Yellow Dog Village – Almost Forgotten

Yellow Dog Village

An almost forgotten village remains shattered along hillsides, tucked away in the quiet state of Pennsylvania. Since the late 1700s, Pennsylvania has hosted a heavy mining industry throughout the entire state. Mine operations for this particular, almost-forgotten town began in the late 1890s – when life was simpler and most of the country’s population would tend to worry and fear far less. This lack of worry may have been a large contributing factor to why this once beautiful town eventually fell apart, but let’s not point any fingers – thus was life, and life was good! However, it’s quite certain that very few – if any – could foresee this village’s eventual downfall until years later, when the simple, peaceful and close-knit town of Yellow Dog began to take a turn for the worst.

 

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village is a small mining town, tucked away in the hills of Worthington, Pennsylvania. Contrary to what some believe, these mines were opened in the 1890s, not by U.S. Steel as many may say, but by a company under the name of Pittsburgh Limestone. As you may have already guessed by this point, the mines were used to gather limestone from quarries. It has been rumored for decades that the halting of mine operations might be due to a mine collapse during the 1930s, though this is undocumented and only brought about by hear-say. The story goes to tell that a miner had actually been killed during the collapse. The main reason this story seems to fall so far from the truth is simply due to the county of Worthington having such a small community. With such a close-knit community of less than 1,000 residents – still barely above 600 today – this news would have spread like wildfire, and been well-documented.

Yellow Dog Mine photo 210670096_851347518248861_5745517556300800207_n298556_247840048599614_50557602_nYellow Dog Limestone Mine, Claire Ruffaner

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

 

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog is a term used to describe a person or thing that is contemptible or cowardly. The village was built during the late 1910s and early 1920s. Yellow Dog itself was built by the mine company to house workers, providing them with higher wages and better treatment as long as they promised not to unionize. The company workers accepted this, agreeing with anything the company wanted – hence the name “Yellow Dog” – and so the town was born.

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

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Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

After great fruition, mining of limestone came to an abrupt halt between the years 1930-33, due to the Great Depression. As stated earlier in this story, some still hold on to the belief that this was largely due to a mine collapse – but let’s not put any money on that. The mines were closed for long stretches of time, as workers were in and out until part of the old mines were leased to the future Moonlight Mushroom Company. Moonlight Mushroom began operations during 1935, holding heavy in operation all the way through WWII. 1952 rolled around and operations were brought to a final halt. What would this mean for the families who wished to remain?

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

When the village was originally built the town’s residents would use 4 springs on the hill to supply themselves with water, carrying bucket after bucket into their homes. They used dry sinks, and would handle laundry by using washboards. However, come the 1970s, as water usage began to rise to meet the needs of a society becoming more modern. The villagers tapped into ground water surrounding the areas, which was nowhere near as pure as the former springs, and thus begun sewage issues.

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Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

Many residents continued on to find other jobs, remaining in the village throughout much of their lives.

 

Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village

 

The last few remaining residents finally vacated the village in 2011, leaving the entire place an eerie, quiet ghost town. Over the next few years, teenagers would claim this as their new hangout space, running up and down the streets causing damage to structures – smashing windows and breaking in doors. It was not until December of 2014 – only four hours before the new years ball dropped – that two people would sign papers to become the new owners of this entire piece of forgotten land.

Yellow Dog Village

The new owners – Joseph Meyer and Amber Glaslow – plan to open it to the public as a historic “camp”, where guests will be able to live in a space for an entire week to learn the history of the mines, the town and more, immersing them in Yellow Dog’s unique past.

 

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68 thoughts on “Yellow Dog Village – Almost Forgotten

  1. Worthington County, PA? As a life-long resident of PA, I know of no county with that name. Washington County is in the greater Pittsburgh area.

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    1. Well I am here to testify, that there is a Worthington Pa, not county and I was raised in Yellowdog, left only to come back and raise my children there, growing up in Yellowdog was truly amazing!

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      1. Marie, I lived on top of the hill right above Yellow Dog until we moved to Butler when I was 10. Went to the little church and was in a few plays there also. Loved walking down and going to the store across the bridge. Great memories and many great families lived there!

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      1. GOOD GRIEF! How many people are going say what county and city this is!!!!??? We don’t care! MOVE ON!

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    2. Lived in this area for years but just now figured that it is outside Kittanning in Armstrong County. The mushroom mines I believe are still there but a different name.

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    3. This is the town of Worthington,PA in Armstrong County. I live about 20 minutes from here now and gre up about a 10 minute drive from Worthington.

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    4. This is right, Yellow Dog is in Armstrong County, My grandparents, Albert and Bessie Shearer lived about a mile from there on a farm for many years. I have been to Yellow Dog many times. Great article. Joyce Cowan DeDi

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  2. I’ve gotta tell you, I feel VERY SPECIAL because my pic is on this posting 3 times! I LOVED living and growing up in Yellow Dog! It was safe and there was always an adventure to be found; everyone looked out for each other! I DO HOPE you succeed with your dream!!! Jackie Evans

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  3. I’m from a small town like 15 minutes from Worthington. I really hope they succeed at this project. Maybe it will create more jobs in the area that desperately needs it.

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  4. nice to see that yellowDog is not forgotten someone is saving her and still loves the past and is willing to and has the means to save it thank you

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  5. I think it is great what you are proposing to do out there. To Lear a forgot trade so many thing we as a race learned and forgot because of modern day wounders. If you decide on doing some fundraising to help with your cost I would like to help even if its my time that I can offer up. Please let me know. Thank you jenny Seidel

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  6. Having taught 14 years at the Worthington-West Franklin School, I had many students from Yellow Dog. I can say they were great and respected me as I respected them. Thank you students from Yellow Dog as well as Worthington and other surrounding areas for a wonderful time. I hope I made a difference in your lives.

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    1. Miss my teachers Mr and Mrs Shilling. We had the best school along with a great facility. I am honored to be a Worthington graduate. Thank you for being great teachers and being a inspiration to me. Marcia LaFisca Jackson

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  7. My aunt and uncle lived here for years. My grandfather and uncle both worked in the mine. My grandfather was a blaster for many years until he retired in the early fifties. Good luck on this project.

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  8. My grandparents lived in Worthington – raised my father and his sibs there – I used to visit with an uncle and find adventure in the area as a kid…. Buffalo Creek and Yellerdawg, great memories.

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  9. When I was a Child I would visit my Great Grandma Emma who lived in YellowDog!! It was always a great time there! The people all cared about one another and looked after each other! I can Remember The old YellowDog Store that had tons of penny candy! We woulg go in empty handed and come out with a brown sack full of candy,,,Ahhh wonderful memories!! I can remember My Great Grandma making tons of pies and she would cool them on the front porch! We would always go down to the little bridge and go play in the creek ! I Loved it there, Thank you for sharing this article!!

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  10. I grew up in this area in the 80’s. I would love to see Yellow Dog brought back to its original glory. I now live in San Diego but would definitely come back to be a part of this restoration.

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  11. hi how do i get in touch with this two wonderful people.My adopted mom and the Aunt who raised her and the Aunts husband ,They owned the park and cabins in yellow dog .they lost it when my adopted mom was 16. I recall my grama the Aunt who raised my adopted mom talking about the park and my adopted mom walking home from the school bus never knowing what cabin they were living in .god bless

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  12. It is my full intention to become a resident to Yellow Dog Village, during the spring of 2016. If it were not for Winter… I would have already moved. Unfortunately, I own a home and I can not just pick up and forget this home. It must remain to be heated. Or it too will begin to fall, in to decay, and I will not allow that to happen. Future wood worker/leather worker of Yellow Dog Village. ‘Our Future’
    http://www.chriscrosscreations.com

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    1. Since my initial meeting with Joe, the owner of YDV, he has fallen of the face of the map. So, IMHO, I wont be following up, on any further correspondence with him. He seems to be a man, that runs hot and then cold!

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      1. Chris Haney,
        I can assure you from someone that works very closely with their family that Joseph Meyer is not a man that runs hot and then cold. I see you posted that comment about being all excited about moving in and then 4 days later post that. Both him and his daughter have full time jobs as they do have a mortgage and taxes and their own expenses to pay until the village is up and running and paying for itself.. When they aren’t working they are working around the village. Its not like they are sitting on the couch twiddling their thumbs.

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  13. I’m so glad someone has come along with the means and vision to take on this project. I didn’t live in Yellow Dog, but had relatives who were miners. They lived and raised their families there as long as there was work. It was a pleasant little town with lots of kids, well-kept houses and yards, even when I was a child. How sad some of those who grew up there must have felt, to see the destruction that has occurred there.
    One can only imagine the possibilities for this undertaking. I, for one, would love to experience a trip back in time to the village of Yellow Dog as it was in 1910! I wish you success and the best of luck!

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  14. I was born and raised a mile south of Buffalo Valley (Yellow Dog). That was in 1940. I recall my uncle coming home from WW11 ’44 or ’45 and going to work in the limestone mines. I remember riding past the tipple while railroad cars were being loaded with limestone. It was approximately 1954 when the mines were closed to mining limestone. It was when several classmates left with their families to seek employment elsewhere. Several went to Bessemer and Youngstown.

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  15. I used to get water from their springs and it was so good not like city water. Does anyone know if you can still get the spring water? At the bottom of the hill going toward the old mushroom mine. Very nostalgic place.

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  16. What remarkable people the new owners must be. I wish them much luck in making their vision a reality. A piece of American history saved.

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  17. I recently visited yellow dog with my grandmother who lived here in the 70s-80s. The owners were amazing and were more than happy to let us look around. You could tell they loved this place and really do have intentions for yellowdog. We live in NY but I can see that some of you live close, my question is would anyone go talk to them about setting up a gofundme account to help or maybe set up something for donations. I would dedicate my time to coming to help. Jessica Toy, Buffalo NY

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    1. Hi Jessica, they did set up an account and collected about $600 last I checked. Can’t remember now what it was set up under. ~Lori Frantz~ former Yellow Dog resident

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  18. Message from the new owners of Yellow Dog: Tours are every Sunday for $5/person. Tours start at 12 noon and go every 45 min until 3:30 or so. Call 724-297-3773

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  19. All the best to the owners and their plans for re-development. Very nicely done piece by the website. I would like to visit if I ever get back to PA.

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  20. Hello,
    I grew up on PA, Langhorn to be direct. I now live in FL but have owned a handyman business for 12 years. I am able to handle Plumbing, Electrical, Carpenter, Paint ect…As well i can repair almost anything.

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  21. After a recent funeral in Brady’s Bend I took my dad to visit the village again. He left in about 1951 before the mine closed. It was fascinating to listen to him recall his childhood. Recalling his friends, the shops up the road, ball fields, swimming holes and everything about his childhood. I wish the new owners the best in restoring this village as it played a huge part in many lives.
    After returning to DC I shared this site with my aunt and she told me the day the mine closed and my grandfather returned home from work the last day. Made me feel like I was living there. She was a very young girl then, what the feelings must have been like in the village.

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