Superior and Maitland kind of run together, and I'm not exactly sure where one ends and the other begins.

Maitland traces its origins back to Middle States Coal & Coke Company's Helena Mine. This evolved into the Houston Collieries Co. and Huger Mine. In 1918 Houston Collieries changed the name to Maitland. Koppers Coal Co. ran the Maitland mines in the 1930's and 1940's. When Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates took over the Koppers coal mine empire (but not their coke by-products empire) in 1947, they became the new owners of Maitland, and operated the Maitland mines into the 1950's. Consolidation Coal Co. reopened the Maitland coal mine in 1967, sold it to U.S. Steel in 1985 (renamed Seneca Mine), and it closed in 1986.

A coal mine and a company town named Dixon were opened a few miles from Welch by the Dixon Pocahontas Fuel Co. in 1907. Lake Superior Coal Company acquired the properties in 1913, and the mine and community were known after that as Superior. In 1959 Lake Superior sold the Superior mines to Cannellton Coal Co. (later part of Cyprus-Amax), and they operated them for many more years. Later, Horizon Resources operated the Superior coal preparation plant until bankruptcy forced them to sell it to a local operator in 2004. In the 21st Century most of the town is gone, but another company keeps the coal preparation plant active.

Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell

Here is the Maitland tipple as it looked in 1947, right after Eastern took over from Koppers.

1940s Eastern Fuel & Gas image

Koppers company store in Maitland. Their chain of company stores was known as "General Stores".

Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell

Street lights but no paved streets in Maitland in the 1940's. Company housing on the right.

Feb. 2017 image by author

One of the remaining Maitland duplex two-family company houses.

March 2004 image by author

An early 21st Century scene at Maitland finds a church and a few coal camp houses remaining, and rail cars filled with coal loaded at the Superior preparation plant. Steel girder bridge was built by Norfolk & Western Railway.

1980s image by Stuar McGehee, ERCA collection

The Superior company store had gone out of business by the time this picture was taken. I'm not suprised to see the gas pumps in front of the store. After the rise of the automobile, many coal company stores had at least one gas pump out front.

November 2000 image by author

The tipple at Superior was still active on this Sunday morning. This steel tipple replaced the original one in 1947. Additions and upgrades were made in 1971.

2004 image by others

As this photograph illustrates, the Superior tipple was one of the last ones that loads coal from the bottom of the structure, as opposed to the more modern detached loadout. The preparation plant was also one of the last ones using Deister Tables at the time of this photo.

Dec. 2006 image by author

By 2006 the prep plant had received new sheeting.

Dec. 2006 image by author


Schust, Alex P. Billion Dollar Coalfield. Two Mule Publishing, 2010.

WV state mining records



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