The Pittsburgh Seam was and is the main coal in the Panhandle Coalfield. In certain areas the Sewickley seam was mined, and small "punch mines" penetrated into the Waynesburg seam. There was only a little Pittsburgh Seam in Hancock County, but there has been some mining of Lower Kittanning Coal around New Cumberland and Newell. Even though the Ohio Valley was full of steel mills, the coal in the Panhandle Coalfield is not a metallurgical coal, though Wheeling Steel Corp. did operate a number of mines. The earliest coal mining in West Virginia was in this coalfield, when it was still part of Virginia. Residents of Wheeling mined coal as far back as the 1810s, allegedly at what is now known as Coal Street. Like the Fairmont Coalfield, Consol was the dominant company. Their Shoemaker and McElroy operations (now owned and renamed by Murray Energy) are still producing coal into the 21st Century. And, in the early 21st Century, the Tunnel Ridge coal mine on Short Creek began mining what the Wheeling Intelligencer called the last known coal reserves of Ohio County, West Virginia (at least as far as the Pittsburgh seam goes). Other Panhandle Coalfield mines over the years included Mines of Richland Coal Co., Richland-Marshall Coal Co., Glendale Gas Coal Co., Costanzo Coal Mining Co., and Mineral State Coal Co.


Jun. 2001 image by author

Consolidation Coal Company's Shoemaker Mine near Benwood - was one of the last coal mines in America still using rail haulage out of the mine until it was upgraded with belt haulage in 2010. Since then Consol sold their West Virginia properties and Murray Energy purchased and renamed the mine.

Apr. 2003 image by author

A coal camp named Windsor Heights in southern Brooke County. This company town was constructed by the Windsor Power House Coal Co. between 1920 and 1924.

Apr. 2003 image by author

Windsor Coal Company was mining coal in Brooke County at least as far back as the 1920s. In later years Windsor Coal Co. was a subsidiary of Consolidation Coal Co.. In this photo part of the old Windsor mine is seen in front of a newer conveyor bringing coal from a recently active part of the coal mining operations.

Apr. 2003 image by author

Unlike such rail-dependent coalfields as the Winding Gulf Coalfield, the Ohio River provides inexpensive shipment for coal in the Panhandle Coalfield. Here is a conveyor at the Windsor coal mine that brought coal down to a barge loadout, seen in the background with the river. Unfortunately, CONSOL closed the exhausted Windsor mine in 2002. The conveyor and barge loadout were demolished in the fall of 2003.

Image courtesy of Goldenseal Magazine

A vintage picture of the Brooke County coal camp Cliftonville. The Richland Coal Company was the operator of the Cliftonville coal mine. A 1922 battle in Cliftonville between the striking miners and Brooke County deputies resulted in the death of the sherriff and the destruction of the tipple.

More Brooke County coal mining

1922 Coal Age image via Google Books

Men surveying the smoldering ruins of the Cliftonville mine headhouse after the strikers burned it. This photo was in Coal Age in 1922. There were so many union-management conflicts in the coalfields that the magazine regularly featured a section called "The Labor Situation."

Jul. 2002 image by author

This silo is one of the last pieces of evidence that the Valley Camp Coal Company had coal mines at Triadelphia, WV in Ohio County. Valley Camp closed their last coal mine in Ohio County in 1984. Nearby was the big Elm Grove coal mine, as well.

Jul. 2003 image by author

This building in Triadelphia was once the Valley Camp Coal Company store. I don't know why I did such a poor job photographing this back in 2002, with the truck in the way and wasting half the picture on the trees.

1950s image from the "Keystone Coal Manual"

Valley Camp No. 3 tipple.

Circa 1921 Coal Age image via Google Books

Tipple with twin shafts of the Ben Franklin Coal Co. mine near Moundsville, W.Va.

Bing maps image

Bird's eye view a coal company town that housed the workers of Bertha Consumers Company's Louise coal mine near Rockdale, WV. The grassy field in the upper left corner of the picture is probably where the tipple was located. Between the grassy field and the former coal camp is the former Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway. At the top of the photo is Cross Creek.

Circa 2002 State Historic Preservation Office image

Tipple left over from Liberty Coal Company's Pierce Run Mine in Brooke County. The mine closed in 1964. Tipple has now been removed.

Harry writes, "I grew up in the Glendale, McMechen, Wheeling area. Left to joined the Navy in 76, and haven't returned except for short visits since. But, I know of several old and abandoned mines that are accessible in the area. We did our share of exploring when I was a kid. Moundsville, Glendale, Mcmechen, Benwood, Fulton, Elm Grove, all had they're own mines, and there are some remains still to be seen."



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