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Monday, May 23, 2011

That's My World Tuesday: Beckley Ehibition Coal Mine

We recently went on a vacation to the West Virginia mountains and when one of the days was too rainy to hike, we visited the Beckley Exhibition Coal mine.

It was just as well that we had a day in between hike days because I needed some recovery time physically and there is a lot to see in the Beckley area.
The part where you go into the mine, you ride on cars along the tracks and we had a very interesting miner giving historical information while we were down in the mine.
The shot above includes the coal camp church and the gray building is a mining family house. They have restored coal camp buildings to give visitors an idea of what life was like. On the far right of the picture you can see part of the children's museum.
I noticed several birds on the cross above and below is a closeup of one of them. After hearing how down in the mine canaries were used in the past so that miners would know they had just enough time to get out if the canary died due to lack of oxygen, I was happy seeing that birds were flying freely around the restored camp.
Maybe they should have a statue to commemorate the canaries who saved lives and incorporate bird seed for the visiting birds. Just a thought.
The shot above and below are inside the gray restored mining family house.
The next shot is of a bachelor miner's dwelling which is very sparse.
Below is a a shot of the outside of the superintendent's house which is larger than it looks in this shot.
There is enough room in that house to show the kitchen, parlor, dining room and several bedrooms and also have a reproduction of a one room school house, doctor's office, barber, post office etc in the same building.
It is interesting how they give an idea of a traditional mine camp from a former era.
The shot below is a child's room in the superintendent's house and included toys etc but I couldn't get a shot of the whole room. It struck me that the child's room in this house was much larger than the whole house the bachelor minor's were provided with.
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Judy said...

When we would go to NC, I loved seeing a few of the coal mining towns as we drove through them. I want to head back down there again just so we can see this.

Penelope Notes said...

Such an informative post, Carver. You made some interesting observations about life in this harrowing occupation during those times. It takes a special kind of bravery, and perhaps need, to enter into those tunnels. In some ways the world above looks idyllic. But the inequalities (still experienced today) are clear in many ways, including the size of the rooms. A tiny statue to the birds is a brilliant thought. In fact, I can easily imagine one sitting on the coal miner’s shoulder!

Anonymous said...

I love visiting places liek this one. I went to visit a gold mine once. We never got to ride the carts :(

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of mining area and it has been preserved well.

Sylvia K said...

What a fascinating and interesting post, Carver! I think a monument to those birds is a wonderful idea! I have a little problem with small, confined areas and I'm not sure I would have survived very long in that atmosphere! Your photos are superb as is the information you've shared with us! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!


Sivinden said...

Intersting reading and informative pictures.

Al said...

Very interesting, and nice photos. I'd love to go down in a mine one day.

Ebie said...

Its worth preserving this beautiful landmark. I remember the flat irons used before.

Barbara said...

A really interesting place to visit, I really don't know how they coped underground all day but I guess they had to go to earn money. Great shots of the area.

Karen said...

An interesting tour, thanks for sharing.

fjÀllripan said...

So interesting to go and look inside this old houses, I like the church very much. Have a nice day!

Kay L. Davies said...

This is fascinating, Carver. The wood-and-coal-burning stoves, the iron bedsteads, the kettles, pots and pans remind me of things my grandparents had when I was a small child.
It's hard to believe the size (or lack of it) of the bachelor miners' homes, however. They worked so hard and had nothing but a tiny room to greet them at the end of a day below ground.
I agree about the bird statues! So many little creatures were sacrificed.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

SandyCarlson said...

That is a spotless home, modest yet so very inviting. What a great place to visit. Gives me a whole new appreciation of what these guys went/go through. Thanks.

Lesley said...

This was an interesting tour. I like your observation that the child's room was larger than the single miner's house. There really were few jobs that could have been worse than a miner's, I think.

Indrani said...

Interesting peep in to their life, Great way to keep their memories live. I am reminded of the salt mine I visited near Salzburg.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather was a coal miner. He had great stories, but he never talked much about the mining itself.

I'll have to look for this next time I'm in West Virginia.


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