Calumet-Norvelt, Pennsylvania

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Calumet-Norvelt is a census-designated place (CDP) in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. Although the US Census treats Calumet and Norvelt as a single community, they are in reality two very different communities, each reflecting a different chapter in how the Great Depression affected rural Pennsylvanians. Calumet was a typical “patch town,” built by a single company to house its miners as cheaply as possible. The closing of the Calumet mine during the Great Depression caused enormous hardship in an era when unemployment compensation and welfare payments were nonexistent. On the other hand, Norvelt was created during the depression by the US federal government as a model community, intended to increase the standard of living of laid-off coal miners.



Calumet-Norvelt is an unincorporated community within Mount Pleasant Township. Calumet-Norvelt is located at 40°12′49″N 79°29′35″W / 40.21361°N 79.49306°W / 40.21361; -79.49306 (40.213730, -79.493121)[1]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.8 km²), all of it land.

History of Calumet

Calumet was founded by the Calumet Coke Company in 1888 as a housing site for its workers.[2] The community, as originally laid out, consisted of twenty double-houses, twelve single-family houses, and a few commercial and industrial buildings. The workers were employed in a coal mine and also tended ovens that produced coke (fuel). In 1894, Calumet was the site of a bitter coal miners’ strike against the H. C. Frick Coke Company, which at that time was part-owner of Calumet Coke Company.[2]

The coke works closed in the 1920s, and the mine closed in the early 1930s during the Great Depression, causing enormous hardship for the community’s workers.[2]

History of Norvelt

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