WINDING GULF FIELD

Minining in this field began between 1906 and 1909. This was low-volatile "smokeless" coal, including high quality metalurgical coal and a suitable steam coal for marine applications. The most important seam initially was the Beckley seam. The dominant companies in the field during this time were Pemberton Coal and Coke, C.H. Mead Coal Co., Gulf Smokeless Coal Co., and E.E. White Coal Co. There were many European immigrants in this field, with Italians being the most numerous, followed by Polish. The principal railroad was the Virginian, although the C&O also had a presence to Lester and Stonecoal Junction. The C&O never penetrated Wyoming County, however. (CSX removed the C&O track along Winding Gulf Creek in 1997. N&S now owns the Virginian track.)

The next era in the Winding Gulf Field began in the 1950s and '60s with the formation of Winding Gulf Coals. Their mines were later owned by Westmoreland Coal Co., who, along with Eastern Associated Coal Co., was the dominant company in the field during this later period. Since the Beckley seam was nearly exhausted, the companies had by then moved down into the Pocahontas No. 3 and 4 seams. This era of mining in the Winding Gulf Field lasted into the late 1980s.

In 2009, Anker Energy's Baylor Mine at Surveyor has closed, White Mountain Mining's attempt to reopen the Stotesbury mine has ended, and the surface mine overlooking Tams has also closed. That leaves the I.C.G. Beckley mine at Eccles; the Creekside Energy mine at Hotchkiss; the Josephine/Tommy Creek/East Gulf complex of United Pocahontas, and their Affinity operations, too as the last active coal operations in the Winding Gulf Coal Field.


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