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SCENES FROM STONECOAL CREEK

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November 1997 photo by author

There's not much left of Lillybrook, WV. But at one time this was a big mining community with two mines. In 1930 eight men on the hoot owl shift died in an explosion of the Lillybrook No. 1 mine. The town died out through the 1960s.

Jason writes, "My grandpa (Edgar M...) worked at the Lillybrook mine for a couple years, but his leg was crushed in an accident. My dad said there was a slate slide after an explosion, and the slate crushed his leg (sometime around 1940?) but he lived for quite some time after (1972). I have a picture of his mining crew and part of the tipple. He quit mining shortly therafter I believe."


1928 photo courtesy of W. Caldwell

A vintage picture of Lillybrook showing one of the company stores, one of the tipples, and part of the camp


February 2022 image by author

Tipple foundations at Lillybrook toppled over like Easter Island statues (or is that a stretch of the imagination too far?).


November 1997 image by author

Last vestiges of the Pickshin, W.Va. coal camp, built in the late 1910s. Pickshin Coal Co. mined the Beckley seam here. It was one of the operations of coal baron J.C. Sullivan.


November 2004 photo by author

This collapsing church is indicative of the desolation and despair in Pickshin, WV today. Mead Pocahontas Coal Co. was a later coal operator here.


November 1997 photo by author

The defunct Stoco High School in Lego, WV. Stoco is a corruption of Stonecoal. The grassy pasture was their athletic field.


September 2001 photo by author

The coal mining camp at Lego.


November 1997 photo by author

This coal camp is Besoco, which comes from Beckley Smokeless Coal Co. The Leccony Smokeless Coal Co. took over by the 1930s. As late as the 1960s, Vecillio and Grogan were strip mining there.


September 2001 photo by author

A few remaining coal company houses at Besoco.


Photo by Jack Corn, courtesty The U.S. National Archives

Besoco coal camp in 1974.


November 1997 photo by author

Don writes that this store is up the hollow from Besoco in a place called Hick Hollow, named after his great grandfather, Hick Garretson. It operated under the name A. W. Price Mercantile Store. This area is also known as Josephine, and in the early 21st Century United Pocahontas was been mining coal at the Josephine No. 2 mine there.


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 mining camp of East Gulf was the domain of the C.H. Mead Coal Co. in the 1920s. By 1960, this coal processing plant had been constructed there, possibly by Winding Gulf Coals.


Photo by Jack Corn, courtesty The U.S. National Archives

In this 1970s view of the East Gulf mine complex a large shop building or bath house is visable that is no longer there.


November 1997 photo by author

Additions were made to the East Gulf plant by later owner Westmoreland Coal Co. In the 1980s and 1990s owned by Maben Energy. It is shown here in the late 1990s when it was still active. The big cloud of steam is from a rare hydrothermal dryer.


November 2002 photo by author

Left Fork Processing was rehabilitating the East Gulf plant in 2001, but it was idled in 2002.


June 2005 photo

When the price of met coal was right, the East Gulf plant was processing coal at full throttle in 2005. Note the full N-S hopper cars waiting to be pulled to the Elmore train yard in Mullens.


January 2001 photo by author

Sunrise over the railroad tracks at East Gulf, W.Va.


Image from "The Black Diamond" magazine via Google Books

The company store at East Gulf, W.Va. was so new in this image that a sign had not even been placed on it.


February 2022 image by author

Powder / dynamite storage shed in East Gulf.


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