Two miners prepare to enter the Gallatin Mines, located across the Monongahela River near Monongahela, Pa. They wear soft cloth caps from which hangs an open flame sunshine lamp. Around their necks are bandanas which could be pulled over their faces to protect them from the choking coal dust. These men were responsible for buying their own equipment–even the cost of having their picks sharpened. They carry their buckets, packed with their meal, including coffee, tea, or water carried in the lower level of the bucket.
Standing among the trees and flowers in Mutual, Pa., Westmoreland County, a young girl poses for the camera. Families living in the mining patches continued their European rural traditions by planting both vegetable and flower gardens in their yards, resulting in little or no lawns. The H. C. Frick Coke Company, the owner of Mutual, was one of the first to offer small cash awards and certificates to the first, second, and third place winners of the patch garden contests. Judging for the prize winning gardens began in August. The gardens offered not only fresh fruit and vegetables, but also a sense of pride and well being for the mining families.
“Frick Junior’s” baseball team gathered for this photo taken in 1916. Boys, like these from Continental #2, dreamed of someday making the adult Frick team, which was organized in 1910. Indeed, some of the Frick baseball players did become major league players. Many old timers claim that this was the most exciting baseball that was ever played. The game furnished a link between the coal mining patches, while providing entertainment and community pride for the often isolated coal town patches.
Even though the young girls are proudly perched atop the train engine, the Baltimore and Ohio’s first mallet type engine is the real center of attention in this photo, probably taken about 1906 in Connellsville. The “2400,” built in 1904, was used as a helper engine on the mountain run between Connellsville, Pa., and Cumberland, Md. Railroads played an important role in transporting the coal and coke to markets, often leading to increased competition among the railroads to carry the profitable black gold.