaski.)
The community center is a stretcher-bond red-brick building, measuring 78 ft. x 50 ft.  It contains a gable roof of asphalt with brick chimney and a concrete foundation.

A gymnasium was located on the second floor.  It has sustained a number of alterations including the installation of new windows and the construction of a two-story brick addition to the main facade.

(Photo ca.2010 by Ray Washlaski.)
(Photo ca.2010 by Ray Washlaski.)

The Kinlock Community Center now houses the Mosey-On-Inn and rental units.

The tenements continue to be used as multiple-family dwellings.

The company-built residences on Hill Street include twenty-two single-family houses.  These are one-story wood frame buildings with hipped roofs and tall central red-brick chimneys.  They rest on cement-block foundations. These houses retain much of their original appearance.  At the end of Hill Street two three-family houses stand.  These are two-story wood-frame buildings, with gable roofd and central corbelled brick chimneys; They rest on concrete-block foundations.  A tenement building containing six apartments also survives.  It contains stucco over original wood siding and is a wood-frame building with a gable roof.

Below Hill Street is another section of dwellings containing about thirty wood-frame double houses and three-family houses, many of which have been altered with new siding and windows.  In addition, this part of town contains six single-family houses which retain much of there original appearance.

One of the streets of coal company double family houses for the miners in Kinlock.  Most have been altered with new siding or additions.
(Photo by Ray Washlaski, ca.2002.)
Another of the streets of coal company double family houses for the miners in Kinlock.
(Photo by Ray Washlaski, ca.2002.)

The "Titanic"
The "Titanic," as it was called, was a large wood-frame wood-sided two-story  with a basement, tenement building containing twenty-three apartments or attached row houses.  The building once stood south of the company store.  The "Titanic" building was a whole city block long. The building faced the old Greensburg Road, west of the present fire hall.  A long shed roofed porch running the length of the building was on the first floor or street level, in the front of the building.  In the rear of the building the foundation was exposed to ground level and a shed roofed porch attached to the first floor of the building, running the entire length of the rear of the building was supported on posts, on the first floor level, or main floor of the building.  The "Titanic" was demolished in the late 1980's or early 1990's, the site was graded and part of it turned into a playground.

HISTORY:
Around 1910 the Valley Coal Company, led by Joseph G. Beale of Leechburg in Armstrong County, developed a coal property in Lower Burrell Township.  (Beale also had interests in the Aladdin Coal and Coke Company and Joseph G. Beale & Company with mines in Armstrong County.)  By 1914 the Valley Coal Company, a concern based in Cleveland, Ohio, led by J.A. Paisley, acquired Beale's Valley Coal Company.  Harry E. Kinlock of Parnassus, Pennsylvania (the town is now the Parnassus section of the City of New Kensington), served as the company's general superintendent.

The Valley Camp mine, a drift entry mine situated on the 72"-thick Freeport Coal seam employed 300 persons and produced over 420,000 tons of coal each year.
During the First World War the Valley Camp Coal Company opened a second mine and constructed company housing, an office building, and a company store.  It named this the Kinlock Mine and company town Kinlock, after the company's superintendent Harry E. Kinlock.  The Kinlock Mine had a slope entry and a shaft entry and was situated on the 70" thick Freeport coal seam.

By ca.1918 the Kinlock Mine employed 329 persons. That year Kinlock Mine miners extracted nearly 398,000 tons of coal.   By the end of the First World War the town of Kinlock included numerous company houses, a company store, and a community center.
In 1919 Kinlock Mine produced 583,310 tons of coal, the mine worked 247 days with 484 employees. The mine had 3 fatal accidents and 16 non-fatal accidents in 1919.
In 1920 Kinlock Mine had a total production of 636,282 tons of coal, the mine worked 293 days with 540 employees.  The mine had 2 fatal accidents and 10 non-fatal accidents in 1920.
The mid-1920's witnessed the greatest mining activity at Kinlock Mine.  In 1925 Valley Camp Coal Company employed nearly 800 persons at the Kinlock Mine and about 1,047,000 tons of coal was extracted from the mine.  In addition to the Kinlock Mine, the Valley Camp Coal Company operated the nearby Valley Camp Mines and the Soudan Mine in Washington County.

(History and description of Kinlock Mine, adapted from with additional data and photos, "Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, 1994,"  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.)

Kinlock Mine Disaster:  February 20, 1928
On February 20, 1928 a fatal gas explosion at the Kinlock Mine killed 12 miners. The Kinlock Mine was reopened shortly after this mining disaster.

Kinlock Mine Disaster:  March 21, 1929
On March 21, 1929 the Kinlock Mine was the site of another fatal gas explosion that killed forty-six miners.  Several of the forty-six miners killed were: John Beadling, David Behanna, Charles Edward Hanlon and Harry Hertzog.  The coal company reopened the Kinlock Mine after this mining disaster.

By the early 1930's the mine was producing more than 100,000 tons of coal per year.  The Kinlock Mine never achived the production levels it had reached prior to the 1929 explosion and the company ceased operations at the Kinlock Mine ca.1935.

Miners Buy Own Homes for Few Hundreds at Auction.

Kinlock, PA  Sept. 18, 1936

All the homes and buildings in this mining village of nearly 1,000 inhabitants went under the auctioneer's hammer today.
Hardy miners and their families bought their own houses, mostly smoke-blackened frame buildings, for figures ranging from $100 to $250 at a sale held in the general store.
The auction came as a consequence of the closing of the town's main industry - coal.  The Valley Camp Coal Company shut down its mine because it proved unprofittable, and put its whole town-site on the block.
Inhabitants stood around the table in the store where F. S. Moran, the auctioneer droned off descriptions of the houses, and called for bids.
Moran offered to sell the 1,600 acre town as a whole, but there were no bidders.
Then he put blocks of houses in the community up for a price, but again he failed to get a bid.
He sold to a woman for $4,475 the general store, built at a cost of $10,000 and the comminity building, once valued at about $30,000.
The real bidding started when the auctioneer offered the individual houses.
"Twenty per cent. down, and the balance in 60 days" - these were the terms agreed to by the salesman.
Many without money listened without protest.  Ben Zellers, 45, who lost a leg in an explosion that took 46 lives in the town's big mine seven years ago, said he had no funds.  His wife commented: "Nobody's bought our house yet.  But they can't put us out.  Winter is coming and we've got to have some kind of protection."
Kinlock is situated in the hills 20 miles from Pittsburgh.
(from the "Bradford Era," Bradford, PA, Sept. 19, 1936.)

TOWN SOLD

The little town of Kinlock, Pa., twenty miles from Pittsburgh, was sold at auction the other day.  It was a "Company-Owned" coal town of about 1,000 inhabitants.  The company had shut down the mine because it was unprofitable, and was selling out.  It was, according to current economic views a natural and legitimate proceeding.

The general store and community house brot $4,475, being bought by a woman who evidently had more faith in the place than the coal company had.  The "Company houses" went for $100 to $250 apiece, at which price thay may or may not have been bargains.  The tenants, mostly unemployed and moneyless, were uncertain of their fate.

The coal mine was the town's leading industry.  Most of the miners are remaining there for lack of any other place to go, wanting work, but with prospects very slim.  Of course they cannot be allowed to starve and freeze.  Somebody will have to provide for them, probably the federal government.

That town is interesting for the human problems involved and for the economic problems it represents.  What is to be done with such a community?  Has modern industrial civilization a constructive answer?
(from the "Ames Daily Tribune," Ames, IA, Sept. 23, 1936.)

References:
Dodrill, Gordon
1971 20,000 Coal Company Stores: in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne Lithographing Company.
Keystone Consolidated Publishing Company
1935 The Coal Catalog, Including Directory of Mines.  Pittsburgh, PA:  Keystone Consolidated Company.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
1911 Report of the Department of Mines of Pennsylvania:  Part II - Bituminous, 1910.  Harrisburg, PA: C.E.Aughinbaugh, State Printer.
1916 Report of the Department of Mines of Pennsylvania: Part II - Bituminous. 1915.  Harrisburg, PA: Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer.
1920 Report of the Department of Mines of Pennsylvania: Part II - Bituminous, 1918.  Harrisburg, PA: J.L.L. Kuhn.
1927 Report of the Department of Mines: Part II - Bituminous,1923-1926. Harrisburg, PA: J.L.L. Kuhn.
1932 Report of the Department of Mines: Part II - Bituminous, 1929-1930.  Harrisburg, PA: n.p.
DeMarchi, Jane
n.d. Historical Mining Disasters. from the archives of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy's Library. Beckeley, WV:  National Mine Health and Safety Academy
Muller, Edward K. & Ronald C. Carlisle
1994 Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania:  An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites.  Historic American Building Survey/ Historic American Engineering Record, HABS/HAER. America's Industrial Heritage Project. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Washington County Department of Environmental Resources.
n.d.  Mining Records.  McMurray, PA: Washington County Department of Environmental Resources.
"Coal Miners Memorial, Kinlock Mines,
Kinlock, Lower Burrell Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"

"Kinlock Mines Disasters, 1928 & 1929,
Kinlock, Lower Burrell Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"

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