The patch housing in Boswell, PA is brick because the town's founder, Thomas Boswell, didn't want his coal town to burn down. The mine there was opened around 1901 by the United Coal Co. of Pittsburg, and later by Davis Coal Co. The final name of the operator of Boswell was Merchant's Coal Company. The mine closed on March 29, 1939 and the tipple was dismantled in 1940. Another coal mine at Boswell was called Atlantic Coal Co. This mine was located along present day Route 601 across from Boswell Lumber. All of this information comes from the Boswell Historical Society. (Jul. 2002 image by author)

A few of the company houses are even made out of cut stone. There are also wood framed company houses in Boswell. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Three stone structures that remain from Boswell's coal mining days are, from left to right, the superintendent's house, the company store, and the former First National Bank of Boswell. I might add that most patch towns did not contain their own bank. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

A closer look at the Marchants Coal Company store. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Unlike other Pennsylvania patches, Boswell contains this small private sector commercial district, although it's not exactly booming anymore. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

An omnipresent feature of small towns in Western Pennsylvania is the fire department horn, used to summon volunteer fire fighters in times of need. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Saints Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Church and rectory date back to 1918. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

The former Saint Stanislaus Catholic School is another magnificent stone building in Boswell. A church named in honor of Staninslaus is ususally found where there was a group of Polish immigrants. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

This is the former Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church, now All Saints Catholic Church. As is evidenced by the cars parked around it, 10:00 mass is going on inside on this sunny April morning. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

This building was the power house for the Boswell mine, but is now being used by North Star Equipment. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

I ventured across Quemahoning Creek and stumbled into Orenda Park. This is a public park that is built around the ruins of the Boswell mine! It is a combination of recreation and preservation. Pictured here are foundations that probably one supported a conveyor or tram. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Walking trails wind between burned coal refuse in Orenda Park. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

A under-cutting machine is displayed in the park. There are also historical markers, some even with audio, to educate visitors about the mining history of Boswell. Overall, it is a well exectued and effective effort in historical preservation. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Former Boswell coal mines pump house on the banks of Quemahoning Creek. (Apr. 2009 image by author)


Summers, Patrica, editor. Somerset County, Pennsylvania; An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites. 1994.