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Ellsworth and Cokeburg

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James William Ellsworth, a shipping entrepreneur from Hudson, Ohio, bought 16,000 acres of coal land in southeast Washington County in 1898, and studied the organization of mining towns in Wales. Ellsworth built his model mining community of locally fired red brick, rather than the more commonly used wood. The town's highlight is the administration building, distinguished by its three stories, cupola, and bridged chimneys. Ellsworth spent approximately $100 million to open four mines, two at Ellsworth and two at Cokeburg three miles to the southwest. He provided rail service from the city of Monongahela along Pigeon Creek. During his ownership, 1.5 million tons of coal were mined at the two sites. Miners were assigned to small, three-bay, one-and-one-half-story brick houses. Despite the amenities Ellsworth offered his miners, they went on strike in 1905. In disgust, he sold his Washington County holdings to the Lackawanna Steel Corporation, and offered funding to his hometown of Hudson to create a model community. Nevertheless, the four mines continued operation until 1982. The 238-acre Cokeburg coal patch consists of four-bay, frame duplex houses rhythmically marching up and down sloping hills. Today, their location close to Bentleyville on PA 917 has allowed them to survive, even without the mining operations. An excellent view of Cokeburg may be seen from TWP 441 north of Scenery Hill.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.

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