The Hyde-Murphy Company
The Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company contracted with the Hyde-Murphy Company of Ridgway, Pennsylvania, for the construction of many company houses in a number of mining towns such as McIntyre, Lucerne, Iselin, Aultman, Waterman, Ernest, Coy, Tide, and probably most of those in other Company towns. This letterhead fragment to Lucius W. Robinson, the President of the Coal Company, contains the proposal for the building of homes in one of the towns. The letter indicates the cost of the four basic building plans offered: Plan A homes, $1,875 ; Plan B homes, $1000; Plan C homes, $775; and Plan D homes, $970. The least expensively built homes were, no doubt, to be used as rentals for the miners while the more expensive ones were for the mine managers and the town doctor. In many company towns, the homes of management personnel were usually segregated from those of the miners and were usually of better construction with more amenities.
The Hyde-Murphy Company was started in 1866 as the Ridgway Sash and Door Company. In addition to specializing in the building of company towns, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Company was known for the fine woodworking craftsmanship it provided to homes, schools, colleges, churches, and public buildings.
Included among the number of stately and well-known public buildings for which they provided paneling and other fine woodwork are: the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court, the Pentagon, and the Smithsonian Institute. Many older stately homes in Ridway, Pennsylvania, have interiors built by the Hyde-Murphy Company. Hyde-Murphy ceased operations in 1961.
Document: courtesy Archives Department, Rochester and Pittsburgh
Coal Company Records, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Richard H. Quin, Indiana County Pennsylvania: An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites
(Washington D.C.: National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1993), 11-12.