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BEARDS FORK

Opened in 1919 by the Loup Creek Colliery Co., located on a tributary to Loup Creek and serviced by the Virginian Railway, Beards Fork is best remembered as an operation of Koppers Coal Co. Later Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates purchased Koppers' WV coal properties, and they ran Beards Fork until 1960. In the 1960's there was a Beards Fork Coal Corp. mining there.


Feb. 2005 image by author

Most of the company houses in Beards Fork are of this style.


Feb. 2005 image by author

Ruins of the Koppers company store.


Feb. 2005 image by author

Another view of the coal camp, which one resident described to me as a nice quite community where "nobody causes any trouble."


Feb. 2005 image by author

There were two inclines from two mines feeding the tipple at Beards Fork. These concrete piers are the remains of one of these inclines.


Image from USGS map

A vintage topo map of Beards Fork showing the two mines feeding a single tipple. The spur off of the Virginian Railway still exists, but is in fair to poor condition.


Image from an Eastern Fuel and Gas employee magazine

Beards Fork tipple as it looked in the 1940s or 50s. This was an unusal setup for that era. It appears that most of the processing equipment is up on the hill, and at the bottom of the hill is a loadout for one size of coal, and a coal bin for house coal.


Image from an Eastern Fuel and Gas employee magazine

The Beards Fork Black school in the 1940s or 50s.


From the February 25, 1952 Pittsburgh Press newspaper:

"MINE STRIKE STARTS OVER HOUSE DISPUTE Charleston, W.Va. - More than 200 members of the United Mine Workers are idle in a strike over housing for a doctor at Beards Fork, south of here. Picket lines at the Beards Fork mine of Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates are being maintained by the wives and children of the miners, the union reported. The dispute arose over the assignment of a house to a doctor hired by the Miners' Health and Welfare Fund. The company explained there had been no doctor in the community for almost a year. Rather than have the former doctor's house stand idle, they rented it to another family. When the new doctor arrived, he was assigned another house, which he refused to occupy, and the strike started. The mine produces about 1,500 tons of coal per day. Reports of influenza and yellow jaundice in near epidemic stages were discounted to day by a check with a registered nurse employed by the company."

... ah yes, such were labor relations at the height of the organized labor movement.



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