Mining equipment has moved out from under the house.
Longwall Mining starts under the new house.
The following people came to the James Kinney farm building complex
today to survey the premises and build a proposal to mitigate damage
to the historic structures. Dave Bartsch, engineer for Ohio Valley
Coal Company, Claude Luke, field representative OVCC, Tom Pulay,
ODNR field representative Dr. Yi Luo and Dr.Yunqing Zhang, West
Virginia University mining engineers Drs. Luo and Zang gave the
following references of structures they have submitted proposed
mitigation plans prior to longwall mining. Mining done by RAG and
Consol Mining Co. in Green County PA Wermlinger farm, Minor, Gordon
Farm and Kent Farmstead.
All above participants in this survey were off the premises in 1hour
and 30 minutes.
The following people signed in at the James Kinney farmhouse as
people who will be doing work in and around the premises.
Steven Avdakov, Heritage Architectural Associates Wheeling WV
Kurt Keahey same, St. Clairsville, OH
Khepri C. Polite, American Archaeological Services Youngstown, OH
Jason B. Soelar, American Archaeological Services Youngstown, OH
Debbie Zellts, American Archaeological Services Youngstown, OH
Antonio Pilolli, American Archaeological Services Youngstown, OH
David J. Soldo, principal of American Archaeological Services Youngstown,
A 20 plot archaeological dig was completed and the artifacts or
items of interest were removed by the AAS people mentioned above.
The Hughes Corporation of 375 Pettit Run Rd. Sycamore, PA 15364
represented by Douglas R. Hughes, President and Darrell Weaver Superintendent
Hughes Corporation dug trenches around the main house and summer
kitchen. Archaeologist K. Polite was in attendance. He found three
ceramic items at the barn but discarded them as "irrelevant"
At cow barn door he found a black, 3 inch arrow point that he kept
and was taking it to the laboratory at Youngstown State to be weighed,
photographed and analyzed. I asked him what age it was and he said
about one to two thousand years old. This finding was observed also
by David Bartsch of OVCC and the Hughes Corporation track hoe operator.
After the trenches were dug they put in drainage pipe and sump pump
and our farm supplied mulch hay. The trenches were covered by 4
X 8 foot 3/4 inch plywood to prevent any accidents. Trenches at
west side of house were to be 14 feet deep to meet mitigation plan
specs.that they be 5 feet below basement floor level. Equipment
Hughes had today was not able to dig through that much rock. Trenches
at barn were to be 5 feet deep but were dug 6 feet and same for
summer kitchen. Digging deeper is better than less, of course.
Hughes Corporation here to put up cables on summer kitchen.
Hughes crew here again, still putting up cables on summer kitchern.The
Columbus Dispatch sent a reporter to take pictures and interview
me as well as Dave Bartsch of OVCC. Kurt Leahey was here to do sketches
Business going on at the farm during all this is difficult. Hay
customers could not get in driveway due to Bartsch's car in driveway
and trucks filling up the traffic circle. Finally got enough of
them moved so the Ford 7710 tractor could get out to load hay for
Mr. Ogilbee. Mrs. Helen Stanford had printed up 50 papers to go
to many of the state and federal politicians about the plight of
the James Kinney Farmstead. She also enclosed the most recent Ohio
Farm Bureau policy concerning longwall mining under historic properties.
This was recently passed into state policy by the delegates of the
2003 annual meeting in Columbus.
Hughes crew putting on black, flexible plastic downspouts after
taking off the white pipes and laying them out in the yard. These
look like large worms coming down from the roof gutters at both
ends of the front of the house. All this activity around the house
has made it hard for my little company, OVAS, INC. to get out a
nice order to NASCO in Wisconsin. Jim Mellott (plumbing contractor
for OVCC) came to look at basement to see what it would take to
get the house supplied with water from a tank as mining will likely
take all the well water. They will supply a tank in the front yard
that holds 2,000 gallons of drinking water for a temporary supply
and cut into my line from the good well from the barn and tie into
the tank. Hughes men are now able to dig the trench west of the
house deeper, through the stone to get it down to 14feet to meet
the specs. This activity by big equipment so close to my dogs house
is driving her crazy, Heidi got hoarse from barking at them so much
and they were piling dirt right up to her house. I had to move her
to the barn for safety.It seemed like a good move but she got into
Kurts sketch material and actually tore up one of his CD's. I did
not know he had left any of his material in the barn. He was sketching
the barns internal timber frame structure. This main barn was built
in 1874 and is very sound and is structurally nearly as perfect
as it was in the year it was built.
5 men from Hughes Co. came by 7:00 AM
David Bartsch (OVCC) came at 10:00 AM He said he came late as his
mother was in the hospital after a shoulder injury. Tom Pulay, ODNR,
came and took measurements and pictures of the trenches west of
house, Kurt Leahey came also to do sketching of the last of the
inside of the main house. He will work on the main barn next. Kurt
Stuffs (QES) Quality Environmental Services, came with his boss
Fred Blackman to learn how to adjust tension on the cables. Pulay,
Stuffs, Blackman and I watched Hughes job superintendent adjusted
cables on the east side of the summer kitchen, I took their picture
which will be included on the web page. The Times Leader editor,
Betty Pokas, called to clarify with me an item about her reporters
article for tomorrows paper (no, we did not have the Drovers' Trail
Festival in 2003).
Full crew of workers from Hughes but they loaded the track hoe
on their trailer and took it away in the morning. One guy smoothed
out the half frozen snow covered mud tracks in some of the yard
with the BobCat loader bucket. Then they took it back. The rest
of the crew put up corner posts that were "V" shaped by
lengthwise sawing heavy timbers. These were secured to the corners
of the house with braces that extended out into the yard. Jim Mellott
Plumbing Co. had two guys working in the SE corner basement to install
inlet filter, carbon filter, pressure tank, ultraviolet light system
and plumbing that will make my house dependant on water in the big
tank in the front yard. Kurt came to sketch, stayed until late.
Son Ron came home from Florida.
This day (Sunday) there was no activity by the Hughes crew or Mellotts
but Kurt called me to say he was being pressured by his boss to
get the project finished for OVCC. I did let him work in the barn.
Kurt had worked all week and had the flu to contend with all the
while. Lisa Lowrey had been helping him but due to weather and class
work at Bel Tech. she had not helped much this week. I took time
off to go the town to get some groceries, First time I had been
away as this place has been a bee hive of activity, people in and
out of all of the buildings. They are all quite polite and I am
sure nothing will be broken or come up missing but it is a constant
strain to put up with it.
I sent a letter to ODNR Chief Sponsler today concerning his signing
off on a mitigation report that does not include all of the features
of the James Kinney Farmstead, especially the very old (possibly
1795) dug well at the barn, the dug well (circa 1863) at the Kinney
house and the cistern (circa 1863). There is no plan to protect
or prevent material major damage to these hand made structures as
they are specifically listed on the National Register of Historic
Places. By receiving this letter before mining he has time to have
OVCC get a plan together to prevent damage and to allow the permit
to mine coal here under the stated plan by ODNR. I suppose it would
be a violation of the permit to mine with out addressing this. At
7:30 AM the Hughes men started their noisy electric generator. They
continue to place the long corner posts up on the house. Mellott
Plumbing's crew accidently cut into my water line which was under
pressure from my pump at the dug well at the barn. It flooded the
trench before they could get to the barn to shut it off. They got
their line "teed" into it so my water is now coming from
the "water buffalo" water tank that graces the once elegant
10:30AM I got a call from a Mrs. Hoard in Columbus that she had
seen the Columbus Dispatch article about the James Kinney Farm house
that will sink 3 or 4 feet due to longwall mining. She faxed a copy
to me, It looked OK. This was an article done by Randy Ludlow last
week. This was in the Metro Section of the Dispatch. Mrs. Hoard
was very concerned about the situation and was going to send me
information about some restoration work she does in Columbus in
case I need help in that regard. Kurt came to work at the barn,
he had a helper from the office, (Tony?) Ron and I were surprised
to see a stranger in my front yard, measuring my house, he said.
He was a surveyor hired by the coal company. Ron and I had just
come back from town to send a message to Governor Taft about the
plight of this historic property. Water was delivered to the tank
by Deans Water Service. The new pump worked OK for awhile but quit.
Mellotts got it going at 5:30 PM today. They will pull my pump and
pipes out of my well tomorrow and store it. I had a message on my
business phone recorder that the Ohio Farm Bureau chief lawyer is
interested in this case and will be calling me for details. He is
interested in putting this case on the next Ohio Farm Bureau cabinet
The Hughes crew started the generator at 7:30 this AM. It is so
loud that they have to shout to be heard. They are putting more
cables on the main house and adjusting corner posts and cabling
the portico and back porch. With all the loud machinery, thumps
of them hammering the corner posts and hollering over the roar of
equipment there is little peace here today. I got a call from Scott
Beveridge of the Observer Reporter that he wants to interview me.
Deans Water delivery man (Mal) dropped another 1,000 gallons of
water, did not want me to run out at Christmas. Kurt was done sketching,
rushing off to get the sketches put into the CAD CAM. in Wheeling.
He left at 5:00. Hughes picked up tools and left at 4:00, Mellotts
got my pump pulled. Channel 7 WTRF TV wants to come out. My house
is trussed up like a Christmas Turkey with the cables and nylon
bands on it. There is mud everywhere, no grass left in the yard,
equipment has run over almost all of it but if the buildings survive
OVCC can get a lawn care company to put the grass back.
Kurt Stubbs, Mike Schumacker and Tom Pulay all stopped to check
Christmas Day, Coal Company longwall is down for two days for Christmas.
My water pump in the water buffalo quit. Had to call out Mellots
to get it going. Bad regulator? Christmas dinner with son Ron and
Shirley at her house.
8:00 AM Kurt Stubbs (QES) came to adjust the house and summer kitchen
cables. Some are as much as 7,000 lbs and he has to make adjustments
up to a preset pressure before mining starts and adjust due to cables
expanding or contracting in warm or cold weather. Claude Luke (OVCC)
told me that the longwall is stopped under the tractor shed, just
about 75 feet west of the house. It will start up tomorrow at midnight
and he expected house damage to start Sunday morning. WTOV TV, Channel
9 from Steubenville, OH interviewed me. They took pictures of the
cables and braces on the buildings. This aired at 5:00 and 6:00
then again at 11:00 PM. WTRF TV Channel 7 ran a small blurb about
the house being undermined and quoted someone from the coal company
that had said they expected little or no damage. I do not know who
they called at OVCC as they were all closed for the holiday at the
office and David Bartsch and Claude Luke were on Christmas break
or vacation. I placed pendulums in the summer kitchen and 2 in the
basement of the main house. Already had put three in the main house.
All are pendulums that are free to swing in any direction over a
1 inch square grid. All are marked at a point in the middle as I
do not know which way they might swing. Plan is to make a mark at
points where the pointer is indicating several times a day at first.
My son Ron helped me in the AM with computer and getting things
put away that might be broken when the longwall comes under. I got
a call from Dinah Burns, a direct descendent of Ignatious Burns,
who had been one of the first to run the farm as a drovers station
before James Kinney bought it from George Burns, a son of Ignatious.
Dinah Burns and daughter Maggie came out in the early afternoon
for a tour of the place. Dinah is a great, great, great granddaughter
of Ignatious Burns. I gave them a complete tour of the house and
told them to remember how it looked. I told them to note that there
were no cracks in ceilings, walls, and bricks and even though we
have pictures they might have to vouch for this. I put up two pendulums
in the barn, one in the middle of the upper floor at the grain bin
and one in the first floor back of stall # 7. I put one in the milkhouse
which was difficult as Hughes people had cabled the milkhouse and
had braced the entrance door. My nephew Wayne Slater called me on
his cell phone to advise me to move out of the house when the longwall
goes under. I told him I was staying. Claude Luke (OVCC) called
me to say that they were at a point 50 feet west of the house and
they would be under the house at midnight. Channel 9 ran a piece
about our farmstead again. My phone was ringing a lot, with people
wanting to know why the coal company was not being respectful of
our Historic property. There were no ODNR people here today.
8:00 AM, Claude Luke from the coal company called to ask about
the house. He said they were 35 feet past it already. I told him
the pendulums were right on center and no problems were seen. 8:10
AM Kurt Stubbs here to tighten the cables, he said there was no
outside damage. I went to get my cordless phone from the dresser
and found pieces of plaster on it. I looked up to see a major crack
in the ceiling above which stretched across the wall! I could hear
cracking and thumping sounds coming from the other rooms and found
the ceilings upstairs were all getting cracks running across them.
The hall was very bad and the pendulum had moved west an inch! I
talked with Kurt and he said no outside damage yet but we went in
the summer kitchen and found the pendulum had moved southwest an
inch and it could be felt that the building was tilted. The door
was stuck in the museum room. Claude Luke came at 9:00 AM. Gave
him the tour. Ceilings and walls getting worse. We observed the
pendulums in the barn had moved and the longwall was not yet even
under the barn. He said it was a ground swell ahead of the dropping
earth. He said it will go down after the mining has gone past it
which will be tonight. Mrs. Helen Stanford came out to help me use
drop cloths to cover more of the area it looks like will be hit
by falling plaster. The room above the kitchen has now had a major
loss of plaster. We had to move my computer, desk and books out
from under and cover the bed and floor and closet doors (original
hand painted wood work on these) Cracks are now appearing above
door and completely across the ceiling now. It is wrinkling the
new ceiling paint I put on just last summer when this room was re-painted.
Bill and Eileen Wise came over for the tour this afternoon. Bernice
Bartels and Shirley took the tour of the house and summer kitchen.
Mrs. Bartels took a lot of pictures. I have taken over 100 digital
pictures with Ron's camera. When I got into the 2nd room (door was
stuck) of the summer kitchen we found a huge crack running from
the outside wall down the middle of the wall. Outside only one or
two bricks were broken,near a window. Same area inside had plaster
cracked so this is a structural problem. Otherwise no foundation
stones or major brick loss on outside of these two brick buildings.
The main barn pendulums have moved back to their starting point
by 5:30 PM. Channel 9 ran a little information on the damage, they
said they are coming out tonight to run a "LIVE REPORT"
at 11:00 PM. Later note: Nate Cline of Channel 9 came out and took
a video and interviewed me for the live report. He said he was shocked
at what he saw. Mr. Cline had been at a number of our Drovers Trail
Festivals and appreciates preservation of the history of our area.
There were no ODNR people here today, they are either off for Christmas
or due to health problems.
8:00 AM Kurt Stubbs here to adjust cables. He told me, some were
loose. Channel 9 coming out at 11:00AM. This time it is D.K. Wright
and cameraman My gosh, I am living in a fish bowl!!! ODNR's Dave
Clark from the Cambridge office and his boss Tom ( ?) and Dan Schrum
from the Office of Surface Mining. Andy Stamp from the Wheeling
News Register, and Eric Ayers from the Times Leader were all here
today. Bill (?) Hamilton came with two loads of stone for the driveway
that was torn up by the contractors. Jimmy Greenwood from Mellott
Plumbing came and adjusted the water pressure regulator and got
his company trackhoe. Ohio Dept. of Transportation people had heard
of the mining under an icon on the newly assigned Ohio Byway and
they sent me a copy of what was in the Columbus Dispatch. The ceilings
are getting very bad. Lots of original "horsehair plaster"
is coming down. All of the ceilings are now cracked and I have looked
above the false ceiling downstairs to find large cracks not only
in the ceiling but also cracks coming down the walls and chimneys.
Still nothing much disturbed on the outside. The cables have done
their job. The basement floor is starting to crack and is heaving
upward as much as two inches in places. Pendulums are still moving
away from the starting point to the southwest. One can put a marble
down on the floor and watch it race toward the southwest. It is
an eerie feeling to walk through the house and feel as though it
is either down hill or uphill or that one is walking sideways! I
ran a sight level along the back porch (44 feet across) and found
that it was 8 inches lower on the west side! I have found some broken
slate from the roof due to the twisting and some nails have popped
out of the back porch. Local TV is running a lot of coverage tonight.
They quote me as saying that the mine should have gone around the
James Kinney Farmstead. They have Dave Bartsch saying that they
had no way to go around it as they only do longwall mining and do
not have equipment to do room and pillar mining. Another OVCC spokesman,
Steve Cohen said it would have cost them millions of dollars to
go around. Bartsch saying that they will "repair" to historic
standards (not "restore" to historic standards which is
required by law). He said they would pay me for any "lasting
damages". Interesting that Dave had told Eric Ayres of the
Times Leader that they would not longwall mine under the nearby
Dysart Woods and would only room and pillar. I still do not understand
why they did not go around the Historic James Kinney property by
using whatever they plan to do for the Dysart Woods that Dave said
"would never cave in." as he told the reporter.
Both Channel 7 and Channel 9 are running short news articles about
the plight of the James Kinney farm building complex, especially
the house being damaged. Coal company declares the damage as "insignificant".
None of their people are here to experience the sickening sound
of the 140 year old historic horsehair plaster falling from the
high ceilings to the floor, the timbers making groaning sounds and
the occasional pop of a brick inside the walls and the subsequent
opening of the wall plaster into a jagged crack that spreads from
the ceiling to the floor. The were not here when the house tilted
so much that doors stuck shut, opened mysteriously or were not aligned
with the door casing so they couldn't possibly close. There is no
privacy, people are everywhere, checking the cables three times
a day, checking the wells to see if the water is still there, unknown
visitors stopping off the highway to gawk at this once elegant house
that is all trussed up like a Christmas Turkey during this week
when most Americans are enjoying a house full of family, food and
Christmas good tidings. David Rucker of QES checked the water level
at the dug well at the barn and with a long face reported to me
that the level has gone down 2 feet since yesterday. The dug well
at the Kinney house is actually up! Water can be heard running into
it from the rain last night. What seems to be happening is that
the fracturing of rocks above the longwall have opened up cracks
farther up on the well wall and surface water is finding its way
into the well instead of the deeper strata that used to supply a
steady stream. David Simpson, structural engineer hired by OVCC
and Tim Hegedorn came to look at the house. After a long examination
he said it was "safe to stay in." which is what OVCC had
hired him to determine. He also stated that there would be more
subsidence damage and repair or restoration could not be done until
subsidence quits. I asked, "How long" He turned to Claude
Luke and asked him. Mr. Luke did not give an answer. Both the Times
Leader and the Wheeling News Register ran full color front page
articles about the damage to the historic home. I am getting phone
calls and people dropping in to ask me about the damage. All calls
and face to face contacts with me were quite adamant, saying that
the coal company should not have done this to such a historic place.
Most had believed that it would be averted at the last minute. I
am getting phone calls from all over Ohio. AP NewsWire press picked
up the Columbus Dispatch story and ran it all over the state and
West Virginia. Some folks I knew called and said they were surprised
to see me on their front page! Pendulums in the house are starting
to come back after going an inch and a half to the southwest. The
basement pendulums are not moving back in the same direction so
the house is coming down in a twisting motion. Not a good thing!
Pendulums in the main barn are coming back nicely, almost to starting
point. Not so good for the milk house which has gone over 2 inches
to the southwest and the thick concrete floor is cracked and heaved.
The inside door is wedged tight against the floor that has heaved
and the corner post is caved in. When I got back to the house basement
it was worse. The floor was heaved upward in the main hall and split
the step stone between rooms under the kitchen. There is evidence
that the heaved up part is forcing another section of basement floor
out of line with the door for the room under the Northwest living
Dr. Jeff Reichwein, Ph D state archaeologist, Mr. Kevin Ricks,
ODNR DMR field man came to take a tour of the damage to the structures.
They took many pictures and observed the damage which has been much
more severe than the coal company had predicted. Dr. Reichwein took
great interest in how the trenching was done around the house, summer
kitchen and barn. He was supposed to be notified when the contracted
archaeologists were here for the survey and later for the trenching.
He said the contractor employed was not registered with the state
prior to doing the work. He was dismayed at the process used by
them and the fact that he was not told when the digging was to be
going on. He said the artifacts found were not itemized and did
not enter the early 19th Century china pieces into the list. These
items were found within 50 feet of the original log house built
here in the late 1700's. I have not been privileged to see the results
of these coal company assigned archaeologists findings nor has Dr.
Reichwein seen them. The results of the "dig" or the Phase
2 investigation were to be sent to Dr. Reichwein and then the SHPO
office. They were to make an evaluation of the work to see if the
trenching would be permitted. Their report was to go to the chief
of DMR before mining. This report (not complete) was sent but arrived
after mining had caused damage to the James Kinney Farmstead building
complex. It seems that David Bartsch of OVCC had gone on vacation
before sending it. I also pointed out to them that not all of the
features listed on the National Register were included on the mitigation
plan. Dr. Reichwein explained the legality to me that ALL of the
features including the part of the farmstead mined under last June
are considered the JAMES KINNEY FARMSTEAD as it is part of the 57
acre tract reserved for special protection of Section 106 of the
Department of the Interior. Channel 9 ran a special call in poll.
They asked "should longwall mining be done under historic properties?"
The results were 82 % said no and 12% misguided souls voted yes.