Image courtesy Murray Shuff

In 1880 the Stonecliff Collieries Company opened the Stone Cliff mine, coke works, and coal camp along the C&O main line. By the time this picture was taken of Stone Cliff in the 1930s, the operator was the West Virginia Coal Company. This photo is from a wonderful little book titled "Stone Cliff West Virginia - Life Along New River" by Murray Shuff, who grew up in Stone Cliff.

C&O Historical Society image by Eugene Huddleston

The population of Stone Cliff declined through the first half of the 20th Century. From 1929 until 1932 Stonecliff was operated by the Brockman Smokeless Coal Co. The post office closed in 1948 and the mine closed in the 1950s after over 70 years of production. Still this 1961 photograph of Stone Cliff shows the town abandoned but mostly intact.

Dec. 2004 image by author

Today, however, only these foundations remain of the coal camp section of Stone Cliff. Note that there was no mortar remaining in the stones.

Dec. 2004 image by author

The only intact structure left in Stone Cliff is this powder house, where the blasting powder was stored. Mr. Shuff explained to me how only a little powder at a time was taken from this building to the company store where it would be sold to the miners.

Dec. 2004 image by author

The ruins of the powerhouse.

Dec. 2004 image by author

A monitor car lies in ruins on the route where the incline used to run. In the background of the picture you can see the Stone Cliff bridge over the New River several hundred feet below.

Dec. 2004 image by author

The drift portal of the Stone Cliff mine. In later years this was listed as an operation of Pugh Coal Company in the Fire Creek seam.

Dec. 2004 image by author

There are still rails from the haulage system on the floor of the mine.

Dec. 2004 image by author

This is all that is left of Stone Cliff coke ovens.

Dec. 2004 image by author

Mr. Shuff said that this circular concrete wall at the edge of Stone Cliff was the turntable for the large Thurmond train yard, which actually butted up against the north end of Stone Cliff.

Circa 1906 Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad image via Google Books

An ancient photo of the Stone Cliff coke ovens and workers. I kind of feel sorry for the donkey pulling the larry car over the ovens. He had to feel the intense heat rising up through the trunnel holes, and breathe the fumes, too. The workers didn't have it too easy, either, and a worker's home is visible behind the ovens. That would have been a smelly, smoky existence.


Shuff, Murray. Stone Cliff West Virginia, Life Along New River, 1930 - 1938. Self-Published.

“Author's phone call to Murray Shuff” Dec. 2004.