Railroad

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Mentions Railroad (less relevant)

History
?} The quarrying of the stone at Casparis was a tedious job that involved drilling and dynamiting. The larger stone was broken up by pneumatic drills into smaller pieces. These were loaded into small rail cars which were hauled to the crusher, a short distance from the drilling area. After the stones were crushed, they were transported down the mountain by incline and loaded in railroad cars for shipment.

Some years later the quarry was purchased by Vang Crushed Stone Company and a new process was implemented for securing the stone. A method of tunneling for the stone was developed and tracks were laid to bring the quarried stone from the tunnels by a small rail buggy. Under the new arrangement, the quarried stone was transported to the bottom of the mountain by aerial buckets, transferred to a crusher, and then into a screener which graded the stone into stone dust, crushed stone, railroad ballast and larger stones used for highway construction. The various stone was stored in designated bins in the tipple. Railroad cars were placed on the siding, and cars were shifted under the tipple for loading as needed.

The "caves" (Casparis Mine) as they are called today, still stand. Receding approximately a quarter mile into the mountain, with thirty-foot entrance ways and forty-foot high ceilings, they are a monument to nature and to man's ingenuity to control his environment. Approaching the "caves" on a hot summer day, one is delightfully surprised by a cool airflow from the entrance ways. A visitor in winter is astonished by the seeming warmth of the flow of air coming from the openings. The truth is the caves maintain an almost constant temperature winter and summer. Although Casparis, as it is called, is located in Connellsville Township, PA, it is a well-known landmark that has always been associated with South Connellsville, PA.
?} Blue limestone mined from the Casparis Mine) was sent down to the railroad along the Youghiogheny River in large buckets down the Incline. Evidence of the incline still exists along Casparis Road about a half mile away from the Casparis Mine.
?} Fairchance, PA in the 1940s
By Robert Bailey Sr.

During the 1940s Coal Mines, Coke Ovens and Railroads were at their prime. Uniontown, PA was a very busy thriving town, and streets were filled with shoppers every Friday & Saturday evening. The streetcars ran from Fairchance, PA to Uniontown, PA starting at Main & Church St. in Fairchance.

At this time Fairchance had a bakery, union supply store, hardware, two dairy bars, appliance store, post office, four barbershops, drug store, theater, shoe repair, clothing store, cleaners, bank, 5&10 cent store, several service stations, two hotels, bars, bowling alley, and several grocery stores.

Some of these store names were Jewell Bakery, Hatchets Hardware, Pegs Dairy Bar, The Hut, Dad Dunaways Drug Store, Kukalo Appliance, Darby Humbert Lumber Company, Fairchance Lumber Company, Dolittle Grocery, Gleason Grocery, Trouts Grocery, Marnellas Grocery, Steve Takotch Grocery, Trouts Cleaners, Bob Lowes Ice & Coal Delivery, White Front Meat Market, A&P, American Store, Romesburgh Garage, Archie Miller Service Station, Cloyd Carr Service Station, Rumpy Heavener Service Station, Gaydos Barber Shop, Sechler Barber Shop, Deans Barber Shop, Hunkers Machine Shop, Kapalko Pontiac Garage, Hawkins Photo Studio, Fairchance Feed Mill, Sharps Funeral Home was originally a bank and the Bank Tavern was originally a bank. We also had our own Grade School & High School.

Doctors were Dr. Heath, Dr. Gretchner, Dr. Mark Montgomery, Dr. Bruce Montgomery, Dr. Patterson, and Dr. Waldon Moats. Dentists were Dr. Fast and Dr. Patterson.

Coal miners made purchases at the Union Supply by charging it on their payroll account. Wires ran from each department to the store office and a carrier traveled this wire carrying the charge slip from each purchase (this was then replaced with a vacuum method).

Stores were not self serve and clerks would retrieve each item from the shelves lined around the stores.

Shoe stores had a ladder that traveled a rail on pulleys top & bottom of the ladder around the store shelves to retrieve shoes from top shelves.

A&P was noted for their coffee they had three kinds 8 o'clock (red bag), Bokart (black bag) and Red Circle (Yellow bag).

Each day a large cart on wagon wheels was pulled back and forth from the post office to the train station when the mail train arrived. All large packages were kept at the freight station along the B & O Railroad tracks. We also had the Pennsylvania tracks where coal was loaded on cars from the tipple.

There were two outdoor theaters in the mid 1940s, the Moonlight at the top of Hights Hill and the Starlight in town. Roller skating rinks were Melody in town and Shadowland near Evans Manor, and Duck Inn in Fairchance. There was a powder mill off the mountain road on the north side of Fairchance in the early 1940's, and during the construction of Route 857 earlier there was a prison camp along the road near the West Virginia line just south of Fairchance, PA where the prisoners were kept that worked on the road construction.

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Pictures by Michael D. McCumber

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?} CSX and Wheeling & Lake Erie trains - Connellsville, PA
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