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KILSYTH, WV

This was a large coal camp on the edge of Mount Hope that was a constructed by McKell Coal and Coke Co. Coal mining here lasted until at least the 1940s. The New River Company owned the town and coal mine in it's final incarnation. The mine had two portals into the 48-66-inch Sewell seam, the second one known as "North Kilsyth". While many of the company houses have been destroyed, Kilsyth still features many original coal camp homes and a portion of the mine/railroad complex.


This vintage picture shows the tipple, powerhouse, shops, and company housing at Kilsyth when the mine was going full steam. (Image source lost)


These days a few mine shop buildings still stand behind the coal camp houses. The two large smokestacks actually don't come out of the shops, but are freestanding behind them. These buildings also played a part in the maintenance and repair of locomotives for the Kanawha, Glen Jean, and Eastern Railway. This was a short line railroad constructed by Thomas McKell, president of McKell Coal & Coke, and his son and heir apparent, William McKell, because they were dissatisfied with the service they had been receiving at their coal mines from the C&O railroad. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


William McKell, president of McKell Coal and Coke Company after the death of his father and founder Thomas McKell. After William died in 1940 the McKell coal mines and properties were sold to their crosstown rival New River Company. Part of the K,GJ, & E railroad was absorbed into the C&O, while some tracks and rolling stock were removed or scrapped. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


Side view of the former mine and railroad shop buildings. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


Detail on backside of shop building depicts ancient stonework. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


Another vintage view of Kilsyth shows a portion of the coal camp in the bottom land, the mine complex in the center background, and homes of company officials on the hill. Railroad tracks are visible on both sides of the valley. The one running through the mine complex is actually the main K,GJ,&E track heading up to mines at Tamroy and Oswald, while the track on the lower left of the picture leads to the Price Hill mine. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


The original coal tipple at Kilsyth; shop building in the background.


Engineering plan view of the original tipple.


Early photo of the company store at Kilsyth. Unfortunately this structure is no longer existing. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


Some of the company houses are still in existence. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


This row of houses is particularly authentic. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


Many people still call Kilsyth home. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


The title of this picture is "McKell Coal and Coke Company - Kilsyth, W.Va. - 1902." If true, then they didn't have a very fancy mine portal when the mine was new. Perhaps it was improved later. Smoke is coming from one of the miner's "sunshine lamp" on his hat. I'm not an animal expert, but that looks like a horse and not a mule. Other mines sometimes used oxen or even dogs. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)


This mine portal next to Kilsyth is actually not from the Kilsyth mine, but from the New River Company's Siltex coal mine. Note the large coal outcrop next to the portal. (Dec. 2005 image by author)


Photo of the Siltex drift portal before it was cleared of vegetation. Like Kilsyth, this was originally a McKell Coal & Coke mine. By the time it exploded in the 1960s, it was owned by the New River Co., which was fitting since their headquarters were just down the street. The Siltex mine operated until 1984, and was one of the last major operations of the New River Company, and probably the last mine in the Mount Hope area. (Feb. 2001 image by author)


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