CENTURY NO. 1 & NO. 2

The Century Coal Company built two mines and coal camps in southern Barbour County, WV and named them Century No. 1 (a shaft mine) and Century No. 2 (a slope mine). Apparently Century No. 2 was constructed later. An article in a 1918 issue of The Black Diamond stated that coal was first shipped from the Century mines in 1897, but state mining records don't show Century Coal Company mining coal before 1916. The magazine also wrote about how Redstone seam coal was mined at Century (~14,800 BTU); how there was also Pittsburgh coal on the lease; that the daily capacity was 3,000 tons; that there were six electric locomotives and electric underground mining equipment; and the 30+ horses and mules used in the mines. Coal was shipped to market on a spur built by the B&O Railroad. Later, from the 1950's through the 1970's, the Century mines were owned and operated by Bethlehem Mines Corp., a coal mining subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel. In the early 2000's the mine complex at Century No. 1 was idle, but coal mining activity at Century No. 2 was observed at that time.


The original Century tipple, head frame, and power house. (Image from The Black Diamond via Google Books)


Here is how the abandoned coal preparation plant complex at Century No. 1 looked in 2002. I wonder if parts of the original tipple can be found inside this prep plant. (April 2002 image by author)


Century, WV coal camp, showing company built houses. (April 2002 image by author)


Company housing on the hillside behind the UMWA hall. (April 2002 image by author)


Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church was probably built for all of the Italian, Polish, and Slovak immigrants in the Century, WV coal camp. This parish is now defunct. (April 2002 image by author)


Century No. 1 coal mine and company town as it looked in the 1910's. (Image from The Black Diamond via Google Books)


Pete emailed in this photo of the truck dump at Century and writes, "This is something that most people miss at this site. There is a truck unloading tipple at the one end. There is a steel retaining wall but if you take a close look the wall was constructed using the 'old' steel mine cars stacked up. I estimate at least 60-70 cars were used." (Photo courtesy of Pete and Mike)


Detail of the retaining wall consisting of old mine cars (Photo courtesy of Pete and Mike)


This was the Century No. 2 tipple. (Image from The Black Diamond via Google Books)


A 1918 article in The Black Diamond states that the Century, WV company town served both No. 1 and No. 2 mines. But the coal company also built these houses at Century No. 2. Perhaps they were constructed after the article was written. If I remember correctly, the green sign along the road near here reads, "Century No. 2 - Unincorporated." (Image by others)

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