Saturday, January 15, 2011

Abandoned Teresa Mine and Coke Works. Mount Sterling, Masontown, PA. Coke Ovens

Today, Danielle and I headed over across the Mon river to Fayette county, PA to look at the old abandoned Teresa mine and coke works.  Christmas eve day,  Klondike Bowling Lanes in Masontown, PA burned down and traffic was diverted along the river heading south along Madison Ave, crossing the tracks onto Sterling Road.  To my left in the barren month of December I saw the ovens lined up.

As always,  click on the pictures to enlarge.

View Larger Map

One the above interactive map, directly below the label of Mt. Sterling Rd, you will see a rectangular clearing which is the oven/mine site.  The old mining buildings, save one partial brick wall pictured later, have all been razed.  If one were driving through here in the summer, one might entirely miss the ovens all together as they are quite grown over and only a few ramshackle houses remain along the river (they looked like they once might have been the bosses housing as they were quite large compared to normal patch housing).

As I researched these ovens, I noticed there really isn't a great deal of information out there concerning these ovens/mines.  The following is the best I could do care of this nice site, PA, The Old Miner.

 Teresa Mine & Coke Works (ca.1905-  ?  ), located on the Monongahela River, near Masontown, Fayette Co., PA 
[Teresa Coke Works contained 50 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1905.]
[Teresa Coke Works contained 150 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1906.] 
[Teresa Coke Works contained 220 bee-hive coke ovens ca.1912.]
Owners: (ca.1905-  ?  ), Sunshine Coal & Coke Company, Masontown, PA
              (ca.1906-  ?  ), Sunshine Coal & Coke Company, Masontown, PA

So we gathered these oven had been shut down at least since the 1920's.  Any other information is welcome, and enjoy the pictures.  Danielle will be adding her higher quality shots soon, so come back and visit.

A reader of our blog, Mike Stilwell contacted us and gave his view of the ovens.  There is not too much
information about the Teresa mine anywhere I can find, and Mike is the second person to suggest this is / was the old Mount Sterling mine and coke ovens.   These types of industries changed hands frequently through time, so this might be the case here.  Makes sense, as the road running between the ovens and the river, through the handful of patch houses is named Mt. Sterling Road.  Also, Mike was good enough to send the following pictures, in one, the Sterling Plant is listed and the crew is titled "Coke Oven crew at Mt. Sterling" on the second.

Mt. Sterling Plant

Date on the picture reads 1998.  Not too much has changed from our pictures shot in 2011.

Chip has a cool blog entry w/ a video of the Poland Mine PA coke ovens HERE.


  1. I thought that these ovens were The Mount Sterling Mine and Coke Works, owned by Consolidated Connellsville Coke Co., with offices in Uniontown, PA. I wonder if earlier (or later), they were known as the Teresa Mine and Coke Works. As you leave Masontown from Rte. 21 on Madison Ave., and dogleg across the train traintracks, you enter the mostly abandoned patch town of Mt. Sterling. Thanks for the great pictures; my grandfather and uncles worked at those ovens in 1916. I have a few pictures of those ovens (as well as other ovens in the area), but since I live in Baltimore, I have not been able to be there in the great photo conditions that you have posted. Thanks a lot, Mike Stilwell (

  2. Thanks Mike,
    From all the information I could find, the only thing that really stood out was the Teresa coke oven name. But, you are correct, that small little patch town is still there in bad repair. I lot of those mines changed names as you know throughout the years, so they both might be correct. I'd be interested in seeing the pictures you have if they are in digital form. I will forward this to your e mail as well in case you'd like to send them. And conditions were right. Those things are practically invisible when all grown over in the summer.

    Thank you for looking and commenting.

  3. My Grandmother's cousin's family lived in Mt Sterling, probably early 1920's . The names were Mike & Elizabeth Toth and daughter, Katie.

  4. My son is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institute in Fayette,,I visited there a few weeks ago and found it very interesting being I come come from a coal town as well,(Coal dale,Pa,I never new thete was other Coal towns,,, I really would like to see more pics and reaf more info,, Thank you

  5. My son is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institute in Fayette,,I visited there a few weeks ago and found it very interesting being I come come from a coal town as well,(Coal dale,Pa,I never new thete was other Coal towns,,, I really would like to see more pics and reaf more info,, Thank you

  6. I played I the Mt Sterling coke oven's in the 1930.

    Old abandoned coke ovens
    insert picture # 03
    Fit to page

    Men would hop a coal or freight train and go around the country looking for work and they often lived in the old abandoned coke ovens around the coal mines and were called Hobo’s (homeless and usually penniless) After supper (dinner) the mothers would make up a lunch basket and the kids would take them to the men staying in the old coke ovens, we were told! never go in the coke oven with them! The men would stop by the homes and offer to cut wood or the grass and do odd jobs in return for food or clothing, one of the peddlers sharpened seizers and kitchen knives, another was a cobbler (a shoe repairman) I would watch him remove the old sole and heals from the shoes, he would then cut out a new sole from a large sheet of leather and a new heal from a thick sheet of rubber and nailed them to the shoe using a shoe anvil.

  7. My days of YORE!

    In 1936, our family moved to Mt Sterling, Fayette County Pennsylvania, an abandon coal and coke mining patch town located along the Monongahela River near Masontown Pa; where I grew up.
    A section of the coal mine ran under the Monongahela river and the water from the river started seeping into the mine the mine water pumps could not remove the water fast enough and as a result the mine was finally closed. After the mine closed the open mine shaft and the tipple where the coal was brought up from the mine, the coke ovens and all the machinery were still in place. There was nothing left in the coal mining patch town except a small grocery store and the school house, the large Company store had closed.

  8. E-mail address.

  9. The Mt Sterling Mine ( Teresa coal and coke Co had a SLOPE open shaft and 50 coke ovens.
    Consolidated Connellsville Coke Co bought it and built a tipple with a deep shaft and built over 300 coke ovens. This all took place around the late 1800's / early 1900's.

    I lived in Mt Sterling in the 1930's/1940's


  10. I went to school in Mt Sterling. (1930's )
    I am trying to find a PICTURE of the school house.

  11. My mom grew up in Mount Sterling; she graduated from German Township High School. Does anyone still live there? I still have lots of family in Greene, Fayette, and Westmoreland Counties.

  12. What was your Mother's name ? What years did she live in Mt Sterling ?


  13. R. Watson, Thank you for your posts. I have an obituary in Uniontown, PA that says death was at "Sunshine works". Searching newspapers I found two other instances that used the phrase: 1. Sunshine works along the Monongahela river. 2. Sunshine works, near Masontown. Burial was at the Fayette County Home in Uniontown, which I find is had a cemetery for the poor. I have sent you an email to, to see if you could help me with a few questions.