This wasn't the first captive coal mine of J&L (Jones and Laughlin) Steel - that was near Connellsville - but it was probably the first one in the Monongahela Valley. The steel company formed their Vesta Coal Co. subsidiary to mine a vast acreage of Pittsburgh seam coal reserves in southeastern Washington County, and this was Vesta's first mine. Eventully there were Vesta mines numbered all the way up to 7. Further up the river they also owned the Shannopin mine in Greene County. But this was the first Vesta Mine. They barged all of this coal down the Mon River to their coke ovens in the Hazlewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Mar. 2018 image by author

On the left is the building that was the Vesta 1 blacksmith shop. On the right is a really old house that is still in good condition. Whether or not it was ever owned by Vesta Coal Co. is unclear.

Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania image

This is a relly old photo, probably from the 1890s, of the Vesta No. 1 mine showing the tipple and adjacent village. Arrows point to the still existing features: the house, the blacksmith shop, and the mine shaft. I don't know if this little village sprung up beside the Vesta 1 mine or it was already there. It doesn't look like a typical coal patch town. Later an actual patch town was constructed in the farm fields seen above the mine in this photo.

Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania 1910 image

Eventually Vesta No. 1 did build this patch town on the hill above the mine. Across the river can be seen the Naomi tipple.

Mar. 2018 image by author

Closer view of the Vesta No. 1 blacksmith shop. The current owner of this building came over to see what I was doing. I ask for his permission to photography it and he cordially granted it to me.

Mar. 2018 image by author

Behind the blacksmith shop I was pleasantly surprised to find the Vesta No. 1 drift portal into the Pittsburgh seam.

Mar. 2018 image by author

The inscription above the mine portal reads, "The Vesta Coal Co., J.B. Laughlin Pres't, 1892." Kudos to the current property owner for preserving this.