South Connellsville, PA

Information

Geography
?} Communities bordering South Connellsville, PA include Connellsville, PA, Connellsville Township, PA, and Dunbar Township, PA.
Living
?} Utility companies serving South Connellsville, PA include:
?} Public education for South Connellsville, PA is provided by the Connellsville Area School District.

Mentions South Connellsville, PA (less relevant)

Geography
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The Youghiogheny River, or "Yough" as many locals call it, begins in the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland before flowing into the Youghiogheny River Lake (reservoir). The Youghiogheny River emerges after a dam at Confluence, PA, where it is joined by water from the Casselman River and Laurel Hill Creek before flowing with class II and III whitewater rapids prior to Ohiopyle, PA, where the Youghiogheny River makes a dramatic 20 - 25 foot plunge at Ohiopyle State Park, PA's Ohiopyle Falls. Class III, IV and V rapids begin at Ohiopyle, PA and continue for nearly eight miles before the river begins to calm as it nears South Connellsville, PA. The Youghiogheny River's personality becomes gentler beginning at Connellsville, PA, after which it meanders until its confluence with the Monongahela River at McKeesport, PA.
History
?} Kenneth Casparis purchased the acreage where the stone was located and also the Charles Hampshire Farm in 1916 and started the Casparis Quarry.

A number of people came with Kenneth Casparis and settled on the mountain above South Connellsville, PA. Eighteen homes were erected to house the families that worked at the Casparis Quarry. One of the carpenters who helped build the houses near the quarry was J.M. Tressler, who was later to become the first president of the South Connellsville, PA Borough Council.

A school to educate the children and boarding houses were also part of the Casparis Community. The teachers who taught at the Casparis School had only two modes of transportation available to them. Some rode horses and others would travel by the Suburban Street Railway to the "end of the line" and then walk the last part of their journey. Other teachers were known to travel by horse from the Springfield Pike (Route 711) and Tanyard Hallow Road to Casparis for their daily teaching duties.
?} 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.

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?} CSX and Wheeling & Lake Erie trains - Connellsville, PA
?} Closing of the Casparis Mines
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