Itmann was opened in 1918 by the mighty Pocahontas Fuel Co. It was named after the president of the company, Issac T. Mann. The Itmann mine closed in 1928, but was reopened twenty years later. During the 1950s and '60s it was the most productive mine in West Virginia. By that time Consolidation Coal had purchased Pocahontas Fuel Co. In the 1980s Island Creek Coal Co. was mining in Pocahontas No. 3 at Itmann, employing around 500 miners. The mines are now closed, however.

Update: In 2021 Consol Energy broke new ground for a new mine and prep plant near Itmann. I never thought I'd see that happen again.

Itmann WV Company Store
Apr. 2007 image by author

This photo of the cut stone company store illustrates why it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pocahontas Fuel Co. office was on the left side of the structure, with a breezeway in the center.

Itmann WV coal camp
Sep. 2001 image by author

Miners homes built by the Pocahontas Fuel Company.

Apr. 2007 image by author

These larger company houses are simalar to the ones the Pocahontas Fuel built in Bishop. They may actually date from the 1948 reopening of the Itmann mine.

coal company houses
Dec. 2014 image by author

Yet another style of coal company houses.

Itmann West Virginia company houses
Dec. 2014 image by author

These Cape Cod style company houses along Route 10 were probably a "Bosses Row" for foremen and managers.

Itmann UMWA union hall
Apr. 2007 image by author

Former UMWA hall, although an Itmann resident told me that it was originally a school.

Itmann coal prep plant
Image courtesy VT ImageBase, housed and operated by Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries; scanning by Digital Imaging, Learning Technologies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The preparation plant at Itmann - now gone.

Itmann West Virginia coal mine
Image courtesy of West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University Libraries

Another vintage view of the huge Itmann preparation plant.

Pocahontas Fuel Company Itmann WV
Apr. 2007 image by author

The company store was still being maintained at the time of this photo because there was a homeless shelter in the mine office side of the structure.

Itmann Company Store
Dec. 2014 image by author

A few years later I visited Itmann to find the homeless shelter gone and the company store falling into a dangerous state of decay. Note the hole in the roof.

Itmann coal company store
Dec. 2014 image by author

Inside the former store debris is strewn about and it appears to have been ransacked.

Dec. 2014 image by author

Looking at the front of the store through a breezeway entrance.

Dec. 2014 image by author

A view through a breezeway opening of the side of the office in the internal court yard.

Dec. 2014 image by author

The owner of the company store, politician Billy Wayne Bailey, is evidently not maintaining the historic strucure at all.

Dec. 2014 image by author

Detail of a window on the Itmann company store.

Itmann West Virginia
Dec. 2014 image by author

Even the gas station across the street is dilapidated.

Dec. 2014 image by author

The door to the former coal company office (and also homeless shelter) was adjar and I looked in.

Dec. 2014 image by author

Some site stabilization is needed at the Itmann company store before it is too late. I have seen too many former company stores in West Virgina descend into ruination over the years. This one is really special and deserves to be preserved. It seems like the only company store anyone cares about is the one in Whipple, W.Va. (and for a while the one in Ashland, W.Va.).

Dec. 2014 image by author

From an article in the Beckley Register-Herald from June 25, 1989 titled "Study Finds Area Coal Town Tourism a Promising Idea" : "... Completed in March by Marshall University’s Center for Regional Progress, 'The Coal Road: A Survey of Southern West Virginia Mining Tourism Potential' covers Mingo, McDowell, Logan, Fayette, Raleigh, Boone, Wyoming and Mercer Counties. Nine towns were selected as potential tourist sites : Bramwell, Itmann, Kaymoor, Red Jacket, Coalwood, Kopperston, Holden, Gary and Slab Fork. The study describes them as 'the most typical coal towns' which collectively “represent all features of coal developments in southern West Virginia.'"

Well, this didn't work out so well. Every time I pass through Itmann the company store continues to deteriorate. In Kaymoor the historic tipple was dynamited into a heap, while in Coalwood landowner Alawest has demolished many of the unique structures, such as the company store and the club house.