The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Elkins Coal and Coke Company Historic District

From West Virginia (WV) Cyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Beehive coke ovens -- Elkins Coal & Coke Company -- 1974

In Preston County, near Masontown, WV, the Elkins Coal & Coke Company National Historic District preserves the architecture of a mining company, located in the Fairmont Coal Field, built between 1900 and 1924 and includes 140 beehive coke ovens, the last beehive ovens known to operate in the U.S. (Ed. note - Some sources claim the Alverton Coke Works, at Alverton, PA, was the last to operate beehive ovens in U.S., but that is incorrect. Although the Alverton works operated MacDonald Smokeless Sole-Heated Non-Recovery coke ovens until 1982, those ovens were not beehive coke ovens. Alverton did have beehive coke ovens in operation until the 1970's, which have the distinction of being the last beehive coke ovens in operation in Pennsylvania. The Elkins C&C Co.'s beehive ovens were operation through the 1980's.)

Unfortunately, much of the historic district has since been destoyed, according to the National Park Service:

"The majority of the resources were demolished in 2003 as part of a planned reclamation project performed by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The demolition was considered a necessity due to the hazards that the deteriorated resources presented to visitors to the site. The resources were recorded to HABS/HAER standards before demolition. As a result of the demolition activities, many of the resources that contributed to the property’s historical value have been lost."

(Ed. note - At last report, the coke ovens and coke loader are still present at the site.)

The district is located off W.Va. Route 7 at Bretz, about 13-miles east of Morgantown, WV.

Street map showing location of Elkins Coal & Coke Co. National Historic District