Coke & Coke Ovens

The invention of the beehive oven was a major advance in the production of coke. Beehive ovens were large masonry domes and named according to their shape. Constructed in long rows for ease of loading and unloading, workers would bring the coal from the nearby mines, dump the coal in the opening in the top, ignite the coal and seal the ovens to let the coal smolder.

Pittsburgh, Allegheny & Birmingham / drawn from nature, lithographed & published by Otto Krebs, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Pittsburgh Coal Seam

Named by H.D. Rodgers of the First Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, the first reference to the Pittsburgh coal bed was on a 1761 map. In the mid 1700s at Fort Pitt, coal was being mined on Coal Hill, or as it is known now, Mount Washington. The coal was extracted from drift mines in an outcrop about 200 feet above the Monongahela River.

Crucible Mine

Crucible Mine

In 1911, the Crucible Coal Company began to develop Greene County’s second largest mine. Located along the Monongahela River, less than two miles south of Rices Landing, the high quality coal from the Pittsburgh seam was to be shipped to Midland to be converted to coke for the company’s new steel mill.

Dilworth Coal Company - Brice Rush Collection

Dilworth Mine

“Commercial” coal mining in Greene County began in 1902 when the Dilworth Coal Company produced 36,400 tons of Pittsburgh coal from its mine at Rices Landing on the Monongahela River. This appears to be the first mine in Greene County that was supervised and regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Mines.