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RHODELL


Rhodell is the only incorporated town on Stonecoal Creek or Winding Gulf Creek. The original name of the town was Rhodesdale. There were two coal mines operating simultaneously on each end of Rhodell. The Francis mine at Rhodell was opened by the E.C. Minter Coal Co. in 1921, and the Rhodell Coal Co. opened the mine at the southern end of town, also known as Stonecoal Junction, in 1918.


"Downtown" Rhodell. (Feb. 2001 image by author)


The late Ms. Farrugia, a Sicilian immigrant, owned this store. She came to America around 1922, and I met her when she was still running this store in 1987, a very late date to still find a first generation immigrant to the WV coalfields. In the early 21st Century, one could still meet a few second generation sons and daughters of these immigrants at St. Francis de Sales Church in Beckley, but their numbers became smaller every year. Their childern and grandchildren have dispersed from the area, returning it to the Anglo-Scotch population that was there before the mines opened. (Dec. 1997 image by author)


On a return trip to Rhodell I found the little downtown section had became rather devastated over the years.


Coal camp houses in Rhodell, probably for the Francis mine. (Feb. 2001 image by author)


In 2014 I found many of these company houses still inhabited. (Dec. 2014 image by author)


The company houses at the other end of town, built by the Rhodell Coal Co., have not fared as well. (Dec. 2014 image by author)


A few of the houses at Stonecoal Junction are still inhabited. They are the same style of coal camp house as found on the north end of town. (Dec. 2014 image by author)


The last thing you will see as you leave town. (Dec. 2014 image by author)


Tunnel near Rhodell (Feb. 2001 image by author)


Coal miners in Rhodell in 1959. (Image courtesy of Perry Radford)


A church that is still active in Rhodell. (March 2010 image by author)


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