FLAT TOP-POCAHONTAS COALFIELD

The Flat Top-Pocahontas Coalfield contained some of the best coal in the world. A high BTU (~15,000) low volatile met coal is what this region is known for. This was the No. 1 coal producing field in the state after the decline of the New River Coalfield. Now this coal field is in decline.

The Flat Top-Pocahontas Coalfield consists of the coal mining region of eastern Mercer County, McDowell County upstream of Iaeger, and Pinnacle Creek and Indian Creek in Wyoming County. It also extends into Tazewell County, Virginia. This coal field was mainly the domain of the Norfolk & Western Railway. The main line of the Virginian passed through the eastern part of the field, also. Norfolk-Southern owns all of it today. They still maintain a large repair shop for their engines in Bluefield. Mining began in the 1880s around Bramwell (and nearby Pocahontas, VA), and really accelerated when the N & W built their "Ohio Division" from Bluefield to Kenova in the 1890s. A large number of European immigrants and African-Americans from the Deep South came to the area to work in the mines. U.S. Steel was a major player in this field until the 1980s, as was Eastern Associated Coal (Eastern Fuel and Gas). The region has seen a steep drop in population. In 1950, McDowell County had a population of about 98,000 people. It now has less than 20,000.


TOWNS AND SUB-REGIONS:


ASHLAND


BERWIND


BISHOP


CAPELS


CARETTA


CARSWELL


COALWOOD


COOPERS


CRUMPLER


DOTT


ELBERT (NO. 8)


ELKHORN


FILBERT (NO. 9)


FREEMAN


GARY (NO. 1,2,3)


GIATTO


GOODWILL


HIAWATHA


JENKINJONES


KEYSTONE


LANDGRAFF


MAITLAND


MAYBEURY


McCOMAS


PAGETON


REAM (NO. 6)


SUPERIOR


THORPE (NO. 4 & 5)


VENUS (NO. 10)


VIVIAN


YUKON


McDOWELL CO. MISC.


MERCER CO. MISC.


SOUTHERN WV COALFIELDS


APPALACHIAN COALFIELDS HOME

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