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Connellsville and South Connellsville

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South Connellsville, PA History

Articles
- The Founding
- Land Settlements & Divisions
- Begins to Flourish
- Beginning of Industry
- Factories
- Utilities
- First Glass House
- Stone Quarries
- Casparis Community
- Railroad Stockyards
- Schools
- Churches
- Soisson Park & Transportation
- Borough of South Connellsville
- Fire Department
- Growth

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Casparis Community

A number of people came with Casparis and settled on the mountain above South Connellsville. Eighteen homes were erected to house the families that worked at the Casparis Quarry. One of the carpenters who helped build the houses near the quarry was J.M. Tressler, who was later to become the first president of the South Connellsville Borough Council.

Casparis Caverns in 1931
Casparis Caverns in 1931

A school to educate the children and boarding houses were also part of the small community. The teachers who taught at the Casparis School had only two modes of transportation available to them. Some rode horses and others would travel by the Suburban Street Railway to the "end of the line" and then walk the last part of their journey. Other teachers were known to travel by horse from the Springfield Pike and Tanyard Hallow Road to Casparis for their daily teaching duties.

Casparis Work Crew
Casparis Work Crew

The quarrying of the stone at Casparis was a tedious job that involved drilling and dynamiting. The larger stone was broken up by pneumatic drills into smaller pieces. These were loaded into small rail cars which were hauled to the crusher, a short distance from the drilling area. After the stones were crushed, they were transported down the mountain by incline and loaded in railroad cars for shipment.

Old log house at Casparis
Old log house at Casparis

Some years later the quarry was purchased by Vang Crushed Stone Company and a new process was implemented for securing the stone. A method of tunneling for the stone was developed and tracks were laid to bring the quarried stone from the tunnels by a small rail buggy. Under the new arrangement, the quarried stone was transported to the bottom of the mountain by aerial buckets, transferred to a crusher, and then into a screener which graded the stone into stone dust, crushed stone, railroad ballast and larger stones used for highway construction. The various stone was stored in designated bins in the tipple. Railroad cars were placed on the siding, and cars were shifted under the tipple for loading as needed.

Casparis School, 1920
Casparis School, 1920

The "caves" as they are called today, still stand. Receding approximately a quarter mile into the mountain, with thirty-foot entranceways and forty-foot high ceilings, they are a monument to nature and to man's ingenuity to control his environment. Approaching the "caves" on a hot summer day, one is delightfully surprised by a cool airflow from the entranceways. A visitor in winter is astonished by the seeming warmth of the flow of air coming from the openings. The truth is the caves maintain an almost constant temperature winter and summer. Although Casparis, as it is called, is located in Connellsville Township, it is a well-known landmark that has always been associated with South Connellsville.

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