Mt. Pleasant-area sign to provide mining industry education
A rainy summer delayed the planned erection of a sign along the Coal & Coke Trail designed to educate the public regarding the area's mining industry heritage.
The sign, which contains a map titled “The Frick-Bridgeport Connection,” was recently installed where the trail crosses Wineman Road in the area.
The map details the locations of the former Buckeye, Star, Hazelett and Mullin mines throughout the Mt. Pleasant area, which were all purchased in the late 1800s by the H.C. Frick Coke Co. from the McClure Coke Co.
Placement of the sign and map represent completion of the first phase of the Coal Mine and Coke Oven Reclamation and Preservation Project managed by the Jacobs Creek Watershed Association to find, research and identify the local mines that attracted many of the immigrants that settled in the Mt. Pleasant area.
The initiative is funded in part by a $2,000 matching grant from the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp.
The corporation was given that money to administer by the state's department of conservation and natural resources, said Cassandra Vivian, the project's director.
The association had to match the funding and received donations from Mt. Pleasant Borough, Mt. Pleasant Glass & Ethnic Festival Committee, Coal & Coke Trail, Republic Services, Harley N. Trice and in-kind donations from the Pennsylvania State Library, Helen C. Frick Archives and the University of Pittsburgh, she said.
“The mines are still there. The coal is still there. Some of the beehive coke ovens remain in various stages of decay hidden behind years of overgrowth,” Vivian said.
It was decided that a general signage would be erected along the trail, which follows the original railway linking all the mines, she said.
“That sign would contain a map and some basic information about each of the mines,” Vivian said.
Because there was so much more that project developers wanted the public to learn that would not fit on the sign, it was decided to add a QR Code to it, she said.
“A person with a smartphone could scan the QR Code and the phone would jump to a website on the Jacobs Creek Watershed Association home page that gives a bullet point history of the mines, the Braddock Road, the trolley system and railroads,” Vivian said. “That bullet point will also be laminated and attached to the sign in hard copy in the hopes that it will not be stolen.”
In addition, she said there is a 25-page, detailed description including all documentation expanding on the information about the mines available on the association's homepage — jacobscreekwatershed.org.