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Commodore was one of several coal patch towns built by the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation (CBCC) to supply their holding company, the New York Central Railroad. At one time, Indiana County alone supplied three-fourths of the New York Central's coal needs. The coal-carrying rail line, the Cherry Tree and Dixonville Railroad, was established in 1904. Now abandoned, the line originally followed one side of the Two Lick Creek valley, and then with a horseshoe curve reached a higher point on the opposite side to avoid an abrupt grade. Laid out by the CBCC's engineer Paul Gill in 1919, the town was named for Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder and one of the principal stockholders in the parent company. At the Commodore mine's peak in 1922, it produced more than one thousand tons of coal a day, and continued operation until shortly after World War II. Today the mine is almost completely dismantled, with one much-altered repair shop remaining. However, dozens of the workers' houses still stand. This was considered a model community for the coal company, its fourth in Indiana County, after Rossiter (1900), Clymer (1905), and Barr Slope (1905). The two-story houses with either pyramidal or gable roofs were constructed of hollow pressed-clay tile block made in the company's brick plant. Each has indoor plumbing, and shed porches on the facade. The 1924 company store now serves as a community center, but the school has been demolished. The town remains active despite the mine's closing, since most residents own their own homes.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.

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