Welch, WV is the largest city in and county seat of McDowell County. (Apr. 2006 image by author)

These men in Eastern Coal Sales's coal mine at Premier, WV are bringing a trip of loaded cars to the headhouse or tipple. (August 1944 image courtesy VT ImageBase, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

This tipple at Premier belonged to Royalty Smokeless Coal Co. I remember seeing it from a car in November 1999 and January 2000. I figured I would go back and get a picture of it soon, but the next time I went back it was gone. (Feb. 1991 State Historic Preservation Office image)

These coal camp houses along Route 52 in Switchback sit behind cut stone walls that were probably built by Italian stone masons. The black arrow points to a remaining "coal house," where the company would deposit the coal that the families in the company houses would use to heat and cook with. (April 2014 image by author)

Another "coal house" in front of a company house at Switchback. (April 2014 image by author)

This lady is packing her husband's dinner bucket before he goes to his shift at the mine. Photo taken at Pando Coal Company's Mohegan coal camp. Not long after this photo was taken, Pando closed the Mohegan mine. An earlier (1924-1931) operator of the Mohegan mine was Monarch Smokeless Coal Co.(1940's image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)

Ruins of the Peerless Coal and Coke Company store in Vivian, WV. Peerless mined coal here off and on from 1898 until the 1950's. But there was another company operating simultaneously at Vivian: Bottom Creek Coal & Coke Co. Bottom Creek's mine was open from 1898 until 1926. (April 2006 image by author)

A closer view of the company store in Vivian. Its a shame that some people chose to damage the structure instead of preserving it as a community center - a lost opporunity to create a source of pride and heritage for the community. (April 2006 image)

Coal camp of Coalwood, domain of the Carter Coal Co. and, later, Olga Coal Co.. The No. 2 mine was a drift into the Sewell seam, as was the Nora mine, and the No. 1 was a shaft down into Pocahontas No. 4. For more Coalwood click here.(Nov. 2001 image by author)

The coal town of Six, WV is down the road from Coalwood. This was another Carter Coal Co. mine and camp. (Jan. 2017 image by author)

Val contributes this 1915 photo and writes, "Must have been a Sunday, too dressed up too work, shoes shined. Elbert E. Newman 23 on left. His brother AJ Newman 33 on the right. Boy in middle Rupert Burton Davis 14, Elbert's brother-in-law all from Carroll Co. VA. Elbert's brother Samuel's body was found on a burning slag pit in 1905 at 'Six' in Carreta, WV. The mines were part of the young men of VA's early days, and for some not their life long profession. These 3 all came from Virginia farming families. All returned to Virginia. Elbert went on to be a carpenter/building contractor, Rupert a wagon builder, and AJ a train engineer." Val credits the photo to Elbert Newman's daughter, Thelma Ardythe Newman.

View from Southern Coal Corporation's coal camp at Bradshaw. I think this photo says it all about Appalachian coal town life in the 1940's. You have the wash tubs hanging on the house; the outhouses; pile of house coal (lower left); and the tipple at the bottom of the hill. Southern Coal would close this mine in 1950. (1940's image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)

Another picture of the Southern Coal Corporation company town at Bradshaw. Did these people ever get used to living that close to the train? In the summer, with the windows open, the screeching wheels, rattling couplings, and horns would have been constant sounds coming right into the house. (1940's image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)

Wash day at Bradshaw. Must have been a Monday. (1940's image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)

One of the last wooden company stores in WV was this one in Maybeury. Allowed to fall into ruin, it has been demolished.(Mar. 2005 image by author)

Tipple foundations near Maybeury. (Nov. 2000 image by author)

Last vestiges of Yukon Pocahontas Coal Company's coal camp at Yukon, WV. (Nov. 1999 image by author)

Venilated tunnel near Elkhorn, WV is appropriately named the Elkhorn Tunnel. It is over 7000 feet long, and replaced an earlier Elkhorn Tunnel from an earlier alignment of the N&W Railway. Built in 1949-50 by the Sturm & Dillard Construction Company from Ohio, the tunnel still sports the ventilation fans for steam trains, which was turned off for the last time in 1961. (Nov. 2000 image by author)

Dilapidated tipple as viewed from across Dry Fork (Nov. 1999 image by author)

A closer view of the same tipple shows it's wood framed construction. (Oct. 2005 image by author)

Detail of a collapsing bin on the tipple along Dry Fork. Despite efforts of the Coal Heritage Authority to save it, the structure has been razed. (Oct. 2005 image by author)

An old McNally washer and other equipment in the same tipple. (May 2003 image courtesy of John Sadowski)

Upland, WV coal camp. (Mar. 2004 image by author)

This little coal town on the outskirts of Anawalt was known as O'Toole, and also Lila. Some of the people living in these houses might have also worked in Southern Pocahontas Coal Company's Laura Jean Mine. (April 2006 image by author)

Downtown Northfork, where companies such as Fortune Hunter Coal Co. and Elk Ridge Coal Co. have mined. Northfork is not a coal camp, but rather a commercial center for the surrounding coal towns. Howver, there were coal company houses at the edges of town. (Nov. 2000 image by author)

Looking at Northfork today, it boggles the mind that there was once a Cadillac dealership there. (Feb. 2017 image by author)

Downtown Northfork in its heyday. Note the overhead structure suspending wires for electric trains; the streamliner coming down the track; and the railroad right up to the stores' front doors. (1940's image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)

Ancient post card of a tipple at Northfork, WV. (Image courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives)

Large houses built Arlington Coal & Coke Co. still in existence at McDowell, WV. (April 2014 image by author)

A little country church in McDowell. This community was not only in McDowell County, but was also named McDowell. (April 2014 image by author)

The African-American Soldiers Memorial in Kimball has been restored since this picture was taken of it. (Nov. 2000 image by author)

When I saw the Greek lettering on the sign of this store in Kimball, I had to go in it. I thought it was interesting to find a Greek immigrant lady and her daughter running the store and deli, and actually selling a few greek foods. I thought, "How amazing it is to still find a bit of the immigrant culture in McDowell County after all these years." McDowell County was teeming with immigrants from Greece, Poland, Russia, Italy, and Hungary in the 1910's and 20's. (Mar. 2004 image by author)

Update - While passing through Kimball in 2017 I stopped again at Ya'sou Restaurant. I had a delicious gyro and Greek salad. If I lived in Kimball I would eat there once a week.

Classes at this old school in Eckman, W.Va. are no longer in session. (Feb. 2017 image by author)

Coke ovens in blast at Eckman during the 1920s (Image contributed by Buddy)

Scant remains of coke ovens near Maybeury (2002 image courtesy of Mick Vest)

A few of the remaining coal company-built homes in Twin Branch, WV. Many people have seen the photo of boarded up houses at Twin Branch from when Henry Ford operated the Twin Branch mines. Rather than let his coal company, Fordson Coal Company, let the UMWA union in, he closed the mine and boarded up the company houses. (Henry Ford also owned mines in Nuttallburg, WV and Stone, KY) Later the Twin Branch mines were operated by Bigelow and Brooks Collieries Company. (Image by others)

Coal mining in McDowell County continues into the 21st Century, although at a reduced scale. Here's a shot of the train loading at the Virginia Crews mine. (2001 image by others)

Downtown Leckie, WV, where Col. Leckie's West Virginia Pocahontas Coal Co. operated the mine. (Apr. 2006 image by author)

Red brick company-built houses in Kingston-Pocahontas Coal Company's Hemphill coal camp. This is one of the few coal camps I have found in Southern West Virginia that has brick company houses. (Feb. 2005 image by author)

The preparation plant at Beartown, WV was built by Island Creek Coal Company in 1951. It has been demolished since this picture was taken. (Nov. 1999 image by author)

An old tipple, probably dating from the 1940s or 1950s, is between Pageton and Gary. It was probably built by Nassau Coal Co., which opened a nearby mine in 1948 and operated it until 1966. (Apr. 2006 image by author)

Old underground coal car sitting around on the hill above the Nassau tipple. (Sept. 1996 WV SHPO image)

No one was mowing the lawns around these coal company houses at Exeter in the 40's. Perhaps the mine was closed by then, the company had stopped maintaining the town, and the woman on the porch and boy in the road were just hanging on. (1940's image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)

The tipple that used to exist at Crumpler, WV. It was operated by the United Pocahontas Coal Co.(Circa 1980 image courtesy of Russell Tilley and pocahontascoalfields.com)

Another picture at Crumpler from Russell Tilley which he describes as "Empty coal car yard and my grandparents house at the end of the yard with the mine car bridge crossing overhead of tracks." (Circa 1970's image courtesy of Russell Tilley and pocahontascoalfields.com)

Reenactment of the assassination of Sid Hatfield and Ed Chambers by Baldwin-Felts detectives on the McDowell County courthouse steps; the very spot where the murder took place on Aug. 1, 1921. This was to promote Jean Battlo's drama "The Terror of the Tug." In 1920 Hatfield had stood up to the Baldwin-Felts mine guards in defence of local miners at Matewan in Mingo County, where he was the Police Chief, culminating in a shootout in which Albert & Lee Felts, five other mine guards, and the mayor of Matewan (Cabell Testerman). A year later, when Hatfield and his friend had to go to the courthouse in Welch, the Baldwin-Felts extracted their revenge. (August 2007 image by author)

Rolfe, WV coal camp. (April 2014 image by author)

A few remaining coal company homes at English, W.Va. (Image by Bob Bellamy)

Cucumber, W.Va. (Image courtesy of Alan "Cathead" Johnston)

Former offices of the Pulaski Iron Co. at Eckman, W.Va. Pulaski Iron mined coal in McDowell County from 1897 to 1945. (Image courtesy of Alan "Cathead" Johnston)

Trestle remaining from the rail spur to the Angle Mine. Pocahontas Fuel Co. closed the Angle Mine in 1958. (2009 WVDEP AML Program image)

Amonate prep plant that cleaned the coal for Consolidation Coal Company's Mine No. 31. (Jan. 2017 image by author)

Another view of the Amonate coal processing complex. The Amonate coal camp is just over the state line in Virginia. (Jan. 2017 image by author)

Maybeury, W.Va. (Feb. 2017 image by author)



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