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KEOKEE, VIRGINIA

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Former Keokee Coal and Coke Company store in Keokee, Lee County, VA. The coal company closed the store in 1930, three years after the last coal mine at Keokee closed. The beehive coke oven plant, probably the only one ever in Lee county, probably also closed at that time. And then most of the Keokee coal camp was demolished. (Jan. 2007 image by author)

But what is interesting about the town is the fact that Stonega Coke and Coal rebuilt the Keokee coal camp in 1947 to house the families of the miners of their newly opened Glenbrook mine. Though Stonega sold most of the homes, as opposed to renting them, they probably represent one of the last times that an Appalachian coal company constructed housing for its workers.


Photo of homes being constructed by Stonega Coal and Coke Company in Keeokee in 1946. (Image from Ed Wolfe's book "Coal Camps, Tipples, and Mines")

SOME OF THE LAST COAL COMPANY TOWNS TO BE BUILT IN APPALACHIA

1934-Wyoming, WV

1937-Keen Mountain, VA

1938-Kopperston, WV

1940-Lynco, WV

1940-Burson/Braden, PA

1940-Marianna, WV

1942-Republic, KY

1946-Raven-Peerless Mine, Nicholas County, WV

1945-Wharton, WV

1947-Munson, WV

1947-Keokee, VA (reconstructed)

1947-Barrett & Clinton, WV

1952-New Camp (Pound), VA (only 10 houses for management)

1968-Hunting Hills, WV (homes sold, not rented, to miners' families)

1981-Buchanshire, VA (Evidently Island Creek Coal never actually constructed this town that they planned to build.)


From a late 1940's brochure about the Glenbrook Mine. (Image courtesy of Everett Young)


The original Keokee coal camp before it was torn down and rebuilt. (From a Keystone Mining Catalog via Google Books)

I noticed on a 1930s USGS topo map that there was a small coal camp with mine portals, but no railroad or tipple, on the other side (Kentucky side) of the Mountain from Keokeee named Clover Fork. I'll bet that was a sister town to Keokee for miners to work at the coal from each side of the mountain, then load it into the train on the Virginia side of the mountain.


This structure was originally the power house for the coal mine at Keokee. Apparently it was later converted into a theater. (Virginia Coal Heritage Trail image)

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