VA: Pocahontas & Bramwell WV

Visiting Pocahontas, VA
Coopers and Bramwell, WV

Two Trips in June 2008

~~Ashland, WV~~

First trip was spent at the State Park campground outside of Wytheville, during which time we discovered Pocahontas accidentally. We were so intrigued by the town that we went back again 10 days later to spend more time there.

We stayed at the KOA in Ashland, WV
the second trip
(2009 - Name changed to Ashland Resort www.atvresort.com)
The campground had cabins for rent. too. That's our little camper way back there against the wall of the mountain.

The star at left is hanging from our camper. This is looking back to the entrance. We were joined the next day by tent campers.

~~Pocahontas, VA~~
This town was Virginia's first coal boom town. There are very few Americans who have not been touched by the far reaching influence of the Pocahontas Fuel Company which served nearly half of the country.
Pocahontas was developed in 1881-83. It wasn't simply a coal mining camp; it had a bustling business district and privately owned homes as well.


Interesting information regarding Pocahontas.

In 1903 the towns mine started making electricity from its coal. They began sharing this electricity with the town beginning in 1913. The town was also the first to have running water and the telephone.


Entering the town.The weather was mostly cloudy with some light rain during our second trip here.

The local Police Department. The town has a part-time cop who is a deputy sheriff for Tazewell County. He works in Pocahontas just 2 days a week!

Town Municipal Office - Built 1901 as the Bank of Pocahontas.
 
*This town appears to be on it's way to becoming one more Ghost Town, as seen in the following pictures.*


Next these buildings on the right will catch your eye. None of them are open or operating at this time. Silver Dollar Saloon/Cricket built in 1884.

Pocahontas once boasted 5,000 residents and a bawdy reputation. At this time however, it's population is approx 440!


~~THE COMPANY STORE~~
As you pass the Cricket and continue down the road, ahead of you, this huge building front appears. I said, "What is that!?" the first time we saw it on the beautiful, sunny Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend. We had to go through the town on our way to the Exhibition Coal Mine.

This was the Pocahontas Company Store built in 1893. The town was hoping to renovate it but it unexpectedly collapsed in April 2007.

A view of the building's front from inside. The company store once resembled our Walmart of today in that it sold everything from hay to furniture to groceries etc.


John viewing the far side of the store. We were really awed by the sight!

Looking into the back of the store which is still standing. These were once grocery isles by the blue poles on first floor.

The company store opened in 1883. It was owned by the Pocahontas Fuel Company which owned the coal mines and this was the first store that the Company ever built. The town's miners shopped here with their script, only good at the company store, with which they were paid for their work in the mines.

Consol took over Pocahontas Fuel in 1958 and kept the store open until 1980.


A pic I found online shows the store in the late spring of 2007 when it first collapsed. Town folks said that it collapsed during a heavy rain storm. "Suddenly there was a huge BOOM!....and it was gone!"
The remaining part of the back of the store with plywood showing. It was a long store.

Continuing up the block from the company store you see these iron front buildings. Pretty impressive since they were built in the late 1800's.

Here's the first building in the above row. Note that the roof and back of the building has collapsed! You can see that through the front left window.


View from the back. See the white banister and part of a stairway still standing? That's a huge piece of linoleum hanging from the upper floor to the right.

View of same row of buildings: Store on right end says "Squaw and Buck" on front, but the windows say "Meat Market" and "Beef-Pork". The animals were butchered behind the store and the meat sold inside!


Viewing same building from the side.
This store has also collapsed! The block was formerly full of stores, but they are long gone and these seem destined to follow suit.

Someone placed this very old vacuum cleaner in the window of the Meat Market! The handle going into the back of it looks like a small, three-pronged pitch-fork!

It's a 1923 Model-G Bee-Vac Electric Cleaner made by the Birtman Electric Co. in Chicago, IL. It's 110 volts and 1.5 amp.


The First United Methodist Church, still in use today. Next to it is the post office still serving the town today.


The main road through town is called Center Street. Looking back where we entered town by the Norfolk and Western Caboose at 7-acre Laurel Meadows Park


The original look of this 1894 building with stripes in the cement work. John is reading a plaque on the building which states: This Brick Office Building, built in 1894, was erected to provide accommodations for the Radford Trust Company - the first bank in the community, the Post Office, and the coal company doctors offices.


The only operating bank in town.

Structure built in 1893; currently vacant. Below is side view.

Several buildings ran along this block. Only the corner building remains.

NOTE BRICK ROAD. The old brick road is still here and all the way down the block. This is West St. Claire Street


All buildings on the opposite side of W. St. Claire St. are standing including the 1895 Opera House which ran many first rate Broadway Shows in addition to Opera. Beneath it was City Hall. The peak of the building reads "City Hall 1895".
The Opera House has been under renovation.


Next to the City Hall/Opera House building is the original Fire Department.
The new building is on a hill overlooking town.

This was one of the first banks in Pocahontas, the First National Bank. Next to it was the Flat Top Drug Company as shown BELOW in an old postcard found online showing the days when the road was a DIRT ROAD!

Walking back up W. St.Claire Street and crossing Center Street is East Saint Claire Street and the following:
The Indian Princess Apartments shown from the front above and side below is a nice looking building in the middle of this deteriorating town.


East St. Claire St. continues across from the apartments where there is a partial brick road. The last standing building on that side is also collapsing.

This building also has an iron front topper. You can see through the left lower window that the roof and second floor has fallen in.



~~Pocahontas Library~~
The American Legion Post No.14 (left) and the Emma Yates Memorial Library opened in 1987 as a Public Library for the town. It was once the home and milliner shop of Miss Emma Yates, who died in 1954. This is another iron front building.


View looking into the long narrow library.
That's my new Pocahontas online friend Nancy in the white top :)


John at the Library's front desk getting some information for me.

Past the library is West Church St and Butt & Co. Coffins. Building is "a locked treasure trove of dusty history." William Butt was a cabinetmaker persuaded to build coffins after an explosion killed 114 miners in 1884. His grandson, Dr. Tom Butt, born and raised in Pocahontas, and a retired dentist in Wytheville, plans to restore and open this shop.


Also on W. Church St. is the former Jewish Synagogue (right), built in early 1900's. This building reflects the rich European culture found throughout the coal fields. It currently has a "Harvest Time Church" sign on it.

The high school's symbol painted on Center St. and a couple of the town buildings.



We're back on Center St from W. Church St facing endless steps up the steep hill.

Building on corner was once the Church of Christ built in 1924. All that remains besides the plaque showing above and the lower brick walls around it.


Empty old hotel. Etched in top cement is "M. Russak" who originally owned the building.



Standing in front of the hotel looking back towards town. The hills are fierce here and perhaps that is what might have killed off a lot of the residents who once had to walk up and down them? :)


The railing of the endless stairs continues upwards! It was too overgrown to walk on but we'd already found the was road easier on our knees and legs.


The front porch collapsed. You could see a couch and other furnishings still inside this old house. Might have been a foreclosure.


Another large abandoned old building. Might have been one of the rooming houses the coal company built for the single men mine workers.


Would you look at how steep the road is here? Another abandoned home.


An old fire hydrant. A newer one was installed close by, but this was neat to see!


There are several houses with this old fashioned type shingle on them.


Another shingle with the once popular colors of pink/gray in the early 50's. Wonder how early this type of shingle came into production.


A double bin for coal storage for residents. The coal company kept them filled for free as one of the "perks" provided to the miners.


An old, well kept duplex, probably also built by the coal company since they built duplexs for miners and their families in addition to small, four room houses.


The Pocahontas Baptist Church, open for service.

There are so many churches in this town, and their denominations attest to it's diversity of immigrants who came to this town to mine and live. Many came here right off the boats at Ellis Island, NY, unable to speak English in most cases.


The Pocahontas Presbyterian Church on Powell St


The old bell on the Pocahontas Presbyterian Church above


Standing inside the gate of the Presbyterian church, you can see the Episcopal Church with red door and to it's right the Baptist Church. Three churches in one small area!


This is a row of old duplex homes built by the coal company. They are in various stages of decay though one at the far end and most on the other side of the street have been maintained. They are over a hundred years old.

To continue on this block, you must begin climbing steps, steps and more steps! Yes, we followed them to the top, to my husband's dismay! Two flights of stairs are visible. There's a third flight as well.

This was the third level of steps leading up to the next road. Heavily shaded, they look so pretty sprouting this green growth.



When you finally reached the road at the top of all the stairs, you see St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church above you and one more set of stairs to reach the church on foot!
Built by a French priest and originally populated by Hungarian immigrants, it is still open for Sunday services and features ten murals on its ceiling and walls.




Looking to the right of the church is another path leading up the hill. Three houses built into the mountain. I find it amazing to see houses built on steep hills like this (as I lived on fairly flat Long Island, NY most of my life).

Cute birdhouse in a front yard. A tiny bird flew out when I walked up to it. Had a great conversation with the woman who owns it. She said it always contains birds and told us many things about the town.



A pretty house in town



Sign for the below building, which is the only B & B in Pocahontas



A cement bridge crosses the creek from the main road to houses on the other side.



After crossing the bridge, there's this turnstile gate across the walkway in front of the houses! How unusual. It is not locked and adds a "unique touch" to the area.



The unoccupied large, beautiful Jesus Christ - The Chief Cornerstone Community Church built in 1927 on Boissevain Road.



~~POCAHONTAS HIGH SCHOOL
~~
A LOSS TO THE COMMUNITYPocahontas High, with a total enrollment 186 in grades 6 through 12, shut its doors at the end of the 2008 school year after 99 years of operation. Most students will now travel close to an hour to school on winding roads in this rugged coal-mining region along the West Virginia line.

The school had a varsity football program. Their mascot was the Indians.



Closing Pocahontas High may be one more step toward erasing a community that was put on the map for coal miners in the 19th century and once boasted 5,000 residents.



Looking past the main entrance at right towards the school auditorium



Outdoor clock over the auditorium doors


~~Pocahontas Cemetery~~ 
This cemetery is over 200 years old.

The trees around the entire outside edge of the cemetery are painted white like this. I don't know why, but suspect it has something to do with reflecting the sharp curves in the road ahead which actually form a horseshoe around the cemetery property.

The cemetery sits on a hill with deep slopes on both sides. That's John.


Some of the oldest grave markers have broken or are falling apart as above. Volunteers try to patch and repair them, but there are so many needing attention or were repaired once but have broken again.



Here's one of many old vaults broken apart. I looked inside but it was too dark to see anything. So I stuck my camera up to the hole and snapped a picture......see below:




To my surprise, the flash lit up inside the vault and I was able to get a clear picture even though it was so dark in there! Looks like a steel coffin housing the original coffin set deep down inside the vault.


An old grave of a young 22 yr old soldier with his picture still intact. I saw several monuments with spaces where missing pictures had been at one time.


Close up of the photo. Monument reads, "Pvt. Nicholaum Footo - Born Jan. 6, 1896 - Died Sept. 10, 1918 while serving in the medical corps with American expeditionary forces"


More vaults and monuments, several broken, including the vault's covers.




A horrible explosion in one of the mines killed 114 miners. It is said that the numbers are probably much higher since many miners brought their children with them to work in the mines. A miner's widow had 6 weeks to either vacate the coal company home she lived in or marry another miner!


Way down on the opposite side of the hill is a section of very old graves. Many are just rough stones set into the ground marking a grave once known to the family of the deceased but unidentifiable to anyone else many years later.


A beautiful monument erected in 1903 for Mary Barrett which is still in perfect condition. It's a pedestal with tasled covering and a bible resting on top of it.


These graves were all "tinted" with the green growth present in such places where the sun never falls upon them. They were beneath a large evergreen tree in year round shade.



~~Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine~~
In 1938, it was the first mine in the nation opened to the public for tours.
A view of the stone powerhouse at the site of the Pocahontas No. 1 mine. This was the first commercial mine opened in the Pocahontas Coalfield (VA and WV). The building now serves as a museum, educational room and souvenir shop.


The mine entrance for the tour is through what was once the fan house. A huge fan sat in this opening blowing fresh air into the mine.



John heading into the mine.
At one time people drove cars through this tourist attraction, as the Pocahontas No. 3 coal seam here is 13 feet height. But now the tour guide just walks visitors through it.


Although the entrance is tall and wide, the reality of having 260 feet of black mountain pressing down on you is impossible to ignore. It was a cool 46 degrees inside the mine.

*Buckingham Palace has always been partial to Pocahontas/Bramwell's coal and to this day imports it because it burns hotter and cleaner than English coal.*


View of a branch off to the side showing where miners once worked using only a pick and hammer for tools. A miner had to provide his own tools, coveralls and boots.


Full coal cars had to be piled high. They were to pass under a beam on the way out and if the beam did not sheer off the top of the coal, a miner was not paid for that car load!



Our tour guide shows us a mine car used to take miners deep into the mine. They laid on their backs with knees drawn up, several deep inside the part of the car where she is shining her light. Only supervisors and managers could ride on top of the car!



Later, machines came to be used in the mines. Here's a old cutting machine which looks like a hedge trimmer on the one end - visible in the background.

*Tens of thousands of miners lost their jobs to machines in the 1950s. Within just a few years, automatic loading machines eliminated most of WV mining jobs.*
The other end of the cutter had a spinning blade also used for cutting.



Above is a petrified log embedded in the coal ceiling.

*The Pocahontas coalfields were favored by the US Navy because it produced a unique white smoke that was virtually invisible to the enemy*


The ceiling also exposed several fish fossils and a snake


An old loader is shown above used for loading the coal into the cars.

We were given so much great information about so many things that it's hard to remember it all! I need a Refresher Tour! :)


This round circle in the ceiling, partially bolted to keep it in place, is called a kettle bottom which is a smooth, rounded piece of rock, cylindrical in shape, which may drop out of the roof of a mine without warning, sometimes causing serious injuries and death to miners.

The origin of this feature is thought to be the remains of the stump of a tree that has been replaced by sediments so that the original form has been rather well preserved.


Photo on the wall showing more modern equipment cutting through the coal.

Machines generally made mines safer, however, large loading machines had the unexpected side effect of generating more coal dust than hand-loading tools. Existing mine ventilation had been established for lower coal dust levels. As a result, miners began developing black lung, a deadly breathing disorder.




Cap light battery charger in the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine bathhouse. It also served to show what miners had returned from the mines and who was still in them as each miner was assigned a numbered light with a corresponding number on it matching it's charger socket above.


A showing of accidents that happened in the mine. A page was filled out for each accident reporting the names of people involved, location in the mine and what happened.




Here's a close up of part of one report complete with diagrams of the accident viewed from above and from the side. Four miners were passing through a room when a huge kettle bottom fell, killing one of the miners. Names have been crossed out. They needed a resident artist for these!


Looking into the changing and showering room used by the miners. The showers were behind the white walls. They contained a row of poles with shower heads at the top around which a circle of miners stood to shower. 200 miners at a time would shower and change in here after a shift!


A close up of one of the baskets used for holding a miner's clean clothes and hanging his boots and coveralls before hoisting up to the ceiling before and after their shift. The mining company provided workers with hot showers after each workday, a rare commodity in those days.



Apparently at least two miners shared each basket, using two hooks each and placing clean clothes together in the basket. This one was hanging low for us to view.



Standing inside the shower wall looking towards a row of shower pipes at one end. The upper section and shower head are missing, but this gives you an idea of how it was set up.

To prevent athletes foot problems, this rectangular area was filled with sulfa, vinegar and water for the miners to step into entering and exiting the shower.


View towards the far wall of the shower. Only a few stumps from pipes remains.

The mining company also extended the privilege of hot showers on Saturday nights to the entire town at no cost! The towns men, women and children all came for these warm showers each week.

In 1903 the mine started making electricity from its coal. They began sharing this electricity with the town beginning in 1913. 

NOTE: we went back again to Pocahontas and were given a tour inside many of these buildings!  I will add those pictures eventually.....

~~Coopers, WV~~
Located between Pocahontas and Bramwell
The wooden bridge crossing the river and above that the currently used railroad bridge. I spotted the little church and old store from the main road and wanted to see them up close.


Trying to find another way into Cooper's because we weren't sure the wooden bridge was a vehicle bridge! Lowest bridge in the distance is the wooden bridge. That's the old railroad bridge John's truck is going under. Crossing above it is the currently used railroad bridge. It was so scenic and beautiful right here!
The old railroad bridge was built in 1916.


Landmark Bible Church, formerly Coopers Methodist Church, was built in 1910. Original church was built 1884 and stood on hillside at mouth of Coopers Hollow. Because of the difficult climb to that first church the above church was built. The former church was given to the black community of Coopers to serve as their school. Services are still held here.


Mill Creek Coal and Coke Company Store built in 1924 to replace the original store built in 1888. It also housed the town's post office. The store closed in early 1950's and at one time was occupied by a garment factory.



While we were standing in Cooper's, a train came through! This was part of the Memorial Day weekend when it was beautiful and sunny.


I love the look of these cement columns supporting the new railroad bridge.



We saw a car entering Coopers cross this bridge so now we knew it was safe to drive on. Leaving town, we drove across the wooden bridge.




~~Bramwell, WV~~ 

The Coal Barons Town, Settled in the 1800'sWas home to as many as 13 millionaires at one time.

The town was first known as Horse Shoe Bend in the early 1800s because the Bluestone River surrounds the town in a horseshoe bend fashion.

The town is located eight miles north of Bluefield, WV, adjacent to Route 52.
Entering the town. See the light gray stone building on right side of the road all the way down the block? That's Bramwell Bank. The bank's janitor regularly transported leather bags filled with money by wheelbarrow down the street to the train depot, the corner of which you see here!

At one time, the Norfolk and Western Railroad had 14 trains a day stopping in Bramwell. The town is now hoping to open a special run from Bramwell to Pocahontas on a regular basis.


The original train depot had been torn down in the 1950s. Using old photographs and building plans, the town rebuilt the depot as it once looked. It opened in 2005. It houses a museum for Bramwell and coal mining memorabilia plus a Visitor's Center.


~~~The Cooper House~~~ 
This magnificent Edward Cooper House was built in 1910, by the son of John Cooper who started the Mill Creek mine in 1884, the first mine on the WV side of the Pocahontas coalfield.

The first wagon of coal from the rich Pocahontas coalfield was hauled from the community in 1884, when John Cooper opened the Mill Creek Coal and Coke Co. shown previously in the Coopers pictures


Two goldfish ponds flank the sidewalk leading to the massive entry door. Inside, delicate gingerbread trim softens the heavy hand-carved staircase, illuminated by a Tiffany stained-glass window.


Rear view of the Cooper HouseThe home's orange Normandy brick was imported from England, as were many of its furnishings. The home's solid copper roof was one of the first of its kind in the United States. (Note chimney on the right with a small tree growing out of it!)


This shows the details of the copper roof. The same pattern also covers the roof of the huge house.


The same Normandy yellow brick is used in other buildings on the grounds, including the one above housing an apartment above the garage below.

NOTE: On another visit to Bramwell, we met the original owners granddaughter Kelly who lives in the house with her family.  She talked with us and also show us the pool house!  Hope to post those pics soon.....


Opposite the Cooper House is the town's stores. The first building is the historic Pence Hotel which is undergoing stabilization in preparation for restoration.


The old theater - used today for plays and singers/musicians



Victorian Elegance Apartments
Mendel Abrahamson and his family lived upstairs while they operated the Abrahmson store on Main Street also shown below left.




*Bramwell is believed to be the first U.S. town with electric streetlamps.*
These are the original lights you see in the pictures. Bramwell also had its own water company, electric company, phone company and a weekly newspaper!


~~The Post Office~~

24 comments:

Michael Tabor said...

Hello Yvonne,
These photos of Pocahontas are some of the best I have seen on-line.
My name is Michael Tabor and I live in Indiana. I am working on a project about the Hungarian immigrants of Poca.
I am asking for your help. I would like your permission to use some of your photos in my project. I would give you credit for each photo used like "Courtesy of Yvonne _____" or what ever format you prefer. This is your intellectual property and I will not use them without your permission. If you grant pemrission it would be most helpful to my project.
You can email directly MOTABOR@SBCGLOBAL.NET or respond here if you prefer.
Thanks,
All my best,
Michael Tabor

Anonymous said...

I am hoping to visit Pocahontas soon. My grandmother, and two siblings, were born there around 1890, after her father came there from Hungary to work in the mines. They left around 1898 and moved went to Connecticut. Her mother's brother and his family moved with them. I only learned this part of our family history a few years ago. It is sad to see in your pictures how beautiful and progressive the town must have been once. It is a shame it is all being allowed to rot. Thanks for such a comprehensive picture tour! Patty

Yvonne said...

Hi Patty! Sorry I took so long to reply to your nice note above - I was in the hospital for most of August. How interesting about your family. So much of the town is already gone and the rest will follow shortly. We've seen the difference in a few years. I agree, it's a shame but there just isn't work in the area that would allow the place to survive. Thanks for writing and I am glad you liked the pictures. I have more to add - just never got to update it with additional pictures we took there a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Tammy my mother grew up there and I live nearby now is there anyway I could contact you to pretty much give you some more info/insight on some of the buildings? My email is tes42590@yahoo.com

Ray's Mom said...

Beautiful photos of a long ago society of industrious people. Enjoyed the guided tour.

justiceforraymond said...

Beautiful pictures of a long ago society of industrious people

justiceforraymond said...

Beautiful pictures of a long ago society of industrious people

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pictures. My grandparents lived there from the time they came from NY through Ellis Island. They lived across the sidewalk and steps from the catholic church. Both were from Hungry and came in 1903. He was a tin smith and did roofs and steeples as well as plumbing. My dad and his 3 brothers and 6 sisters were born there. I was born there as well. The pictures are great. I am a driect decendent of some of the hungarian immigrants. Again thank you....Susan Nagy West

Sebastian Dattolico said...

Excellent presentation of Pocahontas and the area near Pocahontas. Good photos depiction of the Pocahontas Cemetery. That is where my uncle was buried March 17, 1910. Section 7, Lot 67. We were there to mark the grave site several years ago but had no luck acct the map to the cemetery was lost or destroyed many years ago. Uncle had been killed by slate fall in a mine in Coaldale, WV and buried after a St Patrick's day funeral at St Elizabeth's. Since 1910 he had layed there lost to our family after immigrating from Italy a few years prior. But think you for these pictures.

Ruth Ann Ballard said...

Thank you for the wonderful photos of Pocahontas. My husband was born there in 1942. If you haven't seen it, you might enjoy the documentary "Between Two Hills." This is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElftxR80_go

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful information! I grew up in nearby Falls Mills and am ashamed to say I never knew a lot of this history!

Alyce Blevins said...

Hello Yvonne, It's good to see so many pictures from this ended era. I'm sorry to see so many buildings and a way of life that made a living for a lot of folks to end. I entered a few I took but these are a lot better. I really enjoyed seeing them. I was born and lived there growing up. I had to move away for work. I've missed quite a bit by leaving but you do what you need to. I lived in Red Lai Hollow. The road across from Pocahontas High School goes to this place. I hope to see more pictures. alyce54@facebook.com

Alyce Blevins said...

Hi Yuvonne, I'm Alyce Blevins. I grew up In Pocahontas, Virginia. I love these oictures. I didn't even know these places existed there. I'm wondering if I might be able to get the site address put on my Pocahontas site. This would be for easy access for me as much as anyone that may be interested in them. I love the history of old towns. I became interest ed in the mines because I had a grandfather die in one. My facebook address is:
alyce54@facebook.com I collect articles and information about these coal communities. I can't afford a camera like the one you took these pictures with. Mu pictures are dreary by comparison. I really like the information on this subject as well as the pictures, there awesome. Thank you, Alyce J. Blevins at 4ajblevins13@gmail.com. I also have a site address listed about the "coal" series that was on in my Pochantas sit Check it out on my face book page.

Yvonne said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR WONDERFUL COMMENTS! I have more pictures from a couple of years after these that I would like to add and hope to do that soon though I never seem to get to it somehow!!
I am so happy to hear from ALL OF YOU and to know that everyone enjoyed my pictures so much. It touched my heart and made me so glad I posted them. THANK YOU!

Yvonne said...

Posting this again in case it only went to one person: THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR WONDERFUL COMMENTS! I have more pictures from a couple of years after these that I would like to add and hope to do that soon though I never seem to get to it somehow!!
I am so happy to hear from ALL OF YOU and to know that everyone enjoyed my pictures so much. It touched my heart and made me so glad I posted them. THANK YOU!

Snookie said...

I am the niece of Ruth Ann Ballard who left you a comment in 2013. Anyway, her husband, my uncle, my mom and me were born in the same house on the first street on the road called Paradise, just before you get to the Exhibition Mine. And the picture of the Butt Coffin Co., to the left of it you will see a white fence and in the yard a swing set. I went to private kindergarten there. Miss Block was my teacher. The place where you say is a museum, back in the 40s, 50s and 60s and maybe even in the 70s, it used to be the warehouse for the coal company. The men who worked in there would save sturdy appliance boxes for me to use as a playhouse. My grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Okla James Ballard and they lived in the first house on the block, and we could see the warehouse from the back yard. Mrs. Ballard was one of the residents of the town who had lived there the longest. Your pictures are great. And the one showing The Cricket...my step father was born in the apartment above the saloon in 1931. His father worked in the saloon which his brother Steve owned at the time. It wasn't too long after that when they bought some land to farm and build on Peel Chestnut Mountain and raised a family of 11 kids there. Some of the family still live there today. Oh, I have a ton of stories about Pocahontas. Those are just a few. And I have tons of pictures taken in and around Pokey. This is a great link to visit. Thank you for sharing it.

Yvonne said...

Snookie!---what wonderful info you gave me. How interesting. I love knowing every little thing about Pocahontas so it is great to hear from you. I cannot imagine living there or imagine the changes that took place over years in that town. It's a shame that, block by block, it is literally falling down and disappearing. It's been a few years now since we were there last, but every time we went, more buildings were caving in. Most "recently" at that time was the strip of stores across from the Post Office. When we first saw them they had displays in the windows that were interesting. Finally, the roof fell in to the point that the displays were removed for safekeeping. It won't be too much longer before it's just a front standing there---IF that even remains. That's so cool about the Cricket! Amazing. So glad someone apparently purchased and saved those buildings on that side of the street - though it seems they are just going to waste these years as there's never anyone in them (closed). Thanks for your compliment on my pics. I appreciate that very much. What fun it must be to see your pictures!! too bad you can't share them online - scan and post at a site. Many would like to see them, I am sure. But info should also be posted about each - like the things you told me above. LOVE IT ALL. Thanks again for writing!

Anonymous said...

I just found your pictures. My family is from Pocahontas and Boissevain. I have many wonderful memories of my early childhood living is the beautiful area. We moved away after my Dad was trapped in amine explosion. I went to the movies there and we shopped at the company store. I still have cousins and family in the area Linda Gravely Nemes

margaret shumate harrison said...

What a great walk down memory lane. I left Pocahontas in 1967 my senior year. My father was the funeral director Barnes Shumate .I have been back twice . Looking at the wonderful pictures have brought back lots of . memories. Thank you so much
MARGARET SHUMATE HARRISON
Staunton va

Unknown said...

Just found this site on 13 July 2016. Pocahontas was my home from 1946 until December 1959 when my parents moved us to Florida. Mines had closed and jobs were scarce. That said, Pocahontas will always be home and I will be visiting there myself in August. Thanks so much for posting these. You said you had more, would love to see them.

Yvonne said...

To the poster of 7-14-16, so glad you liked the pictures. I do have more but never seem to have the time to put them up! I'm afraid you are going to be a bit shocked when you go back for a visit. Every year, more buildings fall. Last time we were there we were sorry to see the collapsing and deterioration of the stores that ran up the hill next to the Company store, which crashed just before we found Pocahontas. That was several years ago we were there last, and I can't imagine them now if they didn't tear them down for safety sake. Be prepared for a shock and you probably still will be blown away. It's a shame what has happened to these once thriving mining towns.

Yvonne said...

TO MARGARET who commented 3.24.15....sorry for no reply. I meant to! Glad you like the pictures. Pocahontas really touched my heart and I'd love to share the rest of my pics from last visit one day. You grew up in a special place...and those days were special too...1964, the same year I graduated living on Long Island, NY, a very different place than WV! ;) Thank you for your comment!

Yvonne said...

Annoy out poster of 12-27-14....wow! That's awful. You must have mixed feelings when seeing the pictures. Thank you for your comments..

Yvonne said...

TO ALL WHO POSTED PREVIOUSLY TO WHICH I FAILED TO REPLY, I APOLOGIZE! A busy life has kept me away from posting on my blog as well as FB and posting pics there in albums.....though not the Pocahontas ones. I appreciate hearing from everyone and it always makes me smile and warms my heart when a note from someone,pops up in my mail. Pocahontas is my most commented on post!!! THANK YOU AGAIN.....I APPRECIATE YOU ALL.