Text and Photos By Barbara S. Miller
As its name implies, the focus of Rices Landing, founded in 1786 by John Rice, has long been the Monongahela River, and due to its prominence as a port, there must have been some rollicking times there.
Rices Landing, with its ferry, lock and dock, became a major distribution point for commerce decades before Dilworth, the first major deep-shaft coal mine in Greene County, opened in 1902.
Rices Landing and the neighboring community of Newport, which stood on opposite sides of the Jefferson-Cumberland Township border, were unified in 1903 as a borough.
According to a history compiled as part of the borough’s comprehensive plan, 190 coke ovens operated along the river, where coal and its by-product were loaded directly onto barges.
If revelers or miscreants in the thriving river town were too much to handle more than a hundred years ago, they could temporarily be housed in a tiny lockup that was divided in half in 1913, around the time that a rail line was extended from Rices Landing to Crucible and Nemacolin.
The little jail no longer stands on its original site, but has been relocated to Pumpkin Run County Park overlooking the Monongahela River.
Caption: A plaque informs visitors of the tiny building’s history.
Caption: Cells are outfitted with cots but not much else.
Caption for px with “Open” flag: The two-cell jail was open to visitors during a recent annual “Hammer In” convened by blacksmiths at the historic W.A. Young & Son’s Foundry, a showcase of Rices Landing’s industrial prominence.
Caption: At a bend in the Monongahela, there are remnants of the old Lock No. 6, which was abandoned in 1964.