In the early days Landgraff was sometimes spelled Landgraaf, but the latter name is not used anymore. The community was named for the home town of the wife of Frank Randall, president of Empire Coal and Coke Co. Empire began mining Pocahontas No. 3 coal at Landgraff in 1892, and their mine produced every year until 1938. Early in the Landgraff operations beehive coke ovens supplemented the sale of coal. Later Vera Pocahontas Coal Co. mined coal at Landgraff until 1954. The original Langraff mine became Vera Pocahontas Mine No. 3, and they also opened Mine No. 4 into Pocahontas No. 12 seam in 1944. A later operator, in the 1960s, was Pocahontas Empire Coal Co.

Dec. 2006 image by author

The former Empire Coal and Coke Co. clubhouse at Landgraff is indicative of the wealth that was once found in the Flat Top-Pocahontas Coalfield. The structure now serves as a bed and breakfast.

June 2002 WV SHPO image

Terrible floods in 2001 and 2002 took their toll on Landgraff.

Dec. 2006 image by author

One of the few remaining coal camp houses in this section of Landgraff, WV. At least I thought this was Landgraff - it might be Shawnee. Shawnee Coal & Coke Co. operated from 1893 until 1920. After that the remaining coal reserves were absorbed into other nearby mines.

Dec. 2006 image by author

These company houses were in worse condition. As I mentioned, these might have been Shawnee and not Landgraff. I imagine that, in 1930, riding the train from Angle Mine to Kimball was just one town after another almost continuously.

Dec. 2006 image by author

An old church that is closed now.

Feb. 2017 image by author

This section of Landgraff has fared better. Since this was on the other side of the tipple it may have been an ethnic section of Landgraff.

1987 image by Stuart McGehee, courtesy of ERCA

This old structure at Landgraff was one of the few remaining wooden coal company stores before it was washed off the map in the 2001 and 2002 McDowell County floods. The company houses beside it were also removed after the floods.

Feb. 2017 image by author

This building is left over from the Landgraff coal mine.

Feb 2017 image by author

Inside the remaining mine building still looks structurally sound. A map of the Langraff mine shows this as a bathhouse, but I can't see any indication of shower stalls or toilets or floor drains.


Schust, Alex P. Billion Dollar Coalfield: West Virginias McDowell County and the Industrialization of America. Two Mule Pub., 2010.

WV state mining records