The mines and coking operation at Sewell were built in 1874 by the Longdale Coal Company. Eventually, almost 200 beehive coke ovens were constructed there. When the mines at Sewell worked out, coal came down the Manns Creek Railroad from mines around Clifftop, owned by Babcock Coal & Coke Co. from 1913 until 1952, and later Royalty Smokeless Coal Company. The coke ovens at Sewell burned until 1956, the last ones in southern West Virginia. That is when the town began to close down, and the last resident, a railroad employee, moved out in 1973.

The vault and foundations of the company office. (Mar. 2002 image by author)

Ruins of the town of Sewell. (Mar. 2002 image by author)

The coke ovens at Sewell were the last ones operating in the area (until 1956). (Mar. 2002 image by author)

Detail of one of the coke ovens. (Mar. 2002 image by author)

The back side of the ovens showing the supports for the larry car track on top. (Mar. 2002 image by author)

The rusting larry car is terminally damaged from a tree falling on it. (Mar. 2002 image by author)

It is unclear what part this piece of equipment played in the coking operation at Sewell. (Mar. 2002 image by author)

Probably the final post office and Babcock Coal & Coke Company store. This photo was probably taken after Sewell turned into a ghost town. (Image courtesy of Walter Caldwell)