Nuttalburg Coal Mine
Starting in the 1870s the New River Gorge was active coal producing region well into the middle of the 20th century. Supported by the railroad that ran along the river, more than 60 towns and mine complexes were perched on the cliffs on both sides of the New River. As the mines were played out, one by one of the mines closed and the people who lived in the towns moved on. Very little has survived as the mine structures and other buildings disintegrated and forests gradually reclaimed the land and most of the locations are not accessible.
One of the few coal mine remnants that are accessible in the New River Gorge is Nuttalburg. On my recent trip to southern West Virginia I found my way to the site to see what one of these actually looked like. Unfortunately, I neglected to grab a shot of the access road, which is not for the faint of heart! At one point the gravel two-track was so narrow that the bushes were rubbing the side of my car on both sides at the same time. And this is a two-way road! In any event I made it without mishap.
The site is maintained by the National Park Service and in recent years they have done some restoration and stabilization on the remaining structures. The mine ceased operation in 1958, which doesn’t seem like so long ago. But over the years since them, almost nothing is left of the town except for a few stone foundations and the massive chute that carried the coal from the mine headhouse to the tipple where the coal was loaded onto rail cars.
Here is what I found there.