VALLEY FIELD

This is the only instance where I am featuring a non-bituminous coalfield. In this instance we have a semi-anthracite coalfield in the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area of Virginia. The golden age of this coalfield seems to have been the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and I am not aware of any active coal mines in the area.


This was the tipple of the Pulaski Anthracite Coal Co. at Parrott, VA as it looked in 1905.(Courtesy VT ImageBase, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)


The large tipple that used to be at Merrimac, VA. Although coal had been extracted in the area since the late 18th Century, including Civil War-era mining by the Confederate government, this large scale commercial mine commenced operations in 1903. The owner was the Virginia Antracite Coal and Railway Company. (Courtesy VT ImageBase, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)


Now only foundations, like these stream enclosures, remain from the Merrimac tipple. And though the VAC&RC built an entire company town to support their Merrimac mine, today the town has vanished.


The Merrimac mine site is now a "Coal Miners Heritage Park", and this hoist has been relocated there as a "visual aid".


Another prop at the Merrimac mine site is this underground coal car.


These are fragments of the foundations of the wash house at Merrimac.


Mining at Merrimac continued off and on until 1935, when it was closed for the last time due to labor strife. (Courtesy VT ImageBase, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Special thanks to Bill Edmonds for giving me the book "Merrimac Mines" by Garland Proco (1994), a great source of information for this page.

SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA COALFIELDS

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