2017 image by author

Modern coal loader near Norton, Va. The front end loader that places the coal into train cars is not in the photo.

2017 image by author

Norton rail yard looking north. I guess at one time this was the property of the L&N, but now it is a Norfolk-Southern yard, and it is still staffed.

2017 image by author

The northern end of the Norton rail yard.

2017 image by author

Scene just north of Norton.

Nov. 2016 image by author

Drift portal from the Clinchfield Coal Company's Spashdam Mine, near Haysi.

Dec. 2008 image by author

Coal tipple at Tacoma, Virginia.

Image courtesy of the Rasnick family

Linden, Virginia coal camp - now eradicated.

Jan. 2007 image by author

This portal at the base of Black Mountain was probably from the Linden or Laurie mine.

Image courtesy of Rhonda Robinson

Most of the original coke ovens in the Big Stone Gap Coalfield are gone. A few were rumored to be still in existence at Keokee, but me and Jack Mac from Big Stone Gap looked for them back in 2008 and only found random stones and bricks. However, the coke ovens pictured here - latter day coke ovens built in the 1940s at Pine Branch - can still be found. They don't look like beehive ovens, but rather rectangular ovens.

Dec. 2008 image by author

Idled coal loading facility near Pennington Gap, Virginia.

Image courtesy of the Virginia Coal Heritage Trail

Another former Stonega Coal & Coke company town - Exeter, Virginia.

2017 image by author

Railroad underpass in St. Paul still says Clinchfield Railroad.

Nov. 2016 image by author

A Dickenson County scene - a general store with a Clinchfield Railroad trestle in the background.

Image courtesy of Pauline Ownes

The Virginia Iron, Coke, & Coal Co. built the Toms Creek coal camp in 1902. These coal company houses are gone now.

Virginia Coal Heritage Trail image

A remaining structure from the Toms Creek coal mine.

Nov. 2016 image by author

This really isn't an interesting photograph, but the subject is interesting. This houses is one of the last instances of a coal company building a residentail community for its employees. The year was 1952, and the Clinchfield Coal Company built a small housing development south of Pound, Virginia. They called it New Camp.

Nov. 2016 image by author

Another New Camp house along Route 23. 1952 was a very late date for a coal company to be building company houses.

Image courtesy of Annette Hall Fields

Beehive coke ovens at Dorchester, Va.

March 1961 image by Bill Gordon

Those same Dorchester ovens when they were still fired up at night.

Image source forgotten

Ancient photo of a now-vanished Dickenson County coal camp named Steinman. Steinman Coal Corp. opened the mines in 1918. A later operator was Ruth-Elkhorn Coals, Inc.

Nov. 2016 image by author

This idled coal loading facility was probably a casualty of the post-2008 wounding of the Central Appalachian coal industry.

Image by William Yearout

Altar made of coal in St. Anthony Catholic Church in Norton.

2017 image by author

You can tell Andover, Va. is a company town. But it's not a coal company town. Rather the Interstate Railroad built the houses for its employees. Andover was also the location of an important rail yard, which is still in operation.

2017 image by author

This pillar at the Andover train yard still says, "I.R.R." Interstate Railroad.

2017 image by author

Coal being loaded into rail cars at Andover.

2017 image by author

Monument to Sam Church in Louis E. Henegar Miners Memorial Park in Appalachia.

2017 image by author

Historic coal mining equipment displayed in Henegar Park. An actual loaded coal train is in the background (not part of the park).

2017 image by author

This little fan in Henegar Park is the smallest coal mine fan I've ever seen.

Nov. 2016 image by author

This loadout is located at the site where Clinchfield Coal Company's Moss No. 1 prep plant used to sit. Red arrow points to a part of the conveyor that was part of the original Moss No. 1 mine. In 1959 Moss No. 1 was the 5th largest producing coal mine in America.

Nov. 2016 image by author

"Helper" locomotive still sitting around the end of the tracks where Moss No. 1 was located.

Nov. 2016 image by author Another view of the latter day loader where the Moss No. 1 plant used to sit.

2017 image by author

Mountaintop removal coal mine near Pardee.


Wolfe, Ed. Coal Camps, Tipples and Mines. Walsworth Publishing Co., 2005.

Torok, George D. A Guide To Historic Coal Towns of the Big Sandy River Valley. University of Tennessee Press, 2004.