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Coal Miners Memorial, Somers No.2, No. 3 & No. 4  Mines, Pricedale, Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA


Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA INDEX
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Somers No. 2 Mine,
Somers No. 3 Mine,
Somers No. 4 Mine,

Pittsburgh Coal Company,
Pricedale,
Rostraver Township,
Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams at the Somers Mines, Pricedale, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

by Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Advisor,
Peter E. Starry, Jr. "The Old Miner."

Updated Oct. 12, 2009

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Somers No. 2 Mine (ca.1894-1955), on the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad, at Pricedale, Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1894-1900), J. H. Somers Fuel Company, Belle Vernon, PA
              (ca.1900-1945), Pittsburgh Coal Company, Pittsburgh , PA
                                       Company Store: Federal Supply Company
              (ca.1945-1955), Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Somers No. 3 Mine (ca.1901- ? ), on the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad., near Pricedale, Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1900-1945), Pittsburgh Coal Company, Pittsburgh , PA
                                       Company Store: Federal Supply Company
              (ca.1945-1955), Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Somers No. 4 Mine (ca.1900-1955), on the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad, 1 mile northeast of Belle Vernon, Pricedale, Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1900-1945), Pittsburgh Coal Company, Pittsburgh, PA
                                       Company Store: Federal Supply Company
              (ca.1945-1955), Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company, Pittsburgh, PA

DESCRIPTION:
Located on the outskirts of Belle Vernon, Fayette Co., PA, the town of Pricedale, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania is composed of the former company store and approximately fifty houses along three parallel streets.  The town was bisected by the construction of U.S. Interstate 70 and several houses were removed.

After the original coal company store burned, a second company store store was constructed in ca.1927.  Tafco Cabinet Manufacturing Company utilized this building ca.1994, for its cabinet making operation.  The coal company store is a one-story building with a full basement and measures 94 feet x 58 feet.  It contains clapboard siding, a gable roof, a stepped gable on its main facade and a brick chimney.  The building rests on a rubble stone foundation.  Its storefront has been completely remodeled and covered with plywood and a small brick addition has been constructed along the west facade.

The coal company built dwellings include single-family houses and double-family houses.  The double houses are two-stroy wood-frame buildings with gable roofs.  The single-family houses include one-story and two-story buildings with the entrances at the gable ends.

The site of the Somers No. 4 Mine is located along Speers Run, south of Pricedale, near the former Rostraver Township High School building in Pricedale (ca.1936 to ca.1967).  After 1967 the schools were merged into Belle Vernon Area School District. Only one building, a repair shop, survives from the mining operation ca.1994.  The repair shop is a one-story common-bond red-brick building with a full basement.  It measures 62 feet x 34 feet and contains a gable roof covered with sheet metal, a brick chimney, and rests on a reinforced concrete foundation.  Its interior has been completely gutted and the building is in poor condition.  Remnants of the tipple include the piers and concrete substructure.

Just north of Pricedale, also along Speers Run, is the site of the Somers No. 2 Mine.  Most of the former mine site has been reclaimed.

HISTORY:
As early as 1894, the J. H. Somers Fuel Company was operating a mine along the Monongahela River at Pricedale, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland Co., PA, east of Belle Vernon.  The Somers property was acquired in ca.1900 by the recently formed Pittsburg Coal Company. he drift entry Somers Mine was situated along the 78 inch thick Pittsburg Coal Seam.  by ca.1910 the Pittsburg Coal Company operated two mines near Pricedale, Somers No. 2 Mine and Somers No. 4 Mine.  The mines operated on a non-union basis, these two two mines were the largest of the Pittsburg Coal Company's mines in the early 1910's.

In ca.1910 the two mines employed 835 men and boys and produced about 718,000 tons of coal.  By ca.1914 the company was using four electric locomotives and eleven electric cutting machines in the Somers Mines.

In ca.1916 the Pittsburg Coal Company chose to experiment in mechanical loading at the Somers No. 2 Mine.  The loading machine chosen was a Jeffrey Entry-driver, produced by the Jeffrey Manufacturing Company.  Jeffrey sent one of its representatives Joseph Joy to Pricedale to oversee this experimental operation.  Joy had refined the design of the Jeffrey Loader and after its success at the Somers No. 2 Mine, he approached Pittsburg Coal Company officials with a model of his machine.

In ca.1920 Somers No. 2 Mine produced 125,070 tons of coal, the mine employed 159 miners, and worked 242 days, the miners used 14,000 pounds of black powder and 1,250 pounds of permissible explosives.

Somers No. 4 Mine produced 212,173 tons of coal in ca.1920, with 191 employees, the mine worked 250 days, the miners used 10,000 pounds of black powder and 16,500 pounds of permissible explosives.

The Joy Loading Machine was first tried in Somers No. 2 Mine.  Joe Joy was not easily dissuaded. He took his invention to senior officer, John A. Donaldson, at the Pittsburgh Coal Co. He demonstrated his model on Donaldson's desk using dry dog food as the loaded material to be conveyed. Donaldson was so impressed that he requested Jeffery to manufacture this machine. The first gathering arm loader was shipped to Pittsburgh Coal Company's Sommer No. 2 Mine on September 27, 1916. Joe Joy applied for a patent for this gathering arm loader, and continued to work on its testing and development underground. He was awarded a patent, in his name, for the machine in ca.1919.

"Coal Miners Memorial, Somers No. 2, No. 3 & No. 4 Mines,
Pricedale, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"

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