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RICHEVILLE, PA & DAISYTOWN, PA

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The Richeyville patch, as well as nearby Daisytown, housed the workers of Vesta Coal Company's Vesta No. 4 mine, once the largest bituminous coal mine in the world. Vesta Coal Co. was J&L Steel's coal mining arm. The town was built in 1918 and named for George Richey, on whose farm the coal town was built. In The mine closed in 1957, the company store in 1959. Vesta No. 4 was reopened on a scaled-down basis in the 1960s and closed for good around 1980.

Daisytown is even older than Richeyville, being built in 1905. The coal mine was instantly a giant operation, employing more than 1,000 men mining 1,500,000 tons of coal in 1905. Vesta Coal Co. allowed Daisytown residents to raise cows on the pasture that they maintained for their mining horses/mules. Of course, they also kept chickens, pigs, and gardens, too. Like the other Pennsylvania coal mining towns, Daisytown attracted many immigrants, inclusing Magyars from Hungary, Italians, and Finns. In 1910 Vesta Coal built houses for managers at a nearby area named Smallwood.

Vesta Coal Co. started mining in this part of Washington County, Pa. around 1892. The area became a virtual fiefdom of J&L Steel with Vesta mines No. 1 through 7 stretching from around Allenport up the river to West Brownsville, and eventually some of the mines worked together.

John writes, "About Vesta 4 in Richeyville being the largest mine in the world: It was actually the combination of Vesta 5 and Vesta 4 that was the largest mine in the world. The company broke a wall (or many walls) to join the two. The Vesta 5 Mine was so large that it had ventilator shafts in Beallsville, Pa. (a few miles west of Richeyville) and near Marianna. There were large fans at these shafts, housed in sheds that were the shape of an old-time oil derrick. The fans were antiquated and unreliable. When it rained, they shut down. The company frequently would have to send an employee out to watch the fans and restart them manually if they konked out. My dad often got pulled from his machine shop work and drove out to one of the fans to sit for 8 to 10 hours."


Vesta 4 Mine Rescue Team. (Image source forgotten)


Two story, single family company houses at Richeyville. (Jul. 2002 image by author)


These old buildings at Richeyville were part of the Vesta No. 4 mine complex. The shaft hole is still there, too. (Jul. 2002 image by author)


Abandoned multi-family housing at Daisytown, another patch to house workers of the huge Vesta No. 4 mine. (Jun. 2003 image by author)


These one-story two-family company-built houses are unique to Vesta Coal Company's Daisytown patch. (Jun. 2003 image by author)


Remains of a fan house for the Vesta No. 4 Mine as it looked in March 2006. The man in the picture is standing on the bearing support for one of the squirrel cage fans. (2007 image courtesy of Pete and Mike)


The power house at the fan complex (2007 image courtesy of Pete and Mike)


Remnant of a slope portal for the Vesta No. 4 mine. Pete writes, "This was probably shut down when the miners began using Richeyville as their entry." (2007 image courtesy of Pete and Mike)


This portal at Daisytown was once a venilating fan portal. Obviously the fan itself is gone. (Nov. 2017 image by Ron Franko)


Looking inside the Daisytown fan portal. (Nov. 2017 image by Ron Franko)


Vesta Coal Co. also built a small patch town and mine complex at Smallwood that was part of the sprawling Vesta No. 4 mine. This portal is still in existence there. (Nov. 2017 image by Ron Franko)


Engraving in the keystone above the Smallwood portal reads, "Vesta No. 4 1902." (Nov. 2017 image by Ron Franko)


Looking inside the Smallwood portal reveals the mine trackwork still intact. (Nov. 2017 image by Ron Franko)


From a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article dated Mar. 10, 1957:

Ghost Town Role Spurned by Richeyville - Vesta No. 4 Shuts $200,000 Payroll

Shade trees, lawns and dressed-up houses give Richeyville hope to survive mine closing

There will be no jokes in Richeyville on April 1. That's the day Vesta 4 - the big "picture card" mine, around which the town was built - shuts down. With it goes a $200,000 weekly payroll that fed residents of this community across the Mon River from Brownsville for more than a quarter century. The 900 people are digging in for their greatest battle - that of survival. They are grimly determined not to become a "ghost town," a fate suffered by other towns in the worked-out bituminous coal belt that slices through Washington, Fayette and Westmoreland Counties. Richeyville has one thing going for it that many of the others didn't. It has a scrubbed, well-kept look of modernized houses with shade trees, lawns, and fenced gardens.

When Vesta 4 closes many Richeyville residents will be out of jobs. A few are old enough to qualify for the United Mine Workers' union pension of $100 a month which begins at age 60. Many of the displaced workers hope to find jobs within commuting distance so that they can continue to live there. The central location of this Washington County community, near Beallsville, makes their chances reasonably good ... A 25-acre site, near California, has been donated by Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. to the Development Council, along with $12,500 to promote new industries. This gesture of goodwill by J & L is aimed at easing the shock of closing the worked-out Vesta 4 mine. Once the symbol of the world's largest bituminous coal mine, it appeared on picture post cards that were sold throughout the nation and brought Richeyville publicity by the ton.


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