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HELEN, WV

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The Helen mine and coal camp were opened by the East Gulf Coal Company in the 1910s. Later the mine was operated by the Koppers Coal company, which evolved into Eastern Gas & Fuel - Coal Division, later Eastern Associated Coal Co. Their No. 9 mine at Helen was in the Pocahontas No. 3 seam of coal. Eastern Associated operated the Helen mine into the 1980s.

Charlie remembers, "Once the men were milling around arguing about whether to strike or go on to work and the superintendent stepped up on a mine car and told them to go on to work and argue afterward, as they already had on their mine clothes. A little Italian miner stepped up and said, 'To hell with the Super' and threw out his water from his dinner bucket. Immediately, 200 others threw their water out. That settled that. Incidentally, the Italian miner couldn't speak English so as to be understood but when he threw out his water - the miners understood that."


Helen was a big coal camp owned by the Koppers Coal Co., and many families still live there. It even has it's own telephone exchange. Unfortunately, the mine and related facilites have all been destroyed and reclaimed. (October 2004 image by author)


This is the first picture I ever took of Helen. (November 1997 image by author)


Winter turning into spring in Helen. (April 2001 image by author)


This type of house was for the miners, and it is the most prevalent in Helen. (October 2004 image by author)


These larger company houses were for the foreman. (October 2004 image by author)


A view of Foreman Bottom (also known as Big Shot Bottom) from the top of a refuse pile. Note the new railroad ties left along the track to replace rotten ones, which were marked for replacement with white paint on this day. (October 2004 image by author)


Another view of Foreman Bottom (October 2004 image by author)


Yet another form of housing in Helen is this apartment building, though whether it was built by the coal company or not is unclear. (March 2003 image by author)


Of course the nicest house in Helen is the superintendent's house. (October 2004 image by author)


A Protestant church in Helen. (October 2004 image by author)


Only the coal cellar remained of the company store when I took this picture. It has since been removed.(October 2004 image by author)


The old "No. 9" tipple at Helen, with an aerial tramway hauling refuse up the hill. The tram has spilled a lot of slate over the years, and there is smoke coming from it. The stream enclosure is collapsing. (Courtesy of "Tribute to the Coal Miner," used with permission)


This display in Helen, next to the Miners Memorial Park, features the names of deceased residents and miners from Helen. Also inside are dinner buckets, safety lanterns, and other mining memorabilia. This nice addition to the Helen camp was constructed by former miner and resident Lacy Blevins, and is "Dedicated to the coal miners who labored long and hard under very dangerous conditions." Maybe when you visit it there won't be morning condensation inside the plexi-glass, as is visable in this photo. (March 2010 image by author)


Fan and airshaft. Lintel reads Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates Coal Division - Helen Plant - Stotesbury No. 11 Mine. (July 2003 WV SHPO image by Jeff Davis)


Since this small building is sporting a concrete roof it must have been a dynamite storage. (July 2003 WV SHPO image by Jeff Davis)


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