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May 2006 image by author

Coal camp built by Jewell Ridge Coal Corp. at Jewell Ridge, VA.


May 2006 image by author

The Jewell Ridge Coal Corp. office and store were combined in this building, which is still in existence in the town.


May 2006 image by author

The layout of Jewell Ridge is interesting in that the company housing is high on the ridge and the coal mining complex that is no longer extant was down in the hollow.


Aug. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives

Jewell Ridge in its prime.


May 2006 image by author

The few remaining company homes in Seaboard, Va. show how the company alternated house styles to break up the monotonous appearance that usually characterized housing in coal camps.


May 2006 image by author

This loadout on the edge of Seaboard appears to be no longer in use.


Nov. 2006 image by author

Ruins of the Raven Red Ash Coal Company tipple in Red Ash, VA.


Aug. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives

Old photo of miners walking home past the Red Ash No. 2 tipple.


Aug. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives

Vintage view of Raven Red Ash coal camp shows how some coal camps really didn't have maintained streets.


Aug. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives

Different styles of coal company housing at the Raven Red Ash coal camp.


Aug. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives

Coal miner's wife storing canned food under her coal camp house.


Image courtesy of Bob Bratton

1982 picture of the Clinchfield Coal Company's Moss No. 2 plant, which was idled shortly after this picture was taken. A Moss No. 1 plant, between Coeburn and Clintwood, operated from the 1940s until 1989. Moss No. 1 plant has been demolished.


Image courtesy of Bob Bratton

Clinchfield Coal Company was a subsidiary of Pittston, and this is their Moss No. 3 prep plant as it looked in 1989, the year the facility was plagued by a conflict between the UMWA and the company. Moss No. 3 prep plant was built in 1957-58.


Image courtesy of the Rasnick family



May 2006 image by author

Perhaps the largest remaining mining operation in the Clinch River Coalfield is Knox Creek Coal Company's prep plant. and Tiller No. 1 mine.


Image courtesy of Builder Levy - used with permission

This is a well known photograph titled "Coal Camp, near Grundy VA, 1970". The photographer was Builder Levy. I first viewed this picture (while attending Marshall University) in 1994 in Levy's book "Images of Appalachian Coalfields" in the Renaissance bookstore/coffeehouse in Huntington, WV. I recall just staring at it for several minutes, then walking around the bookstore, then coming back and picking up the book and studying the scene a little more, because it captured in a poetic way the melancholy feel of the coal camps that I recalled riding through with my father as a kid. As essential as the row of old company houses, the dusty road, and the choked stream are to the photo, I feel that the most important element in the photograph is the cloud suspended above the hollow. I don't know whether it is mountain fog, smoke from the coal stoves in the homes, or pollution from what looks like a slate dump in the background. Perhaps it is all three swirled together. Later I found Builder's "Images" book at the Raleigh County Library and checked it out several times. Of course every picture in that book is great, but this one is still my favorite. It captured my imagination, and was one of the things that inspired me to get out and take some "coal camp" pictures of my own. Interestingly I asked Builder Levy where this particular coal camp "near Grundy" was, and he said that it was between Grundy and Kentucky along U.S. Route 460. However, he also said that the little village has since vanished, possibly due to flooding or highway expansion. But, fortunately, the coal camp has been immortalized, and has been an inspiration to me and probably others, because Builder decided to pull over on U.S. Route 460 and take this picture nearly four decades ago.


Image courtesy of Dr. Randy Forehand

Dr. Forehand writes, "The photograph titled 'Coal Camp, near Grundy VA, 1970' is the Premier coal camp just west of Red Ash and Richlands on US 460 in Tazewell County Virgnia. Attached is another photograph of the company store, located at the rear of your picture. I took care of many patients from Premier before the camp was demolished in the 1980s."


Image by Jack Corn, courtesty The U.S. National Archives

Another picture of the Premier, Virginia coal camp, as it looked in 1974.


May 2006 image by author

The shrunken coal camp named Coaldan, Va. In 1917 the operator of the Coaldan mine was the Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation.

A 1924 Bluefield Daily Telegraph article stated, "Two hundred and fifty men will be thrown out of employment this week when the big coal operations of the Consolidation Coal Co. at Seaboard and Coaldan are permanently closed. The shut-down is said to be the result of adverse business conditions and the low price of coal. Most of the mines at Coaldan have already been closed and the last car of coal will be shipped from the Seaboard mines by Thursday. The large commissary at Seaboard has already been closed and the stock shipped to the other mining operations of the Consolidation Coal Co. The store at Coaldan will remain open according to an anannouncement made Friday. The entrances to the mines are being sealed and much of the machinery is being shipped away ..."

READING MATERIAL: "Wilder Days: Coal Town Life on Dumps Creek" by Kathy Shearer

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