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Coal Miners Memorial Waverly Mines & Coke Works, Smithton, South Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA

Coal Mines of Westmoreland Co., PA Main INDEX
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Waverly Mines &
Coke Works,
(Smithton No. 1 Mine & Coke Works),
(Smithton No. 2 Mine),

South Huntingdon Township,
Westmoreland County,

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams at the Waverly Mines, Smithton, South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

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

Updated June 7, 2010

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Waverly Mine & Coke Works  (ca.1875- ? ),
Located at Smith's Mills Station, on the Pittsburg & Connellsville Railroad (later Baltimore & Ohio Railroad), below Lee's Mills, Smith's Mills, South Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[Waverly Coke Works contained 20 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1875.]
Owners: (ca.1875-  ?  ), Waverly Coal Company, West Newton, PA

Waverly Mines & Coke Works
(Smithton No. 1 Mine)
(Smithton No. 2 Mine)
Located on the Pittsburg & Connellsville Railroad (later the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad), at Stanko Road, Smithton, South Huntingdon Twp., Westmoreland Co., PA
[The renamed Smithton No. 1 Mine and Smithton No. 2 Mine, name was changed ca.1890]
[Waverly Coke Works contained 62 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1901.]
[The Waverly Mine are noted on the ca.1954 Smithton Quad topo map.]
Owners: (ca.1880-1886) B. F. Rafferty & Company, Smithton, PA
             (ca.1886-1890) Waverly Coal & Coke Company
             (ca.1890-1930's) Pittsburgh Coal Company, Pittsburgh , PA
                                       Company Store: Federal Supply Company

A portion of the USGS Connellsville, PA 15min quad map ca.1902.  The Waverly Mine & Coke Works are noted in Smithton, South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland Co., PA

The coal company built houses at Smithton, South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania, are grouped in one row of ten double-family houses, located north of the town, on a terrace above the Youghiogheny River.  The houses are of frame construction, doubles, with gable roofs, two central brick chimneys, concrete block foundations, and six-over-six-light double-hung windows.  Modifications include the application of new siding materials over the original frame, enclosed porches, room additions, and altered fenestration.

There were two coke works located at Smithton, PA.  The remnants of the Waverly Mine & Coke Works is on located on the edge of town, on the north side of PA Route 981, near its intersection with Dutch Hollow Road.  This was the original Waverly Mine & Coke Works which contained over 100 bee-hive coke ovens in the early 1900's.  In ca.1994 only four brick bee-hive coke ovens in greatly deteriorated condition remained.  A large boney dump (slate dump) extends along the hillside north of the coke ovens.  This boney dump is near the site of the Waverly Mine (original called Smithton No. 1 Mine), which was later operated by the J. L. Sager Coal Company.

The second coke works at Smithton stands on the east side of PA SR 3029 (Jacobs Creek Road), approximately one-quarter mile south of Smithton.  This was last operated by L. W. Overly in the 1950's and consists of a battery of bee-hive bank coke ovens along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks.  There as approximately 100 coke ovens standing ca.1994, some of which are in fair condition.  Many, however, are greatly deteriorated.  This coke oven battery is constructed with rubble stone retaining walls with some concrete patching.  The fronts of the ovens are of brick and stone construction.  Present as archaeological remains on the hillside above the coke ovens are concrete foundations that were part of the L. W. Overly Mine.  

Smithton, PA ca.1887, the Waverly Mine & Coke Works are shown in the center of the photo.  A bank of bee-hive coke ovens are to the left, with the machine shop to the right.  At least six double-family miners houses are located along the railroad tracks leading to the Waverly Mine.  The Waverly Mine Tipple was located to the left of the coke ovens.

The Waverly Mine tipple of the Pittsburgh Coal Company.  The power house is to the left of the tipple.  The large bins to the right of the tipple were for the coal for the coke ovens, the coke oven larry on the raised track was loaded with coal from these bins and then the larry charged the coke ovens.

In ca.1873, The Waverly Coal Company, a concern controlled by the Mellons and Coreys of Pittsburgh, began mining operations in this beautiful spot near Smith's Mill, in South Huntiingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. They sank a shaft and built a tipple and 10 coke ovens within a few hundred feet below a newly built Universalist church. The congregation of the church sought an injunction against the company but accomplished nothing. In 1880 more ovens were built, even nearer the church than the first ones. In a short time the picturesque beauty of the place was destroyed. Waverly Works was abandoned November 9, 1923. Where once had been beauty, there remained desolation. The Universalist group had long since given up their unequal controversy with the coal barons, and in 1887 had erected another church in the town. The coal company had purchased the original church building and had used it for a stable for the horses and mules that worked in the mines. By the 1950's, the coke ovens were crumbling into oblivion. Nature was rapidly reclaiming her own as locust trees, sycamores, and elms, already grown quite tall, have begun to obliterate at least the worst of the scars. The church, now a garage and filling station, is still most commonly called the Mule Stable.

As early as ca.1882 there were two mines operating at Smithton near the Pittsburg & Connellsville Railroad (later the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad).  B. F. Rafferty & Company operated these mines as well as the Youghiogheny Slope Mine at West Newton, PA and the Armstrong Mine at Youghiogheny, PA.  In ca.1883 this company employed 280 men and boys at its Smithton Mines.  Robert L. Henderson served as superintendent of the company's mines and Charles Armstrong, Jr. served as mine superintendent of the Smithton Mines.  The Smithton operation included two drift mines, both of which were served by a single coal loading tipple on the railroad.  Coal from the Smithton No. 2 Mine was hauled by mule to the pit mouth of Smithton No. 1 Mine, where a tail rope system, powered by a stationary steam engine, brought the mine wagons to the tipple.  The coal loading tipple was served by a short spur line to the Pittsburg & Connellsville Railroad (later the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad).

By ca.1886 the interests of the B. F. Rafferty & Company had been divided among the Shaner Gas Coal Company, led by former B. F. Rafferty Company superintendent Alexander Moreland, the Youghiogheny Slope Gas Coal Company, under the leadership of Robert Latimore, and the Waverly Coal & Coke Company.  This later concern, led by William McCune, acquired the two Smithton Mines and properties and constructed 117 bee-hive coke  ovens near the Smithton No. 1 Mine.  By ca.1890 William McCune was superintendent of both the Smithton Mines and the Eureka Coal Company's Eureka Mine, south of Smithton, at Eureka, PA.  This Eureka operation was run by Stoner & Company in ca.1890.  The two Smithton Mines produced over 92,000 tons of coal in ca.1890 and the Smithton Coke Works produced over 27,000 tons of coke.  These operation employed 198 men and boys.

In ca.1890, soon after the formation of the Pittsburg Coal Company, the Smithton Mines were acquired by this new giant coal operator and renamed the Waverly Mines.  By ca.1910 the Waverly Mines produced 218,000 tons of coal.  The Waverly Coke Works, containing just sixty-one coke ovens, produced less than 3,000 tons of coke.  Most of the coal was shipped to market.

From the Reports of the Inspectors of Mines - for 1889.
Penn Gas Coke Company
Smithton Nos. 1 and 2 Mines.
Smithton No. 1 Mine - has been kept in a reasonably fair condition, with an average of 13,283 cubic feet of air in circulation per minute. The drainage is good. The rope haulage has been extended into the mine 4,200 feet.
Smithton No. 2 Mine - Is in fair condition. A the time of my last visit I measured 11,195 cubic feet per minute going out at the furnace. Drainage good. Mining boss, George Moore; asistant Mining Boss Thomas Parkins.

Though little coke was produced at the Waverly Coke Works, it and the Euclid Coke Works, located down the Youghiogheny from Smithton, were the only Pittsburg Coal Company properties to have coke ovens.

From the Mine Inspectors Report of the Eleventh Bituminous District, Pennsylvania for 1905.
Conditions of Mines and Improvements. Mines located on and near the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Waverly - The ventilation has been improved by the erection of thirty-one masonry stoppings between the inlet and outlet currents. Drainage satisfactory.

In ca.1910 the two Waverly Mines employed 344 men and boys in their operation.  Samuel McKay of Smithton served as Superintendent at the Waverly Mines.

Improvements made to the Waverly Mine in ca.1914, were: Built 17 stoppings and 3 overcasts of brick.  Extended motor road 1,500 feet.  Installed a motor hoist at bottom of the mine shaft to handle the  mine wagon empties.  Rebuilt the fan house, and erected 1,000 feet of fence around the miners' houses.  Built a sub-station of brick and installed therein all necessary equipment.

Pittsburg Coal Company operated the Waverly Mines until ca.1923.  That year 203 employees produced over 148,000 tons of coal.  The Waverly Coke Works had been abandoned several years earlier.  By ca.1924, Pittsburg Coal Company abandoned its operations at the Waverly Mines at Smithton and by the early 1930's the company had shed its Waverly properties.

The Federal Supply Company Store No. 26, of the Pittsburgh Coal Company, located next to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station at Smithton.  The Company store supplied the miners of the Waverly Mines and also served the town of Smithton.

Despite the withdrawal of the Pittsburg Coal Company from Smithton a number of smaller concerns continued to mine coal in the area.  These included Samuel Welsh's Rankin Mine, and the Wineland-Gilmore Coal & Coke Company mines and coke works.  This latter concern apparently built a battery of bee-hive coke ovens south of Smithton, along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.  By the late 1940's L. W. Overly, a coal operator from Mount Pleasant, PA, owned this coke works and two small mines in the vicinity of the coke works.  North of the L. W. Overly property, the Wineland Mine was operated by G. O. Stahl.  The former Pittsburg Coal Company property near Waverly No. 1 Mine was owned by the J. L. Sager Coal Company.  L. W. Overly operated the Coke Works until the mid 1950's. Most of the mining activity at Smithton ceased about this time.

(History and description of the Waverly Mines & Coke Works, with additional data and pictures adapted from "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.)

Troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police at Smithton.  Probably called there to control the coal miners during a strike.  The governor could call out the State Police when trouble occurred around the coal mines, which was done many a times, to help the Coal & Iron Police of the Coal Companies.

"Coal Miners Memorial, Waverly Mines & Coke Works,
Smithton, South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania"
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