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Bachman, West Virginia

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1913 USGS map showing location of Bachman
Map of 1903-04 shows the C&O's track complete to the Bachman vicinity but does not designate the town
Bachman was company owned mining town established during the early 1900s in the Lower New River Gorge. A 1903-04 map of the coal lease lands of the New River Coalfield does not show a mine at Bachman. The mine was likely opened about 1906-07 when the C&O completed the railroad bridge across New River near Sewell, which permitted the opening of the railroad's mainline along the south side of the river between Bridge Junction and MacDougal. A post office was established at Bachman at some unknown date, however the town was included in a 1917 list of West Virginia post offices.

A list of mines in West Virginia for the year ending June 30, 1907 listed the Bachman mine as a drift mine, operated by the New River Valley Coal Company, with a post office address at Fayette. On January 30, 1908, nine workers were killed in a mine explosion at the Bachman mine. The Annual Report of the Dept. of Mines for the year ending June 30, 1913, listed the"River Valley Colliery Company" as operating the Bachman mine. That year, the company shipped 7,164 tons of coal. The coal was mined by electric cutting machines and hauled by mules.

The name of the mine was apparently changed from Bachman to Atlantic in about 1917, and another mine opened soon afterwards. These mines were known as Atlantic Nos. 1 & 2. West Virginia mining records [1] indicate the Bachman mine was operated by River Valley Coal Co. during the period of 1907-1917 and Maryland Coal Mining Co. between 1917-1921 -- the Atlantic mines operated by the Atlantic Coal & Iron Company from 1921-1923.

A 1921 list of coal mines in West Virginia listed the Atlantic Coal & Iron Co. as operating the Atlantic Nos. 1 & 2 mines, with its post office address shown as Bachman. The Coal Field Directory of 1921 indicated that Atlantic No. 1 mine was mining the Sewell seam, of 42 to 52 inch thickness. The Atlantic No. 2 mine mined the Sewell seam of 42 to 60 inch thickness. Both mines were drift mines. Mules and electric locomotives were used for mine haulage at both mines, operating on tracks of 42 inch gauge. Both mines used machine mining and purchased power (most likely from the Virginian Power Company) The tipple used gravity screens to size its coal. Daily tonnage for No. 1 was listed as 450 tons and 400 tons for No. 2. Employment was listed as 150 workers for No. 1 and 96 for No. 2.[2]

A 1923 Fayette County publication cited the same company as operating the Bachman mine, describing it as a drift mine working the Sewell seam, with thickness of 3 ft. 6 in. That year, the company employed 44 workers who worked 75 days. The company's offices were in located in Bachman. Only machine mining was done, but four mules were used to move of coal. J. W. Garvey was superintendent, and E. H. Turner was foreman.

Judging from what little information found regarding the Bachman mining operation one might assume the colliery remained a relatively small operation through its years of operation and the life of the mine was relatively short in comparison to most of the mines in the New River Gorge. An article published in 1922 in The Black Diamond indicated the Atlantic Coal & Iron Company, owners of the mining operation at Bachman, West Virginia, were being sued by the mine's former owner, the New River-Maryland Coal Mining Company.[3]

1922 article regarding the owners of the Bachman mine being sued by the mine's former owners


Exploring Bachman

Rafter's Reference: The ruins of Bachman, if any, are located downstream of the New River Gorge whitewater on Hawk's Nest Lake.


Sources

[1] West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, mine data tonnage reports
[2] The Coal Field Directory for the Year Ending 1921 via Google Books
[3] "Operating Company is Sued" in The Black Diamond (July 22, 1922) via Google Books