Ferguson Coke Works/Parrish Coke Works

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A sunny day! What do we do? I’m rapidly running out of existing coke oven sites, and am down to only a handful left that I’m aware of. Today we headed out to Dunbar to see what was left of the Ferguson/Parrish Coke Works. The 70 ovens of the Ferguson Coke Works were constructed in 1870 by E.M. Ferguson. E.M. Ferguson was an early coke man and in 1878 was brought on board, along with his brother Walton, into H.C Frick and Company.

On January 1, 1882, H.C. Frick and Company merged into  the H.C. Frick Coke Company with Carnegie Brothers and Co. owning 11.25 percent of Frick’s reorganized company. Frick held 11,846 shares, the Ferguson’s held 23,654, and Carnegie held 4,500. In turn, Carnegie would buy all his coke from Frick. E.M. Ferguson would become involved in many other interests in the area including President of Merchants and Manufacturers National Bank, Director of the Mt. Pleasant and Latrobe Railroad Company, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Carnegie Library. Frick operated the Ferguson works until April 1, 1880 when the coke plant was purchased by the Dunbar Furnace Company. The plant was renamed Parrish after George Parrish, President of the Company.

Dunbar operated the plant until November 21, 1903 when the mine exploded killing 17 men. The mine was scheduled to be closed within the next six months. Ferguson Mine was connected with the Hill Farm Mine. Dunbar Furnace Company owned both mines and considered them to be one mine. On June 20, 1890 the Hill Farm Mine exploded, killing 31 men. The fire was never extinguished and 29 of the dead weren’t recovered until March 27, 1892. The cause of the Ferguson explosion has been blamed on the fire, still burning in the Hill Farm Mine, breaching a wall… For more, see original post…

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