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Export adds historic designation to 'fan house'

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murr
History comes alive in Export at the site of the 'Fan House'. Members of the Historical Committee, Council and the Mayor met at the site on Monday, April 22 to install a permanent plaque. From left are: Jerry Soles, John Nagoda, Tonia Waryas, Melanie Litz, and Michael Calder. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Murrysville Star

Buried in the woods adjacent to the new district justice office lies one of Export's historic gems.

It might look like a wall of cement block, but the gray, crumbling structure was used for decades to circulate fresh air underground to miners.

Soon, history buffs looking around the small town will be able to find and access the historic “fan house.” Last week, borough officials and volunteers erected a marker on the structure to designate it of historical significance. Officials hope an Eagle Scout candidate will choose to beautify the area and make it more inviting to visitors for his service project.

“We're working to make Export a better place that is more well-known for what's going on here,” Councilman John Nagoda said.

Councilwoman Melanie Litz said there are at least 10 locations throughout the borough that the historical committee would like to mark as significant. Several, such as the fan house, are tied to Export's mining history.

The fan house was used 75 to 80 years ago to bring fresh air into the coal mines over which Export is built, Nagoda said. He called the building a “lifeline” for workers.

Mayor Michael Calder said designating historically significant landmarks throughout the borough is the latest effort that officials have come together to work on.

“It's a great day,” Calder said. “Every time I turn around, another project is getting finished. This is what happens when people work together.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or

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