Nearly half a century ago, Duquesne Light needed an efficient way to move coal from its Warwick Mine near Bobtown, in Greene County, to the Monongahela River, where it could be loaded on barges for shipment to Pittsburgh. The solution was a covered conveyor belt running from the mine, across the rolling hills and Route 88 to a loading facility in Greensboro.
“That conveyor stretched for 4.3 miles,” said Ralph Weston of Greensboro, “and now you’d never know it was there.”
Weston worked as a welder at the mine for 30 years until he and another 190 workers were laid off when it closed. He guesses that our Mystery Photo was taken in late summer of 1965 during construction of the belt.
“The small building in the middle of the conveyor is a transfer house, which, if I am correct, was located near the intersection of Hunting Hills Road, Donham Road and State Road 2011 (Bobtown Road),” Bob Levo wrote to us in an email. “I lived in the Greensboro area as a child and was in my early teens when the conveyor system was built. My father, Nicholas Levo Jr., was production engineer for Warwick No. 1 and 2 Mines, when the conveyor was built, and eventually became superintendent of Warwick No. 3 in the late '70s and early '80s.”
We received lots of responses from our readers, most of them spot-on. But Weston was the first, and he was also able to tell us the exact date when the conveyor belt was last used: Nov. 4, 1996.
Duquesne Light operated the mine from 1948 to 1988, when it closed. The mine reopened under the New Warwick Mining Co., which mined the Duquesne Light reserves until 1997. The conveyor was dismantled in 2000.
Look for another Mystery Photo in next Monday’s Observer-Reporter.