May 2003 image by author

This portion of the coal preparation plant from the Acme No. 2 coal and coke operation could be seen from I-70. However, nothing remains from Acme No. 1 Mine. E.M. Rossing Engineering built the Acme No. 2 coal mine for Pittsburgh-Westmoreland Coal Company in 1909. They also constructed 300 rectangular coke ovens. Acme No. 1 was constructed before this by another coal company (Dunkirk Gas Coal Company).

May 2003 image by author

These coal company houses from the Acme Mine still exist in Bentleyville. They were located at the end of the coke ovens, so the inhabitants of these homes must have gotten used to a smokey existence.

May 2003 image by author

Another view of the Acme Mine coal patch houses. The Acme mines closed down between 1928 and 1930. At the time of their closing they were owned by Bethlehem Mines Corporation, the coal mining arm of Bethlehem Steel.

Image courtesy of HistoricBentleyville

Picture of the Acme coke ovens. They were of the rectangular style (also called Mitchell style) of coke ovens.

This is a cross-section of rectangular coke ovens from Coal Age, illustrating how the ovens used a leveler / pusher on one side of the oven to push the coke out of the other side of the oven onto a travelling conveyor. This conveyor would then discharge the coke into the waiting rail car. Then a charge of fresh coal would be inserted into the trunnel hole in the top of the oven, just like beehive ovens, and the coking process would begin again.

Other engineering drawing views of rectangular ovens.

Here is what a coke loader for Mitchell ovens looked like (loader shown is not at Acme ovens). The finished coke would be pushed out of the ovens (to the left) and move up the conveyor, where the coke would be discharged through the hopper (at top of conveyor) and into a waiting rail car for shipment. Note the operator's booth on the side of this loader.

Randy writes, "In 2007-08 we were excavating for the foundation of the Holiday Inn Express in Bentleyville when we hit bricks about 5 feet down. The excavator hammered thru them, they were 5 courses thick. We aren't sure what exactly it was, but surely part of the mine, as the picture you have of the prep plant was directly in line with this 'tunnel' for lack of a better term. It was an arched top, appeared to run under the truck stop, where the coke ovens were, and toward the prep building. It was partially flooded if I remember. As the hotel is built on top of it, when we were excavating, we filled it with grout/cement per the engineers' recommendation. My father was on that job, so I didn't see this first hand. That area is now developed, and most of it is sitting on slate material that was spread over the workings, apparently they just covered them up. Additionally, they are rebuilding the Bentleyville interchange beginning this spring, surely parts of the mine will be uncovered, as there are major route changes to the highway and local roads."

Circa 2007 image courtesy of Randy Metz, Sr.

I believe what the Metzs found was a portion of the rectangular coke ovens. Here one can see the sloped top of an oven.

Circa 2007 image courtesy of Randy Metz, Sr.

This is more like a cross section of a coke oven top.

Circa 2007 image courtesy of Randy Metz, Sr.

This appears to be the interface between the sloping top and side wall of a coke oven.