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INDIANOLA, PENNSYLVANIA

Indianola built in 1916-1918 to house workers of the Indianola No. 1 Mine, a captive mine of Inland Steel of East Chicago, Indiana. Their coal mining arm at Indianola was named Inland Collieries Company. As you can see, this is really doesn't even look like a Western PA patch town. Rather this was one of the "model" coal towns that reflected an "enlightened" and "reformed" sense of industrial town design. As researcher/author Carmen DiCiccio wrote, "The homes featured electric lights, indoor bathrooms, and spacious backyards. The village houses, all with front porches, were constructed with their backs facing the roads around the cul-de-sacs. This was done to prevent coal miners, filthy after working in the mine, from entering and soiling the living rooms and furnishings. Instead miners entered their kitchens."


Here's a view of the newly-built company houses at Indianola. In 1921 Coal Age magazine wrote an article describing the elaborate drinking water and sanitary sewer system that Inland Collieries Co. installed at Indianola: "The water as taken from the well is sparkling, cool, and abundant ... The entire water system as built is complete in detail and represents the highest type of construction, embodying quantity, quality, and safety." This when most of the other coal mining towns in Appalachia had outhouses and water spigots located outside that served several homes. Of course the town being located only 12 miles from Pittsburgh probably helped. (Image courtesy of Karen Sue Haley)


Even the timbering in the Indianola coal mine was elaborate, as shown in this diagram from a 1921 issue of Coal Age. The magazine featured several articles praising the Indianola mining operations.


At the former Indianola tipple site Bayer has a large business campus. However, there are at least two of these fenced-off areas in the parking lots where the Indianola mine shafts were located. There may be other ruins of the colliery nearby, but the brush was too thick for me to penetrated. (2017 image by author)


The only structure remaining from the Indianola coal mine is this one, which was the company doctor's office and mine hospital. (2017 image by author)


Detail of the front door of the hospital. (2017 image by author)


Remaining coal company houses. (2017 image by author)


Another section of the Indianola patch. (2017 image by author)


A well-kept church in Indianola. (2017 image by author)


Inland Collieries Company baseball team. Apparently there was a Deer Creek Valley Baseball League. The teams were Ford Collieries Co. No. 1 & 2, Ford Collieries No. 3, Inland Collieries Co., & Republic Collieries Co.(Image from an Inland Steel safety bulletin dated June 1918)

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