Sunday, October 11, 2009
Poland Mines..my kind of Patch!
If you were brought up in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virgina or any other coal producing area..you've seen a patch.These were the housing built but the various coal companies for their employees.Usually,there was a Bosses Row,larger,sometimes double houses where the mine bosses lived.These rows were commonly a street above or below the main patch.
The rest of the patch homes were usually all alike in tight rows.Also common to the patch was the company store and at least one church or all purpose hall.Mather,Crucible,Nemacolin,Bobtown,Braden,Burson and Poland Mines are all patches in Greene County.I've lived in Poland for 12 years and my in-laws have been here all their lives.
Chances are your grandma, grandpa,aunt,uncle,dad or mom lived in a patch at one point.Most of the patches remain long after the mines were gone.Some of the housing plans were improved on as newer generations came and went...some not so much.People would buy the houses cheap and rent them,therefore a lot of folks came and went.This caused the little towns to become run down,losing much of the original homes and layout.Mobile homes were a popular replacement for the patch homes,because they fit well into the small footprint of the tight knit plan.Due to this,there is sometimes a a negative stigma associated with the patch.
I,however think these areas are a cool leftover from a time long gone.I laugh sometimes when I see million dollar housing plans going up in in the "ritzy" areas around Pittsburgh and Morgantown.I say..."Hell,that ain't nuthin' but a high priced patch!"
The photo here is the last original patch house in Poland Mines.10' on either side was the property line and they all had an outhouse.I believe they were all the same color,but not sure.Every time one of these lots goes up for sale or taxes,my father in law grabs them up.He has torn down more of these houses then he cares to remember,with two more slated for his dozer this winter.