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NUTTALLBURG

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Nuttallburg was a mining camp built around 1880 by John Nuttall. The Nuttall family sold the mine and town to Henry Ford in 1920, who then ran the operation under the name Fordson Coal Company. The last operator of the Nuttallburg mine was the Maryland New River Coal Co. They closed the mine around 1950, though a few contractors tried to keep the mine open until around 1952. The post office, opened in 1893, closed in 1955, and the train depot in 1962. The town was abandoned shortly thereafter.



This fire hydrant, and some stone foundations, are the only evidence that there was once a coal camp at Nuttallburg. (Nov. 2001 photo)


The Nuttallburg tipple as viewed from across the New River (March 2007 photo)


View of the tipple from the railroad. The taller portion of the tipple was a bin to store any excess coal production until it could be shipped. (Nov. 2001 photo)


Another perspective of the tipple. It was built in the early 1920s, and there is a lot of wood construction in it. Two booms for loading coal into the train are still there. (Nov. 2001 photo)


Buttons dangling from the button line, which predates the conveyor belt. It comes out of the back of the tipple and runs up the mountain to the headhouse. (Nov. 2001 photo)


Looking at the bottom of the button line going down the mountain (Nov. 2001 photo)


Where the button line comes out of the headhouse up on the mountainside. (Nov. 2001 photo)


Detail of textures and materials at the head house. (October 2014 image by author)


Button line conveyor running down the mountain away from the head house. (October 2014 image by author)


View of the hoisting gear that operated the incline, with the head house in the background.(October 2014 image by author)


An ad for a "rope and button conveyor" in a 1924 issue of Coal Age magazine.


The holy grail of coal mine hunting, the elusive mine mouth. This mine was in the Sewell seam of coal. In the upper left of the photograph is the hoist for the mantrip. (Nov. 2001 photo)


These old mine motors, as well as underground coal cars, are laying around the drift mouth of the mine. (Nov. 2001 photo)


Ruins of the sand house. Sand was deposited on rail tracks to help the mine motors gain traction. This is still practiced with modern railroads. (October 2014 image by author)


Mine motor and coal cars with the Electrical Substation building in the background. (October 2014 image by author)


Inside the head house. (October 2014 image by author)


In 2006 the area around the tipple was cleared and restoration began. (Oct. 2006 photo)


The other side of the tipple as it is being restored. It looks like all rotten members have been removed. (Oct. 2006 photo)


The button line conveyor running up the mountain to the drift portal. Like the tipple it too will probably see some restoration/stabilization. (Oct. 2006 photo)


One of the remaining coke ovens at Nuttalburg. (Oct. 2006 photo)


The park service has cleaned up the area around the ovens, and structurally stablized the ovens themselves. (August 2009 photo)


Detail of the site stabilization at one of the coke ovens - steel bars and wood. (August 2009 photo)


The C&O Railway siding for the coke yard and tipple. (Oct. 2006 photo)


Only ruins of foundations remain from the Nuttallburg community. (Oct. 2006 photo)


According to the Park Service this is the ruin of the company store. If this is so, then why did the coal company locate it right at the very end of the coke works,practically adjacent to the last oven? I guess they wanted their food to taste like coal smoke? It was probably a store room at the end of the coke ovens for coke tools, oil, etc. like the one seen here. (August 2009 photo)


Cut stone bridge abutments from a swinging bridge over the New River which connected the coal camps of Nuttallburg and Brown (South Nuttall) (Oct. 2006 photo)


The Nuttallburg tipple - a priceless piece of industrial heritage (Feb. 1999 photo)



The following pictures were donated to this website by an anonymous explorer who risked his life exploring the Nuttallburg deep mine. They are great photos of the remaining equipment in the mine, but I'm glad that a roof fall or black damp didn't take his life!





In August 2009 the National Park Service shuttled two busloads of visitors down to Nuttallburg for a guided tour:


Tourists under the rope and button conveyor.


The tour brought visitors through the coke yard.


The NPS's tour of Nuttallburg concluded at the tipple. Note the steel shoring of the plant structure that is part of the site rehabilitation, designed by Beckley engineer Jerry Bays.


This article was in the January 22, 2006 Beckley Register-Herald:

"Possibilities for old Nuttallburg mine to be discussed National Park Service, public to talk about preserving remaining resources of historic treasure

By Steve Keenan For The Register-Herald

In 1919, historical accounts say, renowned industrialist Henry Ford began developing a kinship with the Mountain State. According to National Park Service accounts and re-tellings in such historical tomes as GEM Publications’ 'West Virginia Panoramic Coalfield Photography 1900-2005,' Ford purchased the Nuttallburg mine that year and began its revitalization. According to the latter book, Ford formed a bond with the community and made further investments in coming years. The Nuttallburg Mine had played out by the mid-1950s, says Richard Segars, a historical architect with the New River Gorge National River in Glen Jean. The community of Nuttallburg, which began when enterprising Brit John Nuttall relocated from Pennsylvania and initiated a successful mining operation in the early 1870s, went by the wayside afterward. Even after all those years, it’s still a compelling story. 'It’s very important,' Segars said. 'The history of coal in the New River Gorge is an incredibly undertold story. And this is a magnificent opportunity to tell (an important portion of) it.' While the national river’s general management plan process unfolds over the coming year, the public will also be able to weigh in on the creation of an implementation plan to preserve the remaining resources of the historic Nuttallburg mine. Those resources are extensive, Segars says. A majority of the equipment used to extract black gold from the ground during the Ford era and beyond is still in place. 'The interesting thing about Nuttallburg is that there is a complete mining colliery (still on site),' Segars notes. That includes the mine portal, tracks, a conveyor, the tipple and other portions of equipment. What’s still at Nuttallburg gives 'a visual path of the coal from the mine all the way to the railroad car,' Segars said. 'It’s very significant.' Nearby, remnants of the Keeney’s Creek branch line — a C&O spur line envisioned by John Nuttall — are still visible, as well. Segars said extensive research has shown very few places nationwide that still have as much equipment in place. Normally, what is left behind are coal camps and administrative buildings. The park service, however, is involved with preserving the Big South Fork tipple in Tennessee. The Nuttallburg property, acquired by the park service in 1998, is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Remaining objects — such as foundations and a road system — from the adjacent town which arose from the mine’s success allow you to 'get a sense of the proximity of the town.' At a certain point, county Route 85/2 leading to Nuttallburg is now closed to vehicles due to construction, Segars says. Some members of the public now hike about 15 minutes to get to the site, which is posted as dangerous property. The issue in future months and years is to reinforce and preserve the machinery and begin making it more accessible — and safer — for the public for possible interpretative efforts. During meetings for the implementation plan, the park service will discuss, in addition to preservation matters, such topics as how the public would like to see the property used and the creation of easier access. 'There is a range of possibilities and alternatives,' Segars said. Although pieces of the former mining operation are still there, Segars says they are in 'bad physical condition.' More than $2 million has been appropriated thus far for emergency stabilization of the tipple and work on the conveyor and the headhouse. Segars said preliminary work in soil boring and engineering design of some shoring materials is already under way. Officials hope further money is eventually freed up for the project."


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