“Coal mining and accompanying industries became the major source of employment and local revenue during the later half of the nineteenth century. It brought a great deal wealth to the Fayette county region. This prosperity, however, remained restricted to the wealthy elite. Many Italian and Slovak immigrants worked in the coal mines and coke ovens in a state of poverty.
When the demand for coke around the turn of the century pushed many other emerging industries out, the city along with Fayette County became almost entirely dependent on both coal and coke. When better heating processes were developed, Connellsville’s coke was no longer needed and the industry went bust — along with the economy of Fayette County.”