Sunday, February 27, 2011

A quick message to all our blog viewers.

.........Well, To South Western Pennsylvania at least.
  We here at the SWPA blog site have witnessed an incredible amount of traffic in the last few months and we are really excited about that.  We are rapidly approaching 10K hits in the last 3 months alone.   This excites us.  It is great for us to get out there and find and photograph history, and It's equally great you guys keep on visiting.
      What we find interesting is the amount of internet traffic, or hits, that comes from outside the US.  We see a fair share of views from Germany and Russia and other faraway lands every week and we are just curious.   If you are a visitor from outside the US, how did you find us?  We have made it so as you do not have to be a member of the blogger to comment, so please leave us your feedback.   Any ideas of a topic you'd like see covered?  Drop us a line as well!.

Once again, Thanks for looking and keep checking back!

Adventures in Ronco, Pa

Ronco Barge load out. Compare to the 1940's era photo below.
We headed back across the mighty Monongahela today in search of the Fayette side of the old Nemacolin Ferry (as seen in this photo from Mr.Snopik).  We stopped in Ronco and checked out what appears to have been a bardge loading facility from the old mine.1985 must have been a fun year in Ronco! According to the hash marks on this old pier, 31 kegs of beer bit the dust that summer!
We then headed down Ferry Road (duh!) looking for the ferry landing.After taking what ended up being the long way around, we found it near an old water treatment facility along the river. The remains of the concrete landing lined up with the road on the other side of the railroad tracks.  Tough to see if youre not looking for it, but its there.  In the photo of the Nemacolin ferry sent to us by


 Ogden, you can see both the water treatment plant and the barge load out area circa the 1940's

Ronco, as seen from the Nemacolin Ferry

The Ronco mine, from the ferry picture above

The old bridge pilings from the Monongahela Rail Road line that ran through are still intact. It appears to have tied into the new line which along the river.
On the hike out (the road was cabled to prevent railroad tie theft, we didnt steal any, so its cool...) we looked along the creek and saw what we thought were coke ovens.  After re-hiking back, we found...well, we aren't sure what it is.  Some sort of furnace or oven in amazing the middle of nowhere.  Any info on this wil be appreciated.  Theres not much info on Ronco on the net.

In this picture, the buildings in the background are the water treatment plant in Ronco, Pa.  The actual structures are gone now, but the "tanks" to the side of  the plant remain, as seen in the two videos below.

Part 1 of 2 below.....

And Part two.....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Set 4/4 from Patricia Ogden

This is the final set of pix from Patricia Ogden.Her vintage pictures and stories of Nemacolin,Pa have recieved a lot of positive feedback here on the blog! Due to a recent computer crash,I lost the emails,but had the pictures saved to an external drive (remember that,kids!)So Patricia,if youre reading this,please coment on the details of this last set.
As I type this,we have another day of exploring planned for tomorow,so stay tuned for fresh content.As always,please comment and send us your ideas/opinions!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pt.Marion ,Pa Railroad/Mine bridge

I've been admiring this bridge near our vets office for some time and decided to stop to grab a few quick pictures.The bridge is right beside route 166 near the bridge that crosses the Cheat River into Point Marion.Initially,I thought this was a railroad bridge,but upon closer inspection,it looks a bit small for that.It may have been used for mine cars but I'm not sure.I'm gonna ask Art,my Pt.marion expert if he knows.Meanwhile,enjoy the pics.Evan,Danielle and I are planning alot of cool expiditions soon,so stay tuned!As always,comment/email us if you have any more information on this or other posts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Classic Nemacolin,Pa from Patricia Ogden

Heres more classic shots from our friend Patricia Ogden.Patricia writes:
E-mail #3, town of Nemacolin photos. As previously, you have my permission to use the photos on your website Southwestern Pennsylvania Rural Exploration.

Patricia Ogden

-Pics of town and honor roll are postcards. There is no publishing company listed, nor any date.

-Town-the large white building in the center of the photo was the movie theater. The lower level contained a bowling alley, and also, I've heard, a pool hall. beyond the theater was the ball field. I think that the low row of white buildings at the edge of the ball field were the original stables for the horses used in the mine. Later on, these were used a garages for the residents of the town.
The company store, Nemacolin Supply can be seen slightly to the right of center, note the arched window on the second floor. Just to the right of the company store, the post office was located in the long white building.
The triangle behind the company store is the river, showing the ferry landing on the Ronco side.

-Honor roll is also a postcard. I remember the honor roll being located across the road from the company store, near the ball field.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nemacolin Ferry 1940s from Patricia Ogden

The second post of Nemacolin,Pa from Patricia Ogden.These shots focus on the Nemacolin Ferry on the Monongahela River.Whats great about this set is not only the ferry itself,but the shots of the operator and the operators shed.These give a more complete idea of how the cable ferries worked and the role they played in our areas everyday life.Very cool!

Patricia writes,

-A short distance beyond where the brick road ended, the dirt road led to the ferry landing at the river. The bread truck would have been waiting for the ferry. In the foreground of this photo can be seen the large timber that was used as the "stop" for the small utility train in the supply yard.

Chip, around the same location of the above snowy picture.

-The large undated photo of the operator's shed is probably the best of the lot. It seems to be earlier that 1940. Behind the shed can be seen the cables, probably for the ferry itself. The shed seems to be mounted on wheels, with a cable of it's own. Maybe to be raised according the the water level of the river? I don't know the purpose of the large building on the hill above the shed.

Vintage Nemacolin Mine,Nemacolin, PA. From Patricia Ogden.Part 1

Supply house then
Supply house now.
Like i said in Mr.Snopik's post..we love hearing from blog readers who have photos/stories and memories to share.Thats why we do this and its catching on!Former area resident Patricia Ogden sent me some amazing photos from Nemacolin in the 1940's.She not only earned her own post,but series of posts! I will also include Patricia's descriptions which she emailed me.We cannot thank her enough! If you enjoy these posts,please comment!! So, we go!!
To see the mine in its current state, click here for the first of four videos.

Hello Chip,

Attached are photos that I found in my mom's album of Nemacolin mine. Most of these were taken in 1940, 70 years ago! Some of them were very small, only 2" x3". I have adjusted the contrast to make them as visible as possible, but this is the best I could do, considering the age and size of the photos. I viewed Judge Toothman's YouTube videos a few years ago and seem to remember that he said he worked at the mine for a time. Perhaps he can help expand on the uses of these buildings. These photos were left to me by my deceased mother, you have my permission to use them on your website, Southwest Pennsylvania Rural Exploration.

Patricia Ogden

A few notes/thoughts:

-I am going to send several separate e-mails, with a few photos attached.

-I have labled the photos with what was written on them by my mother. I certainly remember seeing the mine buildings, but I don't know what they were used for.

-The block house stood in what we called the supply yard. There were timbers, cinder blocks, etc. stacked here for use in the mine. In the foreground of the photo, you can see the brick road, then the small cars of a utility "train" that was used to transport the supplies to the mine shaft. There are a few timbers loaded in the last car. I don't know the use of the block house. But, notice across the river there is a train pulling coal cars. In this photo, the mine would be up the hill to the left, the ferry landing would be down the hill to the right. The place where the brick road ended at the dirt is just past this point, to the right. This block house was directly across the street from my family's home.

-Mine entrance photo-the steps you showed in your video continued across the brick road and down the hill to the mine. These steps can be seen in this photo, on the right. The machine shop building, that you walked thru in your video is shown in this photo. I remember in the 1960s that many of the windows in the shop building were blue, perhaps to reduce the heat in the summer? Also in this photo behind the machine shop building can be seen coal cars waiting to be loaded at the tiple.
(Keep in mind..the pics may not post in order as described,but I'll try - Chip)

Machine shop front now, 2010.