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QUECREEK, PA

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A coal company town named Quecreek, PA. Quemahoning Creek Coal Company built Quecreek in 1913. There were three eras of coal mining at Quecreek. 1. From 1913 when the Que Creek No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 mines were producing. 2. From 1930 until 1964 the Saxman Coal and Coke Corporation operated the mines at Quecreek. The 1964 date was given to me by Ed Saxman, the son of the operator of the Saxman Mines, and he says the 1957 date often given for the Saxman mine's closing is incorrect. 3. The third and latest episode of coal mining at Quecreek was Black Wolf Coal Company's Quecreek Mine, which gained national attention when nine miners were trapped in it because of an inundation of water in July 2002. (Apr. 2009 image by author)


I was surprised to stumble on this site along Route 985, which I did not know was there. This is the Quecreek Mine rescue site preserved as a roadside historical monument. Pennsylvania State Route 985 is in the background. About the Quecreek Mine disaster Ed Saxman writes, "As you recall, the current Quecreek mine used an out-of-date map of the Saxman mine which didn't show all the workings. At the time, it was alleged by the press that the Saxman mine had falsified the maps. A month later, a map marked 'final' was found at the Windber Area Coal Museum, having been donated only months before then by the family of the mine inspector, Clyde Maize, who retired in 1970 and died in 1976. When the Quecreek map and Saxman maps were compared, the workings touched - exactly where the breach occured. (Apr. 2009 image by author)

Several years later, other copies of the maps were found in the possession of the owner of the coal being mined (as it was being mined under lease), Consol Energy, Inc. In 2002, Pennsylvania state officials also seemed to want to blame the Saxman mine for the incident. But the final report of the federal Mine Safety & Health Administration absolved the Saxman mine... (source). Well, thank goodness all survived - not just the nine men trapped for 76 hours, but also the other crew of nine that got out after wading through water-flooded passeges for four hours. Also, the global mine industry had a wake-up call about the dangers with old mines, and new map archive procedures and practices have been implemented all over, so some good came of the whole affair."


Detail of the rescue shaft and air hole at the Quecreek rescue site. There are actually two shaft holes, one out of view in this photo. The rescue cage itself, which was shipped to Pennsylvania from the MSHA Mine Acadamy near Beckley, WV, survives at the Quecreek Mine Rescue Site museum, which is located at the site of the rescue boreholes. It is a well-executed museum, which I have visited, and they do charge a modest admission fee to keep the place going.


Monument in front of the Sipesville Fire Hall for the 9 coal miners rescued from the flooded Quecreek mine. (Jan. 2003 image by author)


Looking out over the coal company patch town one can see the Quecreek coal mine in the background. In 2017 the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat newpaper featured an article titled and subtitled, "'Closer to exhaustion'" 15 years after dramatic rescue, Quecreek's coal reserves are running out." The article goes on to describe how the mine is now in retreat mining, also known as "pulling pillars." (Apr. 2018 image by author)


A street of coal company houses in Quecreek. (Apr. 2018 image by author)


I can't determine for what purpose this structure was constructed. (Apr. 2018 image by author)


Nor this one. (Apr. 2018 image by author)


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