Below is the section of the Byway discussed in the Dickenson County meeting.
Primary coal sites are noted on the map.
As one enters Dickenson County from Buchanan, just past Breaks Interstate Park, there is a pull-off that includes a "Dickenson County" welcome sign, an interpretive sign for the Crooked Road Music Trail which starts at this location and a tourist information kiosk.
Please Note: The kiosk will be an excellent location to feature a map of the Coal Heritage Trail along with brochures and information about the byway.
There is also a walking trail down to Mill Rock Point Overlook, a breathtaking view overlooking the site where many millstones were carved out of the layered sandstone found at its base.
Foundation remains next to the New People's Bank in Haysi of Splashdam Lumber Company. The Italians cut the stone for the building just past town hall. There are rock carvings above Haysi. Need to find out more. Recommendation: Use the pavilion to provide interpretive displays describing the lumber camps, Splashdam Coal Camp, and the multiple floods in this area. Also include a list of the businesses that have stayed despite the flooding.
Pavilion overlooking the river
Splashdam Coal Camp once included a company store, chuch/school, barber shop, community center. (DaveYates is looking for a photo of Splashdam Camp)
Row of houses along the river then two more rows up the side of the hillside.
A number of low water bridges and a railroad trestle.
Gas explosion in '32 killed ten people.
IMMEDIATE ACTION: Efforts should be made immediately to purchase these items and keep them in the area.
The Coal Trail Railroad Museum & Red Caboose B & B provide wonderful information on both rail and coal as well as a unique lodging experience. But both are in the process of being closed. Items in the museum are already being sold and the Red Caboose B & B is currently open but if an offer is made to purchase the cars, it too will close. This would be a tremendous loss to the region and in particularly to the Byway itself. Action should be taken immediately or both will experience a similar fate as the Dennis Reedy Coal Museum as noted below.
Located one mile before Clinchco, the Steinman Camp had a bucket line in which the mine was high up on the mountain. The crews would fill up buckets and send them down the cable and across the river to the tipple. Sometimes they would put a man in the buckets to grease the cables. Was that ever a site to see! Recommendation: An interpretive sign needs to be added either at the site or a site nearby providing photos and telling the story.
Dennis Reedy Coal Museum in the original post office now closed and all sold on ebay. Terrible loss for the byway.
The mines brought in workers from all over the world including Italian, Portugese, and Germans. Old Post Office which was once used as the Company offices still stand.
There is an oven the Italians used to bake bread behind a home in Clinchco. Two beehive ovens are buried nearby.
The AppalShop in Whitesburg has interview video on Clinchco completed a number of years ago.
New Camp - old mining camp built in the early 20s. Excellent example of coal camp homes. Railroad house of the Depot agent also remains.
Recommendation: Interpretation of this mining community should be added. Ample room for pull-off and interpretive sign.
Just past New Camp is a railroad tunnel on the left. This needs a coal heritage site location sign drawing people to look to the left. May need some vegetation cleared periodically to ensure visibility of the tunnel.
Riverside Grocery Store - owned by the Molinary boys. Three generations of the Molinary's, an Italian faily, owned the Store.
The store has everything and is a must stop along the route.
Prior to this, it was the 3rd Piggly Wiggly built in Virginia. The first was Kenny's Piggly Wiggly in Wise and the second was the Piggy Wiggly in Norton.
This community also had the 1st television store in the region, 2 car dealerships, a hardware store, restaurant with pool hall in the basement.
Miners often paid in silver dollars - stories of bringing bags of payroll by train and having the bags of payroll by trail and having the bags split as they were unloaded due to the sheer weight of the coins.
Recommendation: Ask the Molinary's if some interpretive information might be located at the Riverside Grocery which includes photos of the old store and all the other businesses that once were located nearby.
Just past the store and around the bend is an excellent example of a swinging bridge. Excellent location for interpretive information on the swinging bridges with photos of some that still exist along the route and their locations. Ample pull off to park and take photos.
Recommendation: Ask if we might add interpretive sign at this location.
In McClure, the old Binns Conts Community Center which opened in the 80s was considered neutral territory during the strikes in the 80s. Miners used it as their base. During the strike, one of the sisters were arrested when she was only delivering food and water to one of the miners? (Check on this)
McClure Mine 1 exploded in the early 80s killing 10 people including the first woman miner to be killed. Can one take the 1 mile hike up to the mine, and if they do, is there anything to see?
Photos of both the strike and Cat, the first woman miner to be killed are located in the building which is now being used as the McClure River Valley Development Center.
Recommendation: This should be a site on the tour in interpret the strikes take place in the 70's and 80's. Contacts: Gay (276) 835-8774; Mary Lovall Hay (276) 865-4959. NOTE: Call Loyall on upcoming meetings in Buchanan.
McClure was also the home to the Ritter Circle Lumber Supply Company. The entire region is rich in logging history. Could be a located to tell the story of before the railroad, logs were cut and sent down the river to Elkhorn and Catlynburg. A few of the logging towns included Haysi, Bartlick and McClure.
Interesting stories of how they held the logs back by a dam then opened the dam (often dynamiting it) to release the logs and send them down river where they were caught in Elkhorn and loaded on the trains. (Contact Carl Rose on history of lumber.)
The Stratton Mining Camp was a mile past McClure but not much remains. Past Stratton were the Nora and the Wakenva mining camps.
Fremont Railroad Depot was moved from its original location and has now been converted into a PSA office. Interpretive sign? Also believe there is a Fremont Company sign nearby.
A coal mining town that was built by the Virginia Banner Coal Corporation in 1917. Entire town was sold at an auction. Many of the coal miners brought back their homes at that time. Still remaining are numerous coal camp houses, the Coal Company Store, Superintendent's home and boarding house.
This area has the potential to be renovated. Wait much longer and the buildings will no longer be standing.
Highly recommend preserving and interpreting this coal camp.
Also site of the last spike laid on the Clinchfield Railroad in 1915 - Dennis Reedy may have more on this. Spearheading efforts to save community - contact Charlotte Mullins.
Recommendation of people to interview about the region for oral history:
Annetta Belcher (276) 865-5401
Mary & Gay in McClure about the strikes in the 80s
Cultural: The many coal company plays that were put on throughout the mountains.
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