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HUMPHREYS, PA

Humphreys mine and associated coke ovens and patch town, in Unity Twp. of Westmoreland County, was opened in the late 1800s by the Bessemer Coke Co. of Pittsburgh. Later operators were Hecla Coal and Coke Co., and Humphreys Coal and Coke Co. As late as 1956 Humphreys-Connellsville Coke Co. was reporting 145 machine-drawn coke ovens still in use at Humphreys. Although the Humphreys No. 1 and No. 2 coal mines were depleted by then, closing in 1946, so they must have been coking coal from other mines. At first there were only beehive coke ovens at Humphreys, but later Bessemer Coke added rectangular ovens, similar to the rectangular ovens that they installed at Griffin in Fayette County. This was one of the coal and coke operations in the Connellsville Field that was never purchased by H.C. Frick Coke.


1957 image by John Enman, courtesy Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Eberly campus

The Humphreys coke works sits abandoned at the end of its useful life.


March 2020 image by author

This concrete wall is left over from a water reservoir that was used to quench the hot coke. There may be other remains from the coal and coke complex, but they are on private property, and I didn't feel comfortable trespassing.


March 2020 image by author

These patch town houses are still inhabited.


March 2020 image by author

The coal company housing at Humprheys has been greatly altered from its original appearance, such as the bay window addition on the right.


March 2020 image by author

There are also these smaller company houses similar to what you would see at a coal company town in West Virginia or Kentucky.


Circa 2005 image courtesy of Randy Biller


Sources:

John Enman papers, 1876-2013, Coal and Coke Heritage Center at Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus

Edited by Raymond A. Washlaski, Virtual Museum of Coal Mining in Western Pennsylvania.

Fitzsimons, Gray, editor. Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania - An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. National Park Service, 1994.

DeCarlo, Joseph A, and Emma E Ryan. Beehive Coke Plants in the United States That Reported to the Bureau of Mines in 1956.



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