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Then And Now

From time to time, someone will ask us to describe Coalwood today (2007) versus Coalwood in the heyday of the Rocket Boys (late 1950s).  Here is a summary:

Late 1950s 2013
Olga was a working coal mine providing employment to many people. The coal mine closed down in the late 1980s.  There are no coal-mining jobs in Coalwood.
There were several businesses in town: Country Corner [gas station and convenience store], Big Store, several Little Stores, doctor's office, dentist's office. All businesses are closed except the Country Corner.  The Big Store was torn down.  The Little Stores are gone.
The Clubhouse provided housing to single miners. The Clubhouse is abandoned and boarded up.
The apartments in Coalwood Main provided housing. The apartments are abandoned and boarded up.
The Methodist Church in Coalwood Main was in operation. The Methodist Church in Coalwood Main is still in operation.
Automation in coal mines was still in its early days. Coal mining is heaving automated, drastically reducing the number of people needed to work in the mines.
Most of the people who worked in Coalwood worked in the Olga mine or in support operations such as the Big Store, accounting, the Clubhouse, etc. Most of the people in Coalwood are retired and getting on in age.  A few people live in Coalwood and work in some of the other coal mines in McDowell County.
The Coalwood School was operational. The Coalwood School burned down and stands in ruins.
High school students were bused to Big Creek High School in War. Big Creek High School is closed.
A railroad line ran into Coalwood from the north. There is no railroad line.
Olga #1 tipple was a prominent structure located beside WV 16. The tipple is gone, and the mine shaft has been sealed.
The Hickam House (surrounded by the famous white picket fence) was across the street from the Country Corner. The Hickam House (surrounded by a chain-link fence) is across the street from the Country Corner.
There were a lot more homes than today. Several floods over the years have destroyed a lot of the homes in Coalwood.
There was a working United States post office in Coalwood. The post office is closed and boarded up.  Mail is delivered from Welch.
The area that is Cape Coalwood today was a good-sized slate dump. The slate dump has been mostly removed and the forest has reclaimed much of the area.
The road from Coalwood to Welch was narrow. The road has been widened in many places and is much safer.
The people in Coalwood are proud. The people in Coalwood are proud.