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THOMAS & COKETON, WV

Thomas was is a small commercial town, but part of it was a Davis Coal & Coke Company private town. Thomas merges into Coketon, which was completely a coal company town, and I don't know exactly where one ends and the other begins.


1890s view of coal mining operations of the Davis Coal & Coke Company in Thomas, WV. In the background can be seen the company houses. In the foreground there is a headframe, power plant, tipple, and various shop buildings. There were over 500 beehive coke ovens burning here, also. (Image source forgotten)


This painted brick building is one of the few remnants of the coal mining complex shown above. Of course the yellow paint is not original. (December 2005 image by author)


Also, this building and dam across the Blackwater River are still at the site of the Thomas tipple. It is possible they were constructed by the Davis Coal and Coke Co. (December 2005 image by author)


Old photo of the Thomas tipple. (Coal Age or The Black Diamond?)


Tipple and coke ovens at Coketon, WV, another property of Davis Coal & Coke Co. This and the first picture are from a reprint of an 1899 book titled "West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway Company."


Today many coke oven ruins remain between Thomas and Douglas, along the old railroad right-of-way (now a rail trail). The ovens pictured here are in the best condition of all of the ovens I saw in the area. Basically, all of the coke ovens in the Thomas area are in poor condition, and none of them have their "fronts" or "doors" on them, only partials of the beehive. (December 2005 image by author)


These foundations in Coketon are probably from one of the tipples or coal processing facilities. I could find very little remains of coal heritage in the area. All of the power houses fan houses, and bath houses have evidently been removed. Overall, the effort to preserve the coal heritage of the area has been very poor. In Pierce, William, and Benbush all that is left is the grasslands of abandoned mine lands, and the search for historical resources in these former coal camps tends to lead to disappointment. (December 2005 image by author)


One of the best preserved pieces of coal heritage in the Upper Potomac Coalfield is the Buxton and Landstreet company store between Thomas and Coketon. Buxton and Landstreet was the retail arm of Davis Coal & Coke co. (December 2005 image by author)


Frontal view of the Thomas company store, which now houses an establishment that sells items made by WV artisans. However, the interior of the store retains much of the original elements, such as glossy white brick on the walls, beautiful hardwood floors, and the white industrial ceilings. (December 2005 image by author)


Detail over the doorway illustrates the wealth that the Davis Coal & Coke Co./Buxton & Landstreet Co. possessed. Plaques say "A.D." and "1900." (December 2005 image by author)


In this picture the company store is on the left, in the center background are a few company houses, and to the right is the Davis Coal & Coke administrative and engineering building. (December 2005 image by author)


This duplex coal camp house in Coketon, WV shows the style preferred by the Davis Coal & Coke Co. in the Thomas area. (December 2005 image by author)


A few of the company-built houses in Thomas. (December 2005 image by author)


Another group of coal camp duplexes in Thomas, showing the various changes and additions made to them since being sold by the coal company to individuals. (December 2005 image by author)


This unique residential duplex structure was built by the coal company in the downtown section of Thomas, away from the main coal camp section of the town. There are no others like it, and no one seems to know for sure who the company constructed it for. My guess is some kind of company official or visiting dignitaries. (December 2005 image by author)


Not all of Thomas was a coal camp. Pictured here is part of the downtown section that still has some life left in it. One can imagine how on a Saturday night in the 1910's it probably bore a resemblance to Dodge City. And not all of the houses in Thomas were built by Davis Coal & Coke. Evidently, much of the town burned in 1906 but was rebuilt. (December 2005 image by author)

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