Coal Mining

Mining mural at former Clarian House  - by David Nadock

Saturday, March 19, 1898

Pine Forest shuts down unless orders to the contrary are received in a very few days.  Pine Forest Colliery will be a thing of the past, Forman Tiley and McDonald have been sent instructions to suspend all work today and prepare to remove the machinery.  The boilers, pumps, etc.  will be taken out when the work of demolition is complete.  Their will not be employment enough to keep a half dozen hands busy about the place.  Between four and five hundred men and boys will be thrown idle.   Most of these reside in Saint Clair but the suspension will only temporarily affect our town as work at Wadesville will be hurried forward.

Discovery of coal in Saint Clair was made in 1824 and for over 100 years this was the most important industry in the town's history.   Deemed the most important vein of coal underlying the town are the Primrose, Mammoth, Orchard, Skidmore, 7-Foot, and Buck Mountain.  they range in size from several inches of thickness to nearly 80 feet of thickness, as in the Mammoth vein.

The first coal mine opened was by Pinkerton and Company in 1830.  It was located near the location of the old Reading Station on North 3rd Street.   The vein of coal was named the Primrose Vein because of the primroses that grew near the mine.  Frank Parvin and Alfred Lawton also operated this mine until it closed in the 1850's.

Isaac Beck, a bank teller, discovered the Mammoth vein by noting the coal seam cut through by Mill Creek in 1830.  Pinkerton and Company took over this vein in 1835 and produced 100,000 tons of coal per year.  The Mammoth was also mined by Samuel Sillyman and E. Evans.  This vein allowed mining at Crow Hollow; by the High German Mine on Mt. Hope; by Miles Haywood and Snyder's mine at Pine Forest and another mine on the gun Club Hill.  These were all consolidated into one operation by the Boston Consolidated Coal Company in 1864.

In 1850 Pinkerton and Company opened another mine in Samuel Arnot's orchard in Arnots Addition called the "Orchard Vein".  This mine was the first to produce mine for outside sales.  Pinkerton and Company also opened mines to dig out Buck Mountain and Skidmore veins in the 1870's.  These were the slimmest and lowest veins under the town.

Primrose Vein Opened in 1830 by Pinkerton & Co.  Named for the flowers that grew there - end of North 3rd St.  Taken over by Frank Parvin.

Parvin's Colliery Operated 1825 to 1860 by Frank Nichols & Frank Parvin - northeast of St. Clair.


St. Clair Shaft End of West Carroll St. First vertical shaft.  Shaft's fenced in area  can still be seen on the land where the Quirin Machine Shop once stood.


Rainbow CollieryOperated from 1836 to 1868, located in Crow Hollow.


Eagle Colliery - John's Eagle Colliery  Opened in 1826 by Frank Haas.  Leased to John's Brothers in 1846

Herbine Colliery - Former John's Eagle Colliery.


Saint Clair Coal Co.Former John's Eagle Colliery & Herbine Colliery.  Leased in 1889 and operated until 1957.  Took in

Skidmore & Buck Mt. veins also. This was the town's largest mine operation. Dissolved all operations in 1979.


Hickory Colliery Operated 1828 to 1874.  Located across Mill Creek from the John's Eagle.


Sillyman Tunnel Operated 1828 to 1846 by Mr. Wetherill.   Located in eastern St. Clair.


High German Tunnel Operated from 1830 to the 1860's by Otterman and Whitenoff.  Located in the vicinity of Pine Forest Stripping.

Mt. Hope Colliery Opened 1848. Near Pine Forest.  Closed in 1867

Pinkerton Tunnel Operated 1830 to 1853 by Pinkerton and Company.   Located along Reading tracks on North Third Streets.


Lawton Peacock CollieryOperated from 1836 to 1852 by Charles Lawton and later by Frank Parvin.  Charles Lawton took charge from 1836 to 1848, Parivn from 1848 until it was abandoned in 1852.


Skidmore Vein One of the most important veins of coal found in St. Clair. Discovered by John Pinkerton & Co.  Veins were from 10" to 14" in thickness.  ( See Thirty Slope)  Located West of St. Clair - Burma Road)


Buck Mountain Vein One of the most important veins of coal found in St. Clair. Discovered by John Pinkerton & Co.  Veins were from 10" to 14" in thickness.  ( See Thirty Slope)Located West of St. Clair - Burma Road


The Hooker Colliery End of East Carroll & Price Streets.  Began operation in the early 1870's and ceased opreating following W.W.I. and was torn down..   Was once known as the Jackson Colliery.  During the 1930's & 40's it was the scene of "bootleg" coal operations.  Today, there is still a bit of the culm bank remaining and a little bit of the foundation.


Repplier Colliery Located in Dark Water.   Active in the 1850's and still advertising in 1938.


Thirty Slope  An experimental mining system beginning in 1968 comprised of the Skimore & Buck Mountain veins.  The first suspended monorail system in the United States.  It is a West German monorail system.


Pine Forest  Part of the Mammoth Vein. Opened in High Germany by Benj. Milnes, Benj. Haywood and George Snyder in 1845.  In the general area of the High Germany Tunnel, Sillyman, & Mt. Hope veins. In November of 1866 the owners sank a vertical shaft, but ventilation was a problem.  In 1872 Snyder sold the colliery to the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company.  In 1890 the colliery was re-opened but closed down again in 1899. 


Reading Anthracite operated the Pine Forest strip mining until 1986.

Documents from the Saint Clair Coal Company are available to view at the archives of the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware.  This link will give you an idea what is included in their archives.  It also lists having 17 photographs of The Saint Clair Coal Company.

Strip Mining