HOME>SOUTHERN WV>GREENBRIER COALFIELD>QUINWOOD

QUINWOOD

www.addlikebutton.net

Quinwood was founded in 1919 by Quin Morton and Walter Wood, hence Quinwood. Their company was Imperial Smokeless Coal Co. In 1947, Quinwood became one of the few coal camps to be incorporated. Also in the mid 1940's Imperial Smokeless also opened the Quinwood No. 2 and No. 3 mines just over the line in Nicholas County. Both mines were in the Sewell seam of coal. In 1949 No. 1 Mine gave up the ghost. Coal was mined in No. 3 Mine until 1958, and No. 2 Mine until 1971. After 1971 Westmoreland Coal Co. owned and operated Quinwood No. 2 mine, closing it in 1982. Later the Nicholas County end of the No. 2 mine area was redeveloped by Westmoreland as their "Lady H" mining operation. AT Massey later purchased this from Westmoreland, and operated it into the 21st Century.


An old tipple at Quinwood, but not the one belonging to Imperial Smokeless. One resident of the area told me this tipple belonged to the mayor of Rainelle. Another said it was owned by John Brown Harris. (March 2002 image by author)


The coal camp section of Quinwood is fairly well maintained, but lacking historical integrity. (March 2002 image by author)


These old buildings at Quinwood have housed, among other things, a shoe store and a restaurant. (April 2001 image by author)


Mick contributed this picture of the now demolished company store at Quinwood. It was the white part of the building. (Image courtesy of Mick Vest)


Westmoreland Coal kept their Quinwood store open into the mid-1970's, making it one of the last coal company stores to close. Here's an ad they put in the newspaper in 1977 after they closed their stores and were getting rid of store hardware and supplies. (Image by others)


Bill sent this picture of the Miners' Memorial park in Quinwood. He writes, "The memorial is on the same spot where the company store used to stand. As you can see I tried to take the picture where Mick Vest stood to show you the differences then and now." (2008 image by Bill Richmond)


A closer look at the Miners' Memorial, again by Bill Richmond. For an even closer look at one of the monuments click here. (2008 image by Bill Richmond)


Bill Richmond photographed another mining memorial in Quinwood that reads, "Memorialization of coal miners from Quinwood and surrounding areas who took coal from these mountains and hauled it throughout this great land." (2008 image by Bill Richmond)


The last photo by Bill Richmond is of the Hill Top Restaurant, which he describes as "One of few popular places left in Quinwood with some of the best hot dogs around!" (2008 image by Bill Richmond)


While the late Dennis Deitz's book "The Layland Mine Explosion" does indeed contain an account of the disaster at Layland, another section of the book contains Deitz's first-hand account of vintage coal mining at Quinwood, some of which I will excerpt here:

"The mine was operated by the Imperial Smokeless Coal Company of Boston, Massachusetts ... The miners used #4 short handled shovels ... The height of the coal was five to six feet and was cut about twelve feet wide. The mine was laid out much like a city, with streets built at right angles to each other. Each block was about 200 feet square and was called a pillar, which was a block of unmined coal. These pillars of coal throughout the mine kept the top from falling in. They were the last areas of coal to be mined, and the operation was called pulling pillars ... Mine rails were laid beside these pillars of coal. A series of mine cars could be run along side them and loaded at the same time.

"A cutting machine running on the track could cut under this block of coal. 'Pulling pillars' was the best paying area to load coal, and also the most scary and dangerous. As the pillars were removed, wooden posts were placed in the empty area where the pillars had been removed. The wooden posts would have wooden wedges driven above the posts to tighten them solidly into place. These posts with wedges would protect the miners on one side from the remaining unmined block of coal. On the other side they were protected by this forest of wooden posts. It was only a matter of time until these wooden posts buckled under the weight of the mountain they were holding up. It might fall after one or two coal pillars had been removed, or maybe only after a dozen or so have been removed. In the latter case, it was a scary looking and sounding area. The only light would be the small miners' carbide lights attached to their caps. There would be this huge area of total blackness. The sound of the cracking and popping of the posts came out of the darkness as the posts were buckling under the weight of the mountain.

"Pulling pillars was done by the most careful, experience miners who had developed an uncanny sense from the sounds of the cracking posts when it was no longer safe, and it was time to get out."

That is only a small section of Deitz's section regarding his experience as a coal miner at Quinwood. The rest of his story is great, but the book is rare and out of print.


To corroborate Mr. Deitz's story here is a map showing a small part of the Quinwood mine, illustrating how the mine was "laid out much like a city." I don't think the pillars are as square as he remembered them, though. The shaded pillars indicate pillars that have been "pulled" or "robbed" (a.k.a. "retreat mining"). (Image courtesy of WV Geological & Economic Survey's Coal Bed Mapping program)


John B. writes, "I have one question that you might be able to help me with. I have a piece of coal scrip from the IMPERIAL SMOKELESS COAL CO. that the token maker shipped to McClungs, WV however Quinnwood, WV is on the token. I found the coal company listed in an old 1921 Dun & Bradstreet book at McClungs, WV, but the next year the town was gone and the coal company was now listed at Quinnwood, WV along with 3 merchants with the last name McClung. The question - Do you know if McClungs was an early name for Quinnwood and thus they were the same place?"

Loretta S. writes, "I came across this question that you have about McClungs, WV. I work with a lady who is decendant of the McClungs, WV family. There was indeed a post office and school. It was in the area we know as Bingham and I may not have spelled that right. She has old postcards with the McClung, WV address on it. The McClung farm was sold to the coal operator named John Brown Harris and I believe the home, the little school house and possibly the cemetery was dozed over."


SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA COALFIELDS


APPALACHIAN COALFIELDS HOME

History of coal mining. History of West Virginia. History of Greenbrier County West Virginia. History of Fayette County West Virginia. History of Nicholas County. History of Rainelle WV. Sewell Coal Seam. Historic Pictures. Historic Photographs. Historic books. Historic Maps. Richwood History. Beckley history publications. History. West Virginia immigrants. Appalachian music. Appalachian culture. West Virginia tourism. Historic architecture. Historic buildings. Historic towns. Organized labor. Unions. United Mine workers. Archives.