Sad News: The Big Store in Coalwood was torn down on March 29, 2008, by the owners of the historic Coalwood properties, Alawest. You can see photos and read more about this on David Goad's web site: www.coalwoodmemories.com Click on "Company Store Now Gone," and be sure to look at all four pages of photos. Also, for an incredible video on the Big Store, please see Steve Date's web site: www.coalwoodmovie.com.
We'll go on a brief tour of Coalwood. We start on the south as we come in on West Virginia 16 from War and Caretta. We then move down Tipple Row, past the Coalwood School, down Main Street Row, into Coalwood Main, past Rev. Richard's Church and then to Cape Coalwood.
Entering on WV 16 from Caretta and War
Site of Tipple / Country Corner /
Hickam House / Substation Row
We are standing in the parking lot of the Country Corner. Across the street was the site of Olga Coal Company Tipple #1. Railroad tracks (coming in from the right and going to the tipple) used to run parallel to the road. There are a few tiny, abandoned buildings left on the tipple site, but most everything was torn down years ago. The road is WV 16. To the left, it crosses Coalwood Mountain heading for Caretta and War. To the right, a different road (McDowell County Road 2) leads into Coalwood Main. WV 16 turns at a right angle at this point and heads for Welch (directly behind where we are standing.) According to Coalwood historian David Goad, the tipple in Coalwood was torn down in 1959, and the Norfolk & Western Railroad began removing the tracks leading to the tipple in the same year.
This is a sign we found on the ground at the site of Olga Tipple #1.
This is the Country Corner. It is a small gas station and grocery store. The Country Corner is the only businesses still operating in Coalwood today.
Years ago, there used to be a Texaco station on the same corner where the Country Corner is today. If you have a copy of this paperback edition of Rocket Boys, you can see the Texaco sign on one corner and the Hickam house on the other.
Coalwood School (a.ka. Coalwood Junior)
During the 1950s and 1960s, Coalwood School was where grades 1 through 9 were taught. Of course, you have read about the Great Six who were teachers in grades one through six here! The school is no longer used and has suffered almost total destruction from fire and vandalism over the years.
|Above Left: we are standing on the side of the road between the Country Corner and Coalwood Main. Where we are standing is where the Norfolk & Western railroad lines ran down to the Olga #1 tipple. (The tipple would have been to our left.) During this time, there was a steel bridge that the students used to safely cross the road and the railroad tracks. The bridge would have been directly above where we are standing. There was also a road on the far side of the school that ran down to the general area of the tipple. This road was only for the adults to use.|
Here is the floor plan for Coalwood Junior.
Main Street Row
Many of the homes along this road were torn down after the major flood in May 2, 2002.
This is downtown Coalwood.
Coalwood Community United Methodist Church. This church was originally built by the coal company and has been various denominations over the decades. Today it is a Methodist church. The church is sometimes called the "Coalwood Community Church."
After the Community Center building was torn down, the people of Coalwood applied concrete to the floor and walls of the basement and turned them into the swimming pool you see above!
The Hatmaker House. If you have read The Coalwood Misfits, you'll remember the story of the day Clear Fork Creek flooded and got into the Hatmaker's house. We are standing in the park where the Space Shuttle is. Clear Fork Creek is directly behind us. When the flood occurred, the waters were well inside the first floor of the house.
Official Web Site of Homer Hickam
David Goad's site. Contains interesting historical photos of Coalwood.
Mark Crabtree's Photo Journal of his Visit to Coalwood in 1999
Has many black and white pictures. http://homepage.mac.com/crabtree/coalwoodp1.htm
Apple Computer's web site about Coalwood.
Compiled during the Second October Sky Festival.
Saturday, October 7, 2000.
History of Coalwood
Wikipedia Article on Coalwood