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McALPIN, WV

This was a sizeable coal town, built by the McAlpin Coal Co. in 1909-1910, replete with a theater and YMCA, the first one in the area. The founder of the McAlpin Coal Company was John Laing, who was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1865. Laing named the town and mine McAlpin after his mother's maiden name. Six miners died when the mine blew up in 1928. One of the last company stores to close was in McAlpin. When Westmoreland Coal Co. owned the mine, they operated the store into the 1970s. The mining was originally in the Beckley seam and later a slope mine in the Pocahontas No. 4 seam which eventually broke through to the Westmoreland East Gulf mine.


The McAlpin tipple was probably large and state of the art at the time. (Circa 1930 image from a Keystone Coal Mining Catalog)


One of the last company built houses remaining in McAlpin, and the only one in this row. (Jan. 2002 image by author)


Another part of the vanishing McAlpin coal camp. (Jan. 2004 image by author)


Possible machine shop or pump house. (May 2000 image by author)


These steps are all that's left of Mark Twain High School in McAlpin. There is a historical marker here today attesting to the fact that Senator Robert Byrd was valedictorian here in 1934. The school burned in the 1970s. (Nov. 1997 image by author)


McAlpin, once a town with over 150 homes, is reverting to a wilderness. (Nov. 1997 image by author)


Ruins of the McAlpin coal preparation complex. (Jan. 2004 image)


Remains of the aerial tramway on the mountain above McAlpin. (Sep. 2007 image courtesy Jeff Davis)


A lonely shop building at McAlpin. (Jan. 2004 image by author)


The company store at McAlpin - probably after it had closed. (Image by fotog 1)


This was an ad placed in the Beckley newspaper in 1977 when Westmoreland Coal Co. closed the McAlpin store (and their other stores). It appears that they were liquidating the contents of the defunct company stores.


(Apr. 2007 image by author)



April writes, "Here are some pictures taken in 1988 and 1992. They are of my great grandmothers house and of what was left of the mines. At that time the opening of the mines was left open and kids and teens used to go in there to 'goof-off' or people would drive down from whereever to go inside and get coal to heat their houses. My grandmother always worried about that. She was the last one left in that row of company houses. Those houses were actually built to house four families." April's photos are as follows:


Her great grandmother's coal camp house


Tipple ruins and now removed C&O (CSX) railroad


More ruins of the McAlpin mine


Westmoreland Coal Company signs


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