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Carbon Limestone Company - Hillsville PA

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The Carbon Limestone Company was founded as a private firm sometime in the 1880’s to mine the abundant limestone fields discovered in the hills west-southwest of Hillsville. The new company set up offices in nearby Lowellville, Ohio, but ran most of its operations out of a large processing plant near Hillsville. Its mining operations stretched over a wide area on both sides of the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. Carbon Limestone produced limestone materials for use in the steel industry, but also sold commercial-grade coal and fertilizer. Carbon Limestone, incorporated as a stock company in 1894, also opened several successful brick plants that specialized in making concrete blocks. A major fire on September 22, 1924, destroyed a large part of the plant near Hillsville, but it was soon rebuilt and put back in operation. (c1940) Full Size

One of the extensive quarries near Hillsville that was mined by Carbon Limestone. (c1925)

A unique narrow gauge railway carried limestone from the outlying mines, mostly in Ohio, to the crusher (shown above) located near Hillsville. In February 1968 the Carbon Limestone Company was acquired by the Pickands Mather Company, but continued in operation as a subsidiary with the Carbon Limestone name. The decline in the steel industry in the 1970’s began a steady decline for the firm. In November 1983, after its assets were purchased by SME Limestone Company, the Carbon Limestone Company was closed down for good and its remaining 100 employees were laid off. SME indicated it only wanted the vast limestone reserves and dismantled the company. (c1960) Full Size

The former mines (shown above) of the Carbon Limestone Company were purchased by Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) and turned into a massive sanitary landfill. SME maintained mining rights to the property. By 1989 the BFI-operated landfill was taking in an estimated 95% of all garbage produced in Lawrence County. BFI, acquired by Allied Waste in 1999, weathered numerous legal battles but the landfill is still in business today. The old Carbon Limestone processing plant near Hillsville sits vacant. (c1950) Full Size

This large sign along Route 224 points the way to the massive landfill located on former Carbon Limestone property. (May 2014) Full Size

One of the narrow-gauge 25-ton locomotives,built by the Whitcomb Locomotive Company, which was utilized by Carbon Limestone to haul limestone from the mines to the crusher. This workhouse locomotive is marked as “D-3.” (Oct 1976) Full Size

A General-Electric 60-ton locomotive (“D-11”) at Hillsville. (Oct 1971)

A 65-ton Whitcomb locomotive (“D-10”) at Hillsville. (Oct 1971)

An abandoned 25-ton Whitcomb locomotive (“D-8”) sitting idle at Hillsville. (Oct 1982) Full Size

The remains of the former Carbon Limestone processing plant in Hillsville – along the border with Ohio. (Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg) Full Size

The former Carbon Limestone facility in Hillsville. (Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg) Full Size

The former Carbon Limestone plant was closed in 1983. (Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg) Full Size

(Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg)

(Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg)

(Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg)

(Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg)

(Feb 2015) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg)

An aerial view of the former Carbon Limestone facility in Hillsville. (c2009) Full Size


  1. I found your site while looking up information on an old whetstone that is labeled “

    Agricultural Limestone The Carbon Limestone Co. Youngstown, Ohio

    It also has Pulverized Limestone and Agricultural Meal printed on it.

    The word “Germany” is impressed in the side of the stone.

    The stone is spindle shaped, rounded on the sides and flat on the top and bottom with the bottom being impressed with crosshatching.
    I assume this was an advertising give away. Have you seen on of these stones?
    Any information you could give me would be much appreciated.

    Mike Scanlon

  2. Who started the Carbon Limestone Company back in 1894?

    Thank you
    Sam Carbon

  3. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Sam, the privately-owned company was founded in the 1880’s. I’ll try to dig up the names of the original founders. Newspaper reports indicate it went public as a “stock company” in 1894, which allowed shareholders to own stock in Carbon Limestone. Jeff

  4. Would like for you to send me any photos of Fred Adamo or any information you might have please

  5. Do you have any pictures of crystal lake when it was being mined?


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