Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Re-Visit to the Nemacolin Helicopter Crash site and original Dilworth Mine

We spent what turned out being a cold and rainy afternoon checking out some cool spots.We revisited the site of the Oct. 1973 helicopter crash near the Nemacolin mine and some mine buildings.Then we headed to Rices Landing to find the site of the Red Row houses and remains of the original Dilworth Mine (not to be confused with the more modern Dilworth Mine, just south of the original) It was cool revisiting the crash site after learning the facts of the incident (even though I mistakenly referred to the chopper as a Sikorsky S-52 B,when it was actually a S-55B!).We found a few more small parts which is amazing as they were on the river bank for 37 years!We took a look at another mine building basement,but will return when we have a light. The Rices Landing footage is cool because we found remains of mine buildings either of us had ever seen.Good history on the mine here.So check out the videos and let us know what you think! A quick note about the second was shot in multiple parts,which is why I introduce ourselves several times...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Remains of the Poland Mine Fan House

We've covered the Poland Mine coke ovens here on the blog many times,but little is known about the mine(s) itself.The only information we can find online is here. Which doesn't give much specific information on the Poland Coal and Coke Company of Pittsburgh,Pa. I will continue to research the mines and see what info is available.Until then,we do have a "new" find.

I have lived about a mile from these remains of the Poland Mines fan house for thirteen years and had no idea it was there.My father-in-law clued me into this spot and it is quite amazing.Nearly 100 years old,little is left of the actual building,but what remains is very cool.The building corner bears a striking resemblence to a fanhouse of an abandoned mine in Northeastern Pa (as seen linked on our Facebook site).

These remains are in an area known to locals as Rocky Hollow.As far as I know,other than the coke ovens and the "cement thing",this is the only remains of the mines.The entrance behind the fan remains remains partially open and another entrance is about 40 feet to its right.The terrain here is steep, and dangerous.Rusting sheets of thick iron lay about.Rails and timbers lay about and the bricked openings look as if they could cave in at any second.I woud give you the standard warning about satying away,but if you don't know exactly where this won't find it! Heres some pix I took on a recent sunny Sunday.Look for Evan and I to put our video spin on this soon!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yet Another Victim. Lams Chinese Garden and The Colonial Bar. Waynesburg, PA

Post from the road..... Earlier today, Dad sent me these two pictures from Waynesburg, Pa's "business district" on High Street. The Colonial Bar, a seedy under belly of uptown Waynesburg and the former Lams Chinese Garden, perhaps Greene County PA's first venture into the oriental cuisine. Before that, I remember it as Balsamos Pizza. John Balsamo always was good to us kids who stopped in to play the latest video games. I fondly remember Tempest, Battle Zone and the knock off Kong Gorilla there. He always gave us a free slice or two as we put in the quarters. A victim to yet another parking lot (my theory) for the sprawling Waynesburg College, er.... University. Well done Waynesburg.


Thanx to  Darla Lemley Merritt via Mary Ann Scott  for the last picture!

And, as it was.....


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bobtown Mine Bridge

I know...I know,we've covered the Poland Mines stuff before. Heck,the first post on this blog was the coke ovens...but,when you least expect it, you fine new stuff to explore. My father -in-law, lifetime resident of the Poland patch, told me of an old airshaft entrance that remained from the Poland Coal Company. This was new to me, as I thought the coke ovens and "big cement thing" were all that was left...not so.

We set off to the general area to find the air intake (or fan house)...and couldn't find it. So, we checked out one of the three bridges that transported coal to the Monongahela river from Bobtown Mine. And, of course, re-hit the coke ovens..just because.

Heres a few pix and a video. Please comment and let us know what you know about this area. We learn alot from people who check out the blog! thats why we do it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Clarksville/Pitt Gas Swinging Bridge

Our videos from our most recent journey around Greene County were sort of off the cuff and tossed onto one blog post like toppings on a Caputos pizza. We got a lot of positive feedback on the Pitt Gas swinging bridge video and figured it needed a post of its own.  Some folks have given good insight on the Facebook site as to their memories of the bridge and tales of a recent restoration effort.

I don't know much about this bridge.  It was the access to Clarksville from the Pitt Gas patch in the mining days and a popular hang out for kids since then.Its survived a few floods and the ravages of time...but shes in rough shape.  So,fans of the swinging bridge..heres your chance to shine...We want your bridge facts/stories/memories/and most of all pictures!  Lets not let a piece of our history end up scrapped like so many others!

I'm awaiting info on the effort to save the bridge and will repost here and on our Facebook site.  Heres a few stills from last weeks trek to the bridge.You can comment here or email us at

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oct.1973 Helicopter Crash,Nemacolin,Pa

Early October,1973 was an interesting time in Greene County,Pa.Two days after 8 year old Debbie Makel's body was discovered near Pumpkin Run creek in Rices Landing another life would be lost in nearby Nemacolin,Pa.
According to the NTSB archive,at 18:15 hours (6:15 pm)on Tuesday,Oct 9th,1973, a Sikorsky S-55B (similar to the one pictured here) crashed on the banks of the Monongahela River just near Buckeye Coal Company's Nemacolin Mine.Records show that the helicopter left Waynesburg enroute to Nemacolin and seems to have misjudged the landing area,striking a pier below the mine.The helicopter burst into flames and was destroyed.The pilot,whos name is unknown at this writing,was killed.Two passengers,Frank Sundquist and James McGreavy,electral contractors from Mentor,Ohio were treated at Uniontown Hospital.

The Observer-Reporter article states the chopper was headed to Dilworth Mine in Rices Landing,just up the river.
I've heard vauge tales of the "helicopter in the river" but didn't really know the story or if it was even true...until today.
While heading to the former Nemacolin ferry landing,we met a few guys cutting firewood and stopped to b.s. a bit.When we told them about our blog,the one guy said "Wanna see a helicopter crash site?" F%#K yes!!! I knew instantly what he was talking about!We snapped a few shots at the ferry landing,then beat feet to the crash site.
Not to sound morbid,but crash have always facinated me.To discover the story I heard was true was cool...but to see it!! Oh yea..
Well...upon arriving at the site,expecting to see the remains of the helicopter engine which lay buried in the hillside for 37 years, we were disapointed.The engine was gone! Fresh ATV tracks and some recently cut limbs were all we first.
After speculating on which local scrappers hauled out the copter pieces,we headed back up the trail.The other guy,Henry, spotted a few pieces the scrappers dropped.Now,I don't know the etiqutte behind removing items from a crash site,especially where someone died,but I grabbed them up.I figured it would be better for me to save the parts and tell the story than have them scrapped for a few bucks or thrown in the river by kids.
I am,by no means,an expert on helicopters,but the pieces are most certainaly from the aircraft.Even after 35+ years on the riverbank the nuts and grease fittings are intact and the joints still move.Anyone who has more info on what the parts were,please comment or email us here at the blog.The NTSB documents list the aircraft an a 1952 Sikorsky S55-B.I'm going to keep asking my Nemacolin gang about what they remember.Jerome,the fellow who led us to the site,has pictures of the engine on his cell phone,which I will try to get.So stay tuned for updates to this post.If you remember the crash,please contact us at swpare@gmail

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Back down to Stringtown, PA, a suburb of Carmichaels, PA trail, filming some old time hill side coal mines.

It started snowing this morning, despite it being in the 60's a few days ago, ruining my plans to take the bicycle out, so I decided to head on back down the path under my house and film some of the old time hill side coal mines down there.  This post might be a little redundant of the one I did earlier in the year,  but I have video this time.  Also, fellow explorer, Chip posted just yesterday a lost video blog he filmed of some similar mines in Rices Landing, PA, and those got a loving response, so I couldn't be out done.  Stringtown, PA is what I like to call a suburb of Carmichaels, PA, and though not much of a town, it has wonderful access to the river so lets take a look...

Welcome to the trailhead
Heading down on this snowy day.

The mines are located just down the path, and unlike Chip's Rices Landing mines, these have no old tracks inside them, these are more of the "personal use" mines.  I noticed since my last trip, there were a few more rockslides, covering up a few of the openings into the hillside.   So, if you are planning on going into these mines, a word of advice, don't.  
A few pictures before the videos....

Inside the mine.  The coal seam on the right and left of the posts must be 4 feet tall.

Video 1

Video 2

And yes, I did mine some coal today, I'd be derelict in my duties if I hadn't.   Safely, mind you.  Going to take it over to my buddy's workshop and burn it up as an homage to todays trip.

     And in closing, a big "thank you" to all the blog followers/viewers, we just hit 10,000 page views today, thanx to all of you!