Appalachia, C&O Railroad, coal, Guyandotte River, Herald-Dispatch, history, Holden, Holden No. 22, Island Creek Coal Company, J.D. Francis, Logan County, Omar, Peytona Lumber Company, Tug Fork, West Virginia, Wiatt Smith, Y.M.C.A.
From a 1927 story printed in the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this interesting bit of history about Holden No. 22:
Island Creek Co. Plans Building of New Town
Contracts Will Be Let Within 30 Days For Houses, Highways and Also Tipple For Largest Mine In West Virginia, Says Vice President–May Spend $2,000,000.
Within the next year there will arise in one of the remote and hitherto inaccessible regions of Logan county, a new town. It will have a population approximating 2,000. It will have a Y.M.C.A., a community church, modern homes, paved streets, its own water system, electric lights–in fact, all of the modern conveniences. It will be connected by hard road with Logan, Holden and the great world beyond the mountains. At present, it has not even a name, writes Wiatt Smith for the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.
The new town is to arise at operation No. 22 of the Island Creek Coal Company.
Within the next 30 days, J.D. Francis, vice-president of the Island Creek Co., said Tuesday, contracts will be let for the erection of tipples, the building of houses, the paving of streets and the hard surfacing of seven miles of road which will connect the new community with Holden.
Operation No. 22 will represent when completed an additional investment on the part of Island Creek, ranging well beyond a million dollars, perhaps reaching two million, though Mr. Francis refused to hazard an estimate of definite figures.
For a number of months preparations for the opening of a new mine, which will be the largest in southern West Virginia, have been going forward. The two 400 foot shafts which will serve the mine are now nearly complete. The Chesapeake & Ohio is rapidly completing the four mile extension of the Pine creek branch which will provide an outlet for the coal produced. The Island Creek company is completing three miles of siding. Pete Minotti, the contractor, has finished grading the road from Holden to the mine.
By October, it is expected, the road will be surfaced, the town well under way and the great mine in operation. Output at the beginning will be small, as the number of workmen will be necessarily limited until the underground workings have been expanded by the removal of coal. The area to be worked is underlaid, experts say, with 50 or 60 million tons and the mining of the coal will, under normal conditions, require 50 years.
Work at the mine site in advance of the completion of the railroads has been made possible, Mr. Francis explained, by the use of the tram road of the Peytona Lumber company over which many thousands of tons of sand, gravel and supplies have been shipped. The completion of the railroad is awaited for the installation of the bulkier machinery and equipment.
The new rail extension will connect with the Chesapeake & Ohio’s Logan division main lines via Omar. The contact of the operative officials and the workers with the Island Creek center at Holden will be by means of the hard road, the construction of which, in itself represents something like an engineering adventure. For some three miles it follows the ridge that marks the crest of the watershed between the valleys of Guyandotte and Tug Rivers. Then it drops sharply to follow mountain side, hollow and creek valley to the mine operation.
Persons who have traveled the now graded road say that at points on the ridge it affords magnificent views which compare favorably with the most famous in the state. The road was graded and will be hard surfaced entirely at the expense of the coal company, which, in the preparations for its new development has followed the policy adopted many years ago when, upon the opening of its original operations, it established in Holden a mining community which was pointed out as a model throughout the United States.
Island Creek operation No. 22 will be the fifth shaft mine in West Virginia.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 25 March 1927.