West Virginia December 06, 2016
These 12 Rare Photos Show West Virginia’s Mining History Like Never Before
December 6 is officially designated as Miner’s Day in the state of West Virginia. Take a look at these historic photos for a glimpse of the hard work, risk, and dedication from coal miners and their families throughout our state’s history. West Virginia wouldn’t be the same without them.
The coal mining industry has brought a lot of life to West Virginia.
The town of Welch in McDowell County was thriving in 1946. It was once called "The Heart of the Nation's Coal Bin."
Mining towns were real communities where people came together for work and recreation.
Welch had a baseball field where mining towns would compete.
Much of mining town life was centered around the company store.
This was the company store in Grant Town, Marion County. Koppers Coal Division owned the mine here. Company stores sponsored social events and provided everything for the mining families, however, they were also prone to
of the workers.
Churches were also central to the community.
The Kingston-Pocahontas Coal Company's Warwick Mine had segregated churches and communities. This was a meeting at the Black church.
Coal miners worked hard to care for their families, but the job was incredibly risky.
This picture shows survivors being rescued after the Farmington mine explosion of 1968.
Some mines employed more than just the men. Young boys often worked underground as well.
Child miners worked underground at the Gary coal mine.
This child was tasked with finding lumps of coal among the mine's refuse.
This photo was taken in Scotts' Run.
This little boy worked in the tipple.
This photo was taken at the Turkey Knob Mine in 1908.
Mining life was a lot of work for the women as well, especially when trying to wash out all that coal dust by hand.
This miner's wife lived at the Bradshaw Mine in McDowell County.
Some of the early mine conditions were dreadful enough that miners gave their lives to fight for better treatment.
Miners pose with an unexploded bomb that was dropped on them by the U.S. Government during the bloody battle of Blair Mountain in 1921.
Even under improved conditions, a coal miner can't get the job out of his head.
Rather than sitting to relax, the miners in this picture "hunker down" as they do in the narrow mine shafts. This photo was taken in Coal City in 1974.
Ask any miner, and he'll tell you how proud he is to work hard to care for his family.
These miners are waiting to check out after work at the Kopperston Mine in Wyoming County.
For an up close look at West Virginia’s coal history, take a ride in a coal car at the
Beckley Exhibition Mine.