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SCENES FROM THE COAL RIVER DISTRICT

Conley combined the Coal River Field and the Kanawha Field into one big Kanawha Field, but many consider it to be a distinct coalfield in its own right. Though the Coal River District was opened up for large scale shipment much later, the same seams of coal - Coalburg, Eagle, Cedar Grove, Powellton, Winifrede - were mined in both areas, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway served the two districts as well. And in both areas some of these coal seams must have been considered metallurgical coal, because steel companies owned captive mines in the Main Kanawha Coalfield as well as the Coal River Coalfield. A few of these captive mines include Bethlehem Steel's mines on Cabin Creek and near Twilight, Armco Steel at Montcoal, Stickney, and Nellis (and Robinhood mine), and Republic Steel's mines at the headwaters of Cabin Creek.

See also Wharton, Clinton, and Barrett, W.Va. and Montcoal.


Coal camp houses once owned by the Coal River Collieries Co. in Rumble, Boone County, WV. (Image from Google Earth Street View)


The company store in Nellis, Boone County. This was a coal camp built by ARMCO Steel (American Rolling Mill Co.) in 1920. Eleven miners died when Nellis No. 3 mine blew up in 1943. Originally the mining was in the No. 2 Gas seam, and by the 1960s, the Cedar Grove Seam, although ARMCO closed their captive mine at Nellis in 1955. There were plans to locate a large, elaborate memorial at Nellis for miners who died in mine disasters. That didn't happen, but there is a small memorial there. (May 2001 image by author)


Pictured here is a small portion of the coal mining memorabilia on display at the Nellis Archives, located in the church beside Nellis Elementary School. It is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 until 3:00, and also Saturdays from 10:00 until 1:00. The phone number is 304-836-5159. (May 2010 image by author)


Housing built by the Detroit Mining Co. at Gordon, W.Va. Detroit Mining closed their Boone County coal mines in 1945. (Jan. 2016 image by author)


I wish I could remember where I got this picture of the abandoned coal tipple at Cameo, WV in northern Boone County. This photo was obviously taken after the mine had closed - perhaps in the 1980s. But at one time Cameo Splint Coal Company had an entire coal camp (with store) here. Nearby were other coal company towns named Morrisvale, Breece, and Ivaton - the only coal company town ever built in Lincoln County. (Image source forgotten)


Same thing with this picture as above - I can't remember where I got this picture. This was the Royal Block Mining Company store at Morrisvale. (Image source forgotten)


Coal camp of Prenter, made famous by Jesco White. The Red Parott Coal Co. mined here for many years, and Prenter is one of the few original coal camps that still has a working coal mine. That is the Big Mountain mine owned by Pine Mountain Coal Co., a subsidiary of Patriot Coal. Patriot idled the mine in 2012. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


A few more company houses at Prenter. The green one, particularly, is still in somewhat original condition. The Red Parrott company store in Prenter was torn down in the late 1980's or early 1990's, according to town historian Sandy Jones. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


These larger homes in Prenter must have been for foremen or bosses. The one at the right has been completely remodled. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


1924 view of Vermillion Coal Company's tipple and coal camp at Orgas, WV. (Image courtesy of the Nellis Archives)


I love these concrete coaling towers that the railroads installed at their train yards for steam locomotives. This one is at the former C&O Elk Run Junction Yard, along the Coal River in Boone County. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


Abadoned coal camp house, probably built by Anchor Coal Co., in High Coal, WV. This town, just down the hill from the Seng Creek Tunnel, has almost totally returned to nature. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


Ruins of the coal mine that used to be at Garrison. The Webb Coal Mining Co. extracted coal at Garrison from 1911 to 1953. (Circa 1980s State Historical Preservation Office image)


Probably a coal bin or silo at Garrison. (Circa 1980s State Historic Preservation Office image0


A coal camp house in Dorothy that is in more or less original condition. First opened by Four States Coal & Coke Company, the C&O Railroad later owned Dorothy, Raleigh County, and the miners there had plenty of room to move around in the 11-12 foot Dorothy seam. In later years, Coal River Mining Co. harvested the Powellton seam at Dorothy. In the 21st Century, Dorothy is just a quiet country town. (May 2001 image by author)


Four States Coal & Coke's Sarita Mine, opened in 1913, was a sister mine/camp to Dorothy. (Pittsburg-Buffalo [sic] Company image via Google Books)


At one time there were enough kids in Dorothy, Leevale, Colcord, Ameagle, and Clear Creek to warrant a high school. By the time this photo was taken this was no longer the case, and now even the building is gone. (Jan. 1997 Library of Congress image by Mary Hufford)


The coal preparation facility that used to be at Stickney, Raleigh County. The owners of the Stickney Mine were ARMCO Steel. (Image courtesy of "Raleigh County - A Century of Pictures," with permission).


Abandoned coal cars sitting near an old mine site near Edwight. (Image courtesy Jeff Davis)


I wondered why this old general store in Naoma had closed, because there were still several large Massey mines in the surrounding area. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


A "box cut" for mine portals off of Route 85 in Boone County. (Image by author)


And now something for the train buffs - the C&O Danville yard. (Sep. 2001 image by author)


Strip mine highwalls at the southern edge of the field, on Kopperston Mountain. On the Raleigh County side of the mountian it is called Bolt Mountain. (Dec. 2000 image by author)


1970s view of the coal mining town of Clothier, WV on the Logan/Boone County border. The town was probably built by the Boone County Coal Corporation, but is best remembered as one of the headquarters of Westmoreland Coal Company from the 1950s through the 1980s. (Photo by Jack Corn, courtesty The U.S. National Archives)


This portal to the defunct Ferrell No. 17 Mine of Westmoreland Coal Company was once sealed, and then partially repoened. A tragic explosion in this mine on Noveber 7, 1980 resulted in the death of five coal miners. (Image by others)


Postcard from Glogora Coal Company's Blue Pennant coal mine near Whitesville, WV. Another part of this hollow went by the name Red Dragon. (Image courtesy cincinnativiews.net)


What was left of the tipple at Blue Pennant in 1987. (Image courtesy of tidester66 at picturetrail.com)


Remaining hoist house and water tank support tower at Ameagle, WV. American Eagle Colliery Co. (hence the community's name) started mining coal at Ameagle in 1920. (Dec. 2006 image by author)


Coal mine portal near Ameagle. (Oct. 2007 WVDEP AML Progam image)


At the eastern end of the small community of Van, WV can still be found a small coal camp built by the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company. Here is a photo of the Y&O tipple and power house being constructed. The photo was contributed by "Jim from Bim" and he writes, "Y&O tipple was a major operation with it's own power plant. The cleaning process was called 'sand' flotation." (Image courtesy of Jim)


"Jim from Bim" also contributed this photo of another tipple that used to be located at Van, WV. About this one Jim writes, "Here is a photo of Sid Brooks standing on the Finnamore Tipple. My guess is that Finnamore Tipple dates 1918. Master carpenter Chap Brooks contracted to erect this tipple for Finnamore Bros. The pieces were on a flat car and he hired locals to help. Some were my grandmother Carrie's brothers, another tragic story. Anyway, as the tipple started to go up it was apparent that Chap's crew was afraid of heights. His son Sid was all of about 14 years old, and they needed someone to bolt the uprights together as the tipple went up. Sid was fearless and he is in a lot of my pictures up high. The pics were taken by his older sister Oma. She redeemed her father's tobacco stamps for a camera and took a picture album of scenes of Pond Fork's industrial development. In the pic you can see a sheave block suspended on a rope anchored on both sides of the mountain. You are correct about the site, the little hill south of Van on Rt 85 is called Finnamore Hill. The tipple was on the North side of Van Park across the river. Also the Finnamore Tipple used two buckets that carried the coal from the drift. The full one carried the empty back up. While Sid was fearless where heights were concerned, he worked one shift as a carpenter underground building trap doors, got spooked and ran into a header and nearly knocked himself out. I have the hat upstairs. One of the Finnamore Bros was killed in a slate fall and the other brother lost heart and it fizzled out." (Image courtesy of Jim)


Inside the Y&O Coal Company store at Van, W.Va. in the 1950s. As you can see they even sold televisions and washing machines. (Image by others)


Coal company houses built by the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Co. (aka Y&O) in Van, W.Va. Y&O's first mines in the area opened in 1921, and their last one closed in 1967. Their coal camp is shown here along the railroad track in the shadow of the mountains where the sun is not yet shining. Red arrows in the background point to smoke from a coal mine fire. Railroad used to serve big coal mines like Robin Hood, Gordon, and Eagle Energy. (Feb. 2002 image by author)


I was surprised to revisit the Van, W.Va. area on New Years Day 2016 and find that the coal seam fire had spread through so much of Williams Mountain. Here's a picture I took showing smoke on the mountain coming out of the coal seam. You can see these fires all along the West Fork of Coal River. (Jan. 2016 image by author)


This big old coal prep plant near Bandytown, W.Va. was built in the early 1970s by Bethlehem Mines Corp., a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel. The plant was part of their Eagles Nest mine complex. Later Massey Coal ran it under the name Eagle Energy. (Jan. 2016 image by author)


A thermal coal dryer at the former Eagles Nest plant. (Jan. 2016 image by author)


Sealed up portal from Bethlehem Mining's Eagles Nest Mine. This was a portal for coal. The sealed up man portal is also close by. The mine was probably named for the Eagle coal seam, which is of a metalurgical nature in this vicinity. (Jan. 2016 image by author)


This was once a church turned into a union hall. Red arrow shows UMWA Local 8377 painted on the front. This was a local for the Armco Steel (later Peabody) Robinhood Mine, and later Pine Mountain Coal Co. Photo captures the despair of the once-mighty union in southern W.Va. (Jan. 2016 image by author)


This small structure near Blair, W.Va. was once part of a coal mine air shaft. (2004 WV State Historic Preservation Office image)


(MSHA image)


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