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SCENES FROM STONECOAL CREEK


There's not much left of Lillybrook, WV. But at one time this was a big mining community with two mines. In 1930 eight men on the hoot owl shift died in an explosion of the Lillybrook No. 1 mine. The town died out through the 1960s. (November 1997 photo)

Jason writes, "My grandpa (Edgar M...) worked at the Lillybrook mine for a couple years, but his leg was crushed in an accident. My dad said there was a slate slide after an explosion, and the slate crushed his leg (sometime around 1940?) but he lived for quite some time after (1972). I have a picture of his mining crew and part of the tipple. He quit mining shortly therafter I believe."


A vintage picture of Lillybrook showing one of the company stores, one of the tipples, and part of the camp (1928 photo courtesy of W. Caldwell)


This collapsing church is indicative of the desolation and despair in Pickshin, WV today. But at one time the Pickshin Coal Co., and later the Mead Pocahontas Coal Co., had a coal mine here. A scant number of company built homes remain.(November 2004 photo)


Now defunct Stoco High School in Lego, WV. Stoco is a corruption of Stonecoal (November 1997 photo)


The coal mining camp at Lego. (September 2001 photo)


This coal camp is Besoco, which comes from Beckley Smokeless Coal Co. The Leccony Smokeless Coal Co. took over by the 1930s. As late as the 1960s, Vecillio and Grogan were strip mining there. (November 1997 photo)


Besoco coal camp in 1974. (Photo by Jack Corn, courtesty The U.S. National Archives)


Don writes that this store is up the hollow from Besoco in a place called Hick Hollow, named after his great grandfather, Hick Garretson. It operated under the name A. W. Price Mercantile Store. This area is also known as Josephine, and lately United Pocahontas has been mining coal at the Josephine No. 2 mine there. (November 1997 photo)


The mining camp of East Gulf was the domain of the C.H. Mead Coal Co. in the 1920s. By 1960, this coal processing plant had been constructed there, possibly by Winding Gulf Coals. (Courtesy VT ImageBase, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)


In this 1970s view of the East Gulf mine complex a large shop building or bath house is visable that is no longer there. (Photo by Jack Corn, courtesty The U.S. National Archives)


Additions were made to the East Gulf plant by later owner Westmoreland Coal Co. In the 1980s and 1990s owned by Maben Energy. It is shown here in the late 1990s when it was still active. The big cloud of steam is from a rare hydrothermal dryer. (November 1997 photo)


Left Fork Processing was rehabilitating the East Gulf plant in 2001, but it was idled in 2002. (November 2002 photo)


When the price of met coal was right, the East Gulf plant was processing coal at full throttle in 2005. Note the full N-S hopper cars waiting to be pulled to the Elmore train yard in Mullens. (June 2005 photo)


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