Harry McCreary, a western Pennsylvania railroad and coal and coke industry
developer, was a pioneer in the automobile tire manufacturing industry and the founder of
the company operating today as Specialty Tires of America in Indiana.
McCreary was a native of Leechburg who went to work for Pennsylvania Railroad
Company at Huffs Scales, near Greensburg, as a young man in the 1880s. He soon
transitioned to the development of coke plants with businessman J.W. Moore in the
Connellsville area, and built two large coke plants for Moore — the Mammoth No. 1 and
Mammoth No. 2 plants — near Mount Pleasant.
McCreary developed a process of washing coal that is still in use today — a process
so successful that it enabled Moore to become a major owner of coal lands and coke
operations between Homer City and Blairsville. McCreary managed the company after
Moore’s death, later purchased the company, and had thousands of acres of coal land under
his control in the early 20th century.
McCreary sold the Moore company with 4,000 acres of adjoining coal lands to
Youngstown Steel Company. He then bought the Indiana Coal & Coke Company property
and later sold it with an additional 5,000 acres of coal to famed businessman Joseph
Wharton, of Philadelphia.
Finally, McCreary constructed the Josephine Furnace Company and sold it along with
another 5,000-acre coal field to Corrigan, McKinney & Co. of Cleveland. McCreary’s
experience and responsibilities in the coke business proved invaluable in developing Indiana
County’s coal and coke industries and its prosperity.
McCreary expanded his business interests to tire manufacturing, opened a factory in
1911 in Wooster, Ohio, then began building a plant in 1914 in Indiana. With McCreary and
11 other employees operating it, the factory first made tires in May 1915. His sons, Ralph W.
and Harry C. McCreary, followed as operators of McCreary Tire and Rubber Company.
In the Indiana community, McCreary was an active member of Zion Lutheran
Church, a secretary of the church council, a Bible class teacher and a generous contributor.
McCreary also was known for his enthusiastic and energetic support of the YMCA,
for starting a YMCA branch in Indiana County, for overseeing construction of its home in
what is now the Indiana Community Center, and for serving as president of the board.
Harry McCreary died August 16, 1930.