Idamay was opened by Consolidation Coal Co. as their No. 87 mine in 1917, but is best remembered as the No. 44 mine for Bethlehem Mines Corp. (one of the coal mining subsidiaries of Bethlehem Steel). Bethlehem closed the Idamay mine in 1971. Interestingly enough, although the Fairmont Coalfield was mostly B&O Railroad country, the Western Maryland Railway served the Idamay coal mine, and it ended up being one of their biggest shippers. Western Maryland built two short branches off of the B&O line along the West Fork River. One of these branches, named the Fairmont Helens Run Subdivision, went to Idamay and Consol No. 86 at Carolina, WV. (The other was the Fairmont Bingamon Subdivsion that ran to Consol No. 88 at Wyatt, WV.) Idamay No. 44 was one of the first mines in the nation to use roof bolts in 1948. Although coal mining has ceased, Idamay remains one of the most intact and unique coal camps in Northern West Virginia, and was probably considered a "model" coal company town when it was new.

Idamay coal camp when it was new. (1921 Coal Age image via Google Books)

Henry contributes this photo of the Idamay preparation plant as it looked just after the mine closed. (1973 image courtesy of Henry Hook)

The tipple is gone, but these shop buildings are still in the middle of the town. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

Some of the remaining mine shop buildings with company houses in the background. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

One of the oldest mine buildings with two story company houses behind it. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

The structures related to the mine seem to have been constructed at different times throughout the 20th century. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

A long row of company houses. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

There are several different styles of company houses, ranging from these one story cottages to the larger homes found on the "Bosses Row." (Nov. 2004 image by author)

Another part of the Idamay coal camp. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

One of the few wood frame company stores still around. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

Henry emailed in this postcard of the store as it looked in the 70's. By this time it was no longer a coal company enterprise. (1973 image courtesy of Henry Hook)

Another photo from Henry of the Idamay coal camp. Though it is blurry, it still shows the layout of Idamay with the company store and shaft head frame in the middle. (1965 image courtesy of Henry Hook)

(Nov. 2004 image by author)

Henry Hook contributed a few more pictures:

Henry describes this as "the picnic area that the minerís held their picnics at."

This is the school and part of the playground.

The King family houses as seen from Henry's grandmother's house.