Hanna Coal’s past recalled in calendars

THE EARLY years of Hanna Co. in Eastern Ohio are recalled in a 2013 calendar now available and featuring shovels, equipment and mining information.

Coal sometimes is called “black gold,” and that is apt as it has provided livelihoods for many area families for decades. Pictures in the new calendar refer to familiar places in Eastern Ohio.

In capturing how coal was mined, there are excellent pictures showing the large shovels as well as draglines. An added bonus is a photo showing a shovel and pointing out the use of letters and numbers for its assembly. Informative facts on the calendars help to educate viewers about the coal industry.

Consol Energy is the sponsor for the 2013 calendar, the third one produced to benefit the Harrison Coal and Reclamation Historical Park. The historical group was organized in 1992 “for the purpose of forming an organization dedicated to the preservation of Ohio’s coal and surface mining heritage.”

The cover of the calendar refers to Hanna Coal, “The Early Years” and “The Pioneer and The Trail Blazer,” the old shovels used in the early 1940s. Background of the calendar’s cover shows Hanna’s Georgetown strip pits, which were featured in Goodyear’s “Big” magazine, circa 1941.

“Displaying this overall picture of stripping operations the magazine relates how this one picture tells the complete story of open pit mining,” according to the information provided. Further details illuminate what is being done, and the explanation concluded that “Superintendent Casey Harmon has been trying to figure how many Panama Canals the company could have dug in the amount of overburden the big machines have lifted from the underlying coal.”

Dale Davis of the Harrison Coal and Reclamation Historical Park organization said up to 1940, Hanna Coal did only underground mining, but in 1939, a decision was reached to start surface mining.

At that time, officials went to to Minnesota where a lot of shovels which had been used to dig the Panama Canal were in use in the iron ore mines.

Hanna purchased two shovels, the 225 BE, nicknamed “The Pioneer” and 300 Marion shovel, referred to as “The Trail Blazer.” The Pioneer was set up near Piney Fork No. 4.

“They were originally built to run on rails in the pit in Minnesota,” said Davis, who added when the shovels were moved to Eastern Ohio, they were converted from steam to electric, and crawlers were put over the railroad wheels to propel them on their own in the pit.

The Trail Blazer crossing Ohio 9, south of Cadiz, is shown in one photo, and small earthen pads were placed on the highway.

Not only did the pictures on the calendar include shovels and draglines, but there is a photo of a crew which erected a shovel along with General Superintendent Harmon and other mining personnel. Automobiles and vehicles from the 1940s are shown in some photos along with the shovels.

Calendars may be obtained by mailing orders to Dale Davis, 456 Park Ave., Cadiz, OH 43907. Each calendar costs $10 plus $2 for shipping and handling. Anyone wishing more information may call Davis, (740) 391-4135.

This is third calendar produced to benefit the historical coal and reclamation park. The Mountaineer was featured on the 2011 calendar with the “Gem of Egypt” being the focus of the 2012 calendar. Some of the past calendars are still available and may be ordered for $10 plus shipping and handling.

It’s easy to see that the coal and reclamation group is living up to its mission of “surface mining heritage preservation.” It aims to preserve archives and machinery relating to the surface mining industry for display and educational purposes.

Among its goals are to educate the public on the importance of mining, and it was pointed out that “coal, aggregates and industrial minerals play a key role in everyday life.”

Davis said proceeds from calendar sales will go toward refurbishing mining equipment donated, replacement parts and fuel. He indicated it is necessary to buy numerous replacement parts.

“We’re always looking for old mining equipment to be donated,” he said.

In the summer after beginning in May, the Historical Construction Equipment Association, Ohio Valley Chapter, works at the coal and reclamation park the first Saturday of every month, and others also may help. The park is located on Ohio 519, about a mile west of New Athens.

Pokas may be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.


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