Bethlehem Steel mining and Bethlehem Mines Corporation records
Scope and Contents
This collection contains materials relating to Bethlehem Mines Corporation and Bethlehem Steel Company's mining divisions, as well as some other Bethlehem Steel subsidiaries, including the Cambria & Indiana Railroad Company. Materials focus on Western Pennsylvania.
Materials are separated into four series:
Series 1: Bethlehem Steel Company mining publications, 1947-1985 Subseries 1: Cambria Iron Company Land grants, 1947 Subseries 2: Bethlehem Steel chart of accounts, 1948-1985 Series 2: Division mine records, 1945-1990 Series 3: Property maps, 1960-1980 (bulk) Series 4: Miscellany
Series 1 is composed of seven volumes. Subseries 1 includes 6 volumes, Volumes II through VII from Bethlehem Steel Company's Cambria Iron Company in 1947. Each volume includes data about each tract of land, deeds to or by the Cambria Iron Company, and an index. Subseries 2 is a bound volume of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Beth-Elkhorn Corporation and Bethlehem Mines Corporation coal divisions' Chart of Accounts.
Series 2 is 1.75 linear feet of records from the Cambria, Ellsworth, and Barbour divisions of Bethlehem Mines Corporation. Files include correspondence, applications, maps and drawings for numbered mines in each division.
Series 3 is composed of five oversized folders containing property maps for Bethlehem Steel's Marion Division, Kayford Division, Boone Division, Barbour Division, and Elkhorn Division.
Series 4 includes several miscellaneous items, including a history of the Cambria & Indiana Railroad Company and publications from Bethlehem Steel Company.
- 1945 - 1990
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is available for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Materials within the collection may be in copyright. Please consult IAL at email@example.com for more information.
You are free to use the items within this collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.
Biographical / Historical
Bethlehem Steel’s mining operations constituted a major part of its steelmaking empire. By being able to mine their own coal, iron, limestone, and other raw materials, Bethlehem could significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency in their steelmaking process. While the exact process of steelmaking changed over time, the raw materials needed to produce steel stayed stable. Iron and a small amount of carbon are combined to create the much stronger steel. However, this process can produce impurities, which need to be removed. Flux, often in the form of limestone, was utilized in smelting to reduce impurities.
Bethlehem Mines started as a part of the larger Bethlehem Steel Corporation, with its administrative offices located in Johnstown, Pa. In 1905, one year after incorporation, Bethlehem only owned two raw materials properties, the McAfee Limestone Quarry in New Jersey and the Juragua Iron Mines in Cuba. However, this number rapidly increased.
As Bethlehem Steel itself grew, so did its need for these materials. Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky were hotbeds for bituminous coal, and Bethlehem Steel eventually had multiple mines in each area. Later, Bethlehem utilized the harder, cleaner burning anthracite coal from Eastern Pennsylvania, acquiring mines in the Panther Valley region south of the Poconos.
Iron ore needed to be acquired farther from the corporate headquarters. In the United States, most iron ore was acquired in the midwest in areas such as the Mesabi Range in Minnesota and southern Canada, and nearby states such as Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. However, Bethlehem also owned or operated mines in Central and South America. Cuba was additional source of iron ore, and the Mayari mines near Nipe Bay became a trademark for Bethlehem Steel, as it was used to produce a chrome alloy called Mayari-R as a weathering steel.
As Bethlehem acquired other companies, they would also acquire their mines. In 1916, Bethlehem acquired the Pennsylvania Steel Company and its subsidiary, the Maryland Steel Company; this acquisition included ore properties in Cuba, as well as Bethlehem’s first coal mines at Cornwall Ore Mines in Cornwall, Pa. and Penn-Mary Coal Company mines at Heilwood, Pa. Other major acquisitions at this time included, Lackawanna Steel Company and its leaseholds (1917), the Finch Run Coal Company (1920), the Union Coal & Coke Company (1923), and the Lackawanna Coal & Coke Company (1922).
In 1917, the Bethlehem Mines Corporation was established to own and operate Bethlehem’s limestone quarries. Three years later this would additionally include the operations for Bethlehem’s coal and iron mines as well.
In 1936, Bethlehem Mines Corporation established a new subsidiary called the Industrial Collieries Corporation. Industrial Collieries’ holdings included the Ellsworth Division (Ellsworth and Marianna, Pa.), the Johnstown Division (Johnstown and Slickville, Pa.), the Marion Division (Barrackville, W.Va.), the Preston Division (Morgantown and Kingwood, W.Va.) and the Heilwood Division (Heilwood, Pa.).
In 1968, the headquarters of the Bethlehem Mines Corporation moved from Johnstown, Pa. to the company’s headquarters in Bethlehem, Pa. In 1984, Bethlehem formed BethEnergy which manages its coal properties. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Bethlehem slowly divested itself of many of its properties in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 1994 marked the last of the operations in Pennsylvania, and, finally, in 1997 its last mine in West Virginia was closed, marking the last of the corporation’s non-steel business. In 2001, Bethlehem Steel Corporation declared bankruptcy and was dissolved in 2003.
4.5 Linear Feet (Three record cartons, and one oversized flat file.)
Language of Materials
Records are arranged in roughly the same order as received. Files are organized by mine number, from lowest to highest. Within mine number, files are arranged chronologically, with any maps or drawings being in the last folder of that mine number. The archivist imposed some order where necessary to keep files in this general order.
However, the files included have a disparate numbering system, which indicates that the original order was most likely different. The file numbers have been retained.
The property maps are in oversized leather folders. These are stored separately due to the size of the folios.
Materials were rehoused and arranged in July 2021 by Melissa Nerino. The property maps were not rehoused due to their size. These folios are bound in leather and include metal materials.
Finding aid was created in March 2022 by Melissa Nerino.
- Bethlehem Mines Corp.
- Bituminous coal mines and mining Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Mine maps Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Melissa Nerino
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Industrial Archives & Library Repository
18 West 4th Street
Bethlehem Pennsylvania 18015 USA