Glassport, Pennsylvania

Hollows, Creeks and Coal Mines


Hollows

These section of the page contains information on the hollows of Glassport. A hollow is a valley. In that sense, Glassport itself is part of a hollow cut by the Monongahela river.

There are four significant hollows in the area of Glassport: Dunshee, Harrison, Detroit and Coursin. With the use of Google map images, the hollows of Glassport are shown and described. Some history has been added.

More information will be posted here on these hollows. Look Often.

Thanks to John Barna, some corrections and additions have been made.


Dunshee Hollow

Dunshee hollow lies to the northeast of the Mansfield bridge. It is mentioned in the Historical Tibits section of the web page From the Beginning through 1919 and From 1920 through 1949 (Click and search for Dunshee). It was a popular spot for hiking and camping through the 1920s. In the fifties, there was a pond in the hollow that was deep enough for swimming. It is unknown whether the pond still exists.

Added by John Barna 8/24/2008: I've asked about the pond in Dunshee's Hollow. It's long gone and the locations seems to be in some dispute. I'll keep checking.

On July 6, 2008, I surveyed part of the hollow. It is overgrown and accessible only to a point some 1000 feet from its entrance. Some of the survey pictures appear below:

Entrance to Dunshee Hollow

Dunshee Hollow 250 Feet From Entrance

Dunshee Hollow 750 Feet From Entrance

Dunshee Hollow 1000 Feet From Entrance

Path Crosses Dunshee Hollow Creek

From this point on, the path rises up on Otto hill. It is a hot day and this is the furthest I travelled.


Harrison Hollow

Harrison hollow follows the extension of Harrison street up the hill toward Port Vue. The hollow lies between Otto hill to the north and Nanny Goat hill to the south. The sides of these hills were a playground for the children of the borough. On the Otto hill side of the hollow lies a famous waterfall, underwhich many a Glassport kid would get wet in the summer. The waterfall is shown below.

April 30, 1857 - George Wilson and his widowed sister Elizabeth McMasters maintained a farm near Harrison and Erie streets at the base of the hollow. They were murdered by her niece, Charlotte Jones and her common law husband Henry Fife. George and Elizabeth were buried in the Edmundson cemetery. Source: Port Vue Centennial 1892-1992.

The following picture was taken of the entrance to Harrison hollow. It was at this point that the McMaster and Wilson murders took place. Erie avenue (red row) is the road to the right going up the hill.

The next view of Harrison Hollow is taken from inside the hollow about 300 ft east from Erie Avenue.

Added by John Barna 8/24/2008: I took a quick hike to Harrison Hollow the other day. I walked in from Dunshee's Hollow along the hillside. Along the way are several old mine entry sites overlooking Otto. On the north side of Harrison Hollow are 3 really wet areas caused by mine drainage. Two of them are just mushy and the third is actually pouring out water. I couldn't find the old waterfall - the vegetation is really thick, I was in waist deep poison ivy much of the time. The old paths are hard to find. If the falls are still there, I suspect they may have dried up. The building of a house on the hilltop may have changed the drainage pattern. I'll go look again when the foliage has died off a bit.


Detroit Hollow

Detroit hollow lies between Nanny Goat hill to the north and Patterson hill to the south. There are houses along the Patterson hill side of the hollow. At one time, the borough of Glassport dump was located at the top of Patterson hill.

In the early days of the borough, there were coal mines in the hollow.

January 16, 1947 Daily News reports that Borough Council was considering connecting Glassport with Liberty Borough via Detroit hollow.

The following picture was taken of the entrance to Detroit hollow:


Coursin Hollow

The Coursin or Rhodes cemetery lies at the base of the hollow as shown below:

Click here for more information on this cemetery.

Coursin hollow was also used as the Glassport dump during its past history.

Other information on Coursin hollow:

Do you remember when the Frederick Coursin Family who owned a mansion in Coursin Hollow would ride into Glassport in their "surrey with the fringe on top" for all the townfolk to come and see? (Many years ago.) (Glassport Bicentenial History)

September 16, 1901 --- DEATH OF AN ESTIMABLE YOUNG LADY --- Miss Belle Hayes, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Hayes, of Coursin station died last evening at 5 o'clock, after a lingering illness of consumption. She was in the 24th year of her age, and was widely known. Deceased had been a member of the Methodist Protestant church at Bellebridge for nine years. She will be greatly missed by those with whom she daily came in contact. She was a devoted daughter, charitable and loving. She bore her illness with great patience and never at any time lost sight of her Master who had promised her a home in the better land. A few moments previous to her death she sat up in bed and sang the first stanza of the old and beautiful hymn "Jesus Lover of My Soul". She is survived by her father and mother and the following brothers and sisters: Mrs. Minnie Davidson, of Camden, PA; Capt. John H. Hayes, Harvey, Charles, Margaret and James Hayes. Funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock by the Rev. Rush, of the M. P. church of Bellebridge. Interment will be at the Bellebridge cemetery at a later date. Source: McKeesport Daily News

March 29, 1902 --- GLASSPORT NEWS --- Personals and Other Notes --- Harvey Hays of Coursin station has typhoid fever... Source: McKeesport Daily News

September 4, 1926 --- St. Cecilia's Will Observe Anniversary --- Glassport Church Arranges Fine Program Monday For Big Occasion -- MASS, DINNER AND PICNIC SCHEDULED -- Three great events, high mass, a dinner for more than two score priests and a basket picnic for the congregation, will fittingly mark the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic church, Glassport, next Monday. The occasion will be featured by the presence of the founder of St. Cecilia's church, the Rev. Father Thomas R. Rea, pastor of St. Pius' R. C. church, McKeesport; his successor, the former pastor, the Rev. Father Phillip Callery, and the present pastor, the Rev. W. A. O'Hara, as well as by the presence of about 25 visiting members of the clergy.. An interesting sports program has been arranged in connection with the basket picnic which will be held at Coursin Hollow immediately after church services. The priests will adjourn to the picnic scene after participating in dinner in the school building.. High mass will be celebrated at 10:30 with Father Rea as the celebrant, assisted by Father Callery and Father O'Hara. At 12:30 o'clock the banquet will be served by the ladies of the church in honor of the priests. The committees in charge include the following: Reception -- Mrs. John Mortz, Mrs. J. W. Rommel; tables -- Mrs. Joseph Faix, Mrs. Schildkamp, Mrs. J. C. O'Brien, Mrs. Charles Conway, Mrs. Patrick Connors, Mrs. Walter Snyder; Culinary -- Mrs. William Hine---, Mrs. John Wolf, Mrs. Catherine Rosenauer, Mrs. Margaret Nairn, Mrs. Joseph Hoover, Mrs. Marion McNellis, Mrs. Patrick Donahue, Mrs. Emmilia dugan; decorations -- Mrs. Charles Conway; finance -- Mrs. Margaret Nairn, Mrs. John Mortz and Mrs. J. W. Cornell.. Transportation by automobile will be provided by the Holy Name society, James O'Brien, chairman.. An elaborate sports program will be staged beginning promptly at 2 o'clock. The sports committee includes members of the Cecilians. andrew Ondreyco is general chairman and the committees include: Sports -- Miss Edna McVeigh and Andrew Ondreyco; starters -- Joseph McVeigh and Jule Joyce-Curtin; finisher of sports -- Miss Isabel King and Roy Quinn; judge -- Dr. Arnold Shaner, Miss Elizabeth Pensenstadler... [The remainder is not readable]. Source: McKeesport Daily News.

The Entrance to Coursin Hollow

This hollow was originally known as Peach Hollow, nearly 200 years ago. It was then known as Frantz's Hollow and finally Coursin Hollow. At one time it was used as the Glassport dump. It is located approximately a third of a mile south of the Glassport-Clairton bridge, off Glassport-Elizabeth road. It is not in Glassport but just to the south of the Glassport border in Lincoln Township. Date of Picture 4/29/2000.

Added by John Barna: A map of 1884 calls it HARPER'S HOLLOW, after a local resident.

Added by John Barna 8/24/2008: I've asked around about Bertie's pond on the hill. Two people in their 80's recalled it. Both told me about a spring of good water which fed it. Also one of them said that the overflow from the pond went over a "waterfall" down into Coursin Hollow. At least that seems to tell us that it was located towards the southern part of the dump property.



Creeks

These section of the page contains information on the creeks of Glassport. Only the more significant creeks are recognized. The biggest Creek is the Monongahela River flowing on the west of the town.

There are five significant creeks in the area of Glassport. From north to south: Dunshee, Harrison, Second Street, Third Street, Detroit and Coursin. With the use of Google map images and other pictures, the creeks of Glassport are shown and described. Some history has been added.

More information will be posted here on these creeks. Look Often.


Dunshee Creek

Dunshee creek runs the course of Dunshee hollow. In the fifties, there was a pond in the hollow that was deep enough for swimming. It is unknown whether the pond still exists. During very heavy rains, the creek becomes a torrent and washes mud and rocks down the hollow onto W 5th Ave at about the point where the road changes from light to dark color.

Dunshee creek at a point about 700 ft. into the hollow.


Harrison Creek

Harrison creek runs the course of Harrison hollow. This google image shows the creek as it empties into the Monongahela River.

Added by John Barna: If I had to pick a name for the stream in Harrison Hollow, I think I'd call it Hezekiah's Run or Douthitt's Run after Hezekiah Douthitt who lived at the foot of Harrison St and ran the ferry boat. He was a revolutionary war vet and a distiller - sounds like a neat guy!!

This is the view from the bottom of Harrison Street as the creek enters the Monongahela River.

There are several streams that feed Harrison creek from Otto hill on the north and from Nanny Goat hill on the south. One of these streams has a waterfall, which is about a 7-8 ft drop. The position of the waterfall is shown on the google image above.

This is the point at which Harrison Creek goes underground about 250 ft. east of Erie Street up the hollow. The creek does not re-emerge until just before entering the Monongahela River as seen in the previous photo.


Second Street Creek

The source of the Second Street Creek is in a long abandoned coal mine, about two thirds of the way up Nanny Goat hill. In the fifties and early sixties, the gob pile from the coal mine was visible from Ohio and Erie avenues. The creek ran to the right of the gob pile and proceeded underground near Fern way.

Second Street creek as it proceeds underground. The picture was taken from Fern way.


Third Street Creek

Third Strreet creek's source is in a long abandoned mine, abandoned perhaps much earlier than the source of the Second Street creek. Its source was in the orchard of Nanny Goat hill. The orchard was a favorite hangout for kids in the forties and fifties. There were apple and cherry trees in this orchard.

Third Street creek empties into the Monongahela river at the base of Third street. Before the sewage plant at Harrison street was built, raw sewage was dumped into the river via the Third Street creek. We all knew it as the "stinken sewer."


Detroit Hollow Creek

Detroit Hollow creek runs the length of Detroit Hollow. It drains both Nanny Goat and Patterson hills. The google map shows Detroit Hollow creek emptying into the Monongahela river at about Tenth street.

Added by John Barna: On the 1876 map the stream in Detroit Hollow is called POLLOCK'S RUN, after the Pollock family who owned the section around what is now Broadway Ave. I have been told by some oldtimers that the area along Vermont Ave. between 9th St. and Broadway used to be in the early 1900's a swampy area or even a pond. A branch of Pollock's Run ran thru it.

Detroit Hollow creek proceeds underground at the base of the hollow. The creek does not emerge again until it empties into the Monongahela river.


Coursin Creek

Coursin creek empties into the Monongahela river at the base of Coursin Hollow.

Added by John Barna: The stream in Coursin Hollow is called SANDY RUN on both the 1876 and 1900 maps.



Watch here for future installments Coal Mines.


Page last updated August 24, 2008