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Spring 1997
Spring 1997

Smock - The Company Store
by Pat Myers

In most mining towns in Southwestern, Pennsylvania, the Company Store was the center of activity for its residents. Not only did the store provide the miners and their families with food, clothing, tools and other goods, but it also provided a place for them to foster friendships that developed the community spirit which still exists today.

There were three company stores that served workers and their families in Smock beginning in the 1880's. The first two frame buildings were destroyed by fire. The third store was opened about 1905 by the Pittsburgh Coal Company. The Federal Supply Corporation, a subsidiary of this Pittsburgh based coal company, operated the store until 1911. The Union Supply Company, owned by H.C. Frick Coal, managed the store until its closure in March of 1958. In addition to the Smock Company Store, this group operated more than 60 other stores at Frick Mining operations in southwestern, Pennsylvania.

According to the memory of a former Smock resident, Edward Hudock, (although he now lives in Ohio, he says his heart never left Smock), who was delivering newspapers in the early 1900's, the second floor of the store housed the office of a physician, Dr. Franklin. He came to Smock each morning on the train, the Station being located immediately across the street from the store. He then pulled down the fire escape on the side of the store, and went up to his office to see patients. He then left on the last train at 5 pm.

On January 27th, 1961, the United States Steel Corporation sold the existing building to the Smock Community Recreation Center. The front of the first floor is now used by the U.S. Postal Service, with the rear of the floor used as a community center.

Since April of 1995, the Smock Historical Society has been renovating the 2nd floor to house the Smock Heritage Museum, which will tell the story of the men, women and children of Smock who worked during the hard times of the Coal and Coke Era.

For more information call Pat Myers at 724-677-2528.

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