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