Image courtesy of Ken C.

1950 picture taken at Valley Camp No. 5 mine. The mine worker shown is pulling a "trip" of loaded coal cars with the mine locomotive.

Image courtesy of Ken C.

Another vintage shot of the No. 5 mine of Valley Camp Coal Co. I'm not exactly sure where this mine was, but it was probably near New Kensington.

Image courtesy of Ken C.

A picture taken over 50 years ago of a portal into the Freeport seam at the Kutsch mine near Tarentum.

Google Street View image

Coal company housing at Cadogan, PA, a patch town right on the bank of the Allegheny River in Armstrong County. The Allegheny River Mining Company ran this coal mining operation.

Image courtesy of westdeertownship.com

Vintage picture of the Ford Collieries Company's Francis Mine, also known as Curtisville No. 2 coal mine, at Curtisville, PA. (Curtisville No. 1 was the Benjamin Mine, and Curtisville No. 3 was at Bairdford.)

Google Street View image

This was the superintendent's house at Curtisville No. 2.

Google Street View image

Curtisville No. 3 coal mine was at Bairdford. This part of the Bairdford coal patch town was where the Russian coal miners lived.

Image courtesy of Trip Advisor

Near Tarentum, PA a Freeport Coalfield mine has been preserved as a tourist attraction. It's called the Tour-Ed Mine, and it has been open for public tours since 1970. However, it was originally the Avenue No. 2 Mine of the Allegheny Coal & Coke Company. (That company also operated an Avenue No. 1 Mine in nearby Brackenridge.)

Image courtesy of patonlinenewtime.blogspot.com

Polish club in the "patch town" of Harwick, PA. You know the story - Polish, Slovak, Italian immigrants came to Pennsylvania to mine coal, blah, blah, blah. The Harwick mine was opened in the first decade of the 20th Century by the Allegheny Coal Company, and was closed in 1970 by its final owner, Duquesne Light. An explosion in the mine in January 1904 killed 179 miners. After inspecting the disaster site a state mine inspector wrote, "I had not thought it possible that a catastrophe so awful in proportions could occur in a mine like the Harwick, which was new and reported to be relatively safe. The explosion was of a terrific force, the tipple, built of iron, was wrecked, and a mule was blown out and over the tipple from the bottom of the shaft."

2017 image by author

Old wooden coal tipple near New Kensington.

2002 image by Ray Washlaski

Coal company patch houses at Kinlock, Pa. Valley Camp Coal Co. closed the Kinlock mines in 1935.

2010 image by Ray Washlaski

This structure was once the coal miner's pay station at Kinlock.

A 1920 article in The Coal Industry described Kinlock as "a plant which is built entirely of steel and concrete and located on the Allegheny Valley division of the Pennsylvania railroad, that has been designed to remove coal at a depth of 148 feet from the surface, the slope type of opening being used. The seam of coal that is mined is made up of the upper and lower Freeport veins, and is about 7 feet thick, the two veins being separated by a layer of bone which is removed by hand picking both in the mine at at the picking tables ... The Valley Camp Coal Company has built a town of attractive appearance for the benefit of the miners and their families. The houses are all of the double-frame type and are rented to the men at very reasonable prices. They are all supplied with running water from a spring and every precaution is taken to conserve the health of the community. The town is located within 400 yards of the township school where the children receive competent instruction. This school has been equipped with a large playground and the necessary equipment at the expense of the company. The mine has one of the best baseball teams in the valley, and a playground and picnic grove is located in a pretty valley at the rear of the company store."

Wildwood preparation plant of the Butler Consolidated Coal Company. To this day there are a few shop buildings from this colliery still in existence off of Wildwood Road in Hampton Township. (Circa 1930 Keystone Coal Catalog image)

Bing Maps image

It's fun to get out and explore the Pennsylvania countryside looking for coal mining history. But this picture shows the darker side of the coal heritage landscape: Pine Run puking orange acid mine drainage into the Kiskiminetas River. The grey area up above the river was the former site of Pine Run Coal & Coke Company's coal mine. Between the mine site and the river is the former Conemaugh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, now Norfolk-Southern.