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WHARTON - BARRETT - CLINTON

Wharton, Barrett, and Clinton are three in a row along Pond Fork of Coal River. These were among the last coal camps built in Appalachia, and probably America, in 1947 by Eastern Gas and Fuel Associates (later Eastern Associated Coal). An April, 1949 Raleigh Register article titled "New Mining Town Has Everything Except Neighbors" stated, "Opening a new mine a mile from Wharton, at what is variously called Wharton No. 2, Barrett, and Clinton, Eastern Gas began Jan. 21, 1948 to ship a prime coking coal to a demanding market ... Some 70 houses, modern in every respect and a far cry from the old-time coal camp shack, are under construction at Clinton or have been built. But this isn't the end of the line on house construction - another 100 will be ready in a year, and more houses will be erected as demand makes them necessary. Besides the homes - which incidentally have showers for the begrimed miner and eliminate the need for a universal bathhouse - are bachelor quarters for 80 men. These quarters, each with outside entrance, are on the order of a motel with a dining room included in the center of the sprawling building. Then too there are the usual other appurtenances, such as mine office, supply house, company store, and later a recreation center and church, of construction that indicates Eastern Gas expects to spend many years on Pond Fork and its tributaries."

SOME OF THE LAST COAL COMPANY TOWNS TO BE BUILT IN APPALACHIA

1930-Bishop, WV/VA

1934-Wyoming, WV

1937-Keen Mountain, VA

1938-Kopperston, WV

1940-Burson/Braden, PA

1940-Marianna, WV

1942-Republic, KY

1944-Leatherwood, KY

1945-Wharton, WV

1946-Raven-Peerless Mine, Nicholas County, WV

1947-Munson, WV

1947-Keokee, VA (reconstructed)

1947-Lynco, WV

1947-Barrett & Clinton, WV

1952-New Camp (Pound), VA (only 10 houses for management)

1952-Robin Hood Mine, Boone County, WV (only 5 houses for management)

1968-Hunting Hills, WV (homes sold, not rented, to miners' families)

1981-Buchanshire, VA (Evidently Island Creek Coal never actually constructed this town that they planned to build.)

The people that lived in Wharton, Barrett, and Clinton worked in Wharton Mines No. 1 through 6; Lightfoot No. 1 and No. 2; Harris No. 1 and 2; Wells and Rock Lick preparation plants; and other mining operations of, first,

Eastern Fuel and Gas Associates; then Eastern Associated Fuel; then Patriot Coal; and finally Blackhawk Mining.


Image from an Eastern Fuel and Gas employee magazine

This is a wonderful image from the late 1940s of a coal miner at Clinton coming home from his shift.


Aug. 2001 image by author

Red arrow points to the portal of Eastern Associated Coal Company's well- remembered Lightfoot No. 2 mine.


Aug. 2001 image by author

Wharton is just down the road from the big Wells prep plant and associated mines. These mines may be idle now.


February 2002 image by author

Up the road from Wharton lies the coal camps of Barrett and Clinton.


Image from an Eastern Fuel and Gas employee magazine

Vintage view of Clinton, W.Va. As you can see the houses aren't all of the same cookie cutter design, as was the norm in earlier coal company towns.


Jan. 2016 image by author image by author

Clinton, W.Va. as it looks in modern times.


Jan. 2016 image by author image by author

These coal company houses were a big improvement over the ones built 40 or 50 years earlier. Some of them had a shower inside the back door in which the miner could clean up when he got home.


Jan. 2016 image by author image by author

Coal company houses located where Clinton merges into Barrett.


Image from an Eastern Fuel and Gas employee magazine

This was Wharton No. 2 company store when it was new.


Dec. 2017 image by author

The Wharton No. 2 company store survives as a mom-and-pop store in the 21st Century.


Jan. 2016 image by author image by author

I was told that this was another old Eastern company store, but have not confirmed it.


Jan. 2016 image by author image by author

Wells prep plant still sporting an Eastern Associated coal Corp. sign.


Jan. 2016 image by author image by author

I thought I would snap this photo of part of a union hall near where Harris No. 1 used to be located. I wanted to take the photo because this is something that was once common in Southern W.Va., but is now on the verge of extinction. In neighboring Kentucky the UMWA has gone extinct.


Feb. 2002 image by author

This was a conveyor that ran through the mountain between Harris No. 1 and Rock Lick prep plant. Usually a conveyor has troughing idlers on top and return idlers on the bottom, but this one had troughing idlers on top and bottom because it had coal going two directions on it.


1940s image courtesy of Pauline Haga

Coal company homes and the Wharton No. 1 tipple. I don't think I would want to live that close to the tipple. Too much dust and noise.


1940s image courtesy of Pauline Haga

This is supposed to be Wharton under construction, but I can't place it. Wooden forms have been built for sidewalks to be poured. Date given in Ms. Haga's book is 1943. Ten years later and the coal industry had stopped building company towns in Appalachia.


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