Allegedly named after the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, Eccles was the site of a terrible disaster when the No. 5 & No. 6 mine exploded on April 28, 1914 and killed 183 (mostly foreign-born) miners. At that time it was operated by New River Collaries, Inc., but by the 1930s the Crab Orchard Improvement, Co. had taken over. For a period of time Eastern Associated mined there and in the 1970s Westmoreland was still operating Eccles No. 5 in a spacious 8-foot of Beckley Seam. They also were in the Sewell seam in the No. 6 mine. Westmoreland kept the company store open until the late 1970s.

In 2007 a new coal mine and prep plant opened at the edge of Eccles. Mining in Pocahontas No. 4 seam, this operation is still working in 2020.

Image courtesy of P. Wayne Lilly

A circa 1950 view of the large coal processing plant at Eccles.

Image courtesy of Dennis Lester

This picture shows the tipple that was at Eccles No. 6 in 1970.

Image courtesy of P. Wayne Lilly

Many of the large coal companies featured their own baseball teams. Shown here is the Eccles Admirals in 1949. Other coalfields baseball teams included ones at Slab Fork, Kopperston, Montcoal, and the Raleigh "Black Knights". Among African-American teams were the Raleigh Clippers and the Slab Fork Indians.

April 2001 image by author

Where the preparation plant was. In the background is a reclaim tunnel.

December 2004 image by author

Another view of the ruins of the tipple.

April 2001 image by author

Some of the company-built homes in Eccles.

November 2004 image by author

These coal camp houses are still extant along Route 3. There are some other ones up on the hill in "Allentown.".

December 2004 image by author

What was once a gigantic gob pile has been mostly reclaimed.

February 2005 image by author

This sheave on the mountain above the gob pile was the upper end of the aerial tramway.

August 2001 image by author

This settling pond site, at the back of the Eccles No. 5 mine several miles away in Sweenysburg, shows just how far back the mine went. Before the mine flooded, I remember coming through Sweenysburg with my dad and seeing a fanhouse on top of an airshaft at this site. This was in the mid 1980s and there was probably still mining going on.

April 2001 image by author

1945 image courtesy of Bill Holt

Bill sends in this picture of coal miners at Eccles. He is assuming that it was the No. 5 day shift. His grandfather, R.D. Holt is circled in red. He had no light on his hard hat because he worked as an engineer and operated the hoist.

Image courtesy of Bill Holt

Another picture of hard working miners at Eccles.

2020 image by author

Headstone in St. Francis de Sales cemetery in Beckley of a coal miner who died in the Eccles mine disaster. His name was John Demedow, and the headstone notes that he "died by explosion."

2020 image by author

Next to Mr. Demedow's headstone lies the body of John Krajnik, probably a Polish immigrant, who died on the same day, probably in the same coal mine explosion.

Oct. 2007 image by author

Image of the latest prep plant being constructed at the edge of Eccles. The coal reserves were preserved by the implosion of the steel and met coal industry in the early 1980s.