The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Ephram (historical)

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Tipple of the Ephraim Creek Coal & Coke Company
Commissary of the Ephraim Creek Coal & Coke Company
Long incline of Ephraim Creek Coal & Coke Company by which coal was hauled from the top to the tipple at the bottom of the gorge
Ephram shown on the 1913 USGS topo map
1911 map showing coal lease land of Ephraim Creek Coal & Coke Co.
A map of 1880 showed only "Buffalo" in the area of Ephram and Thayer
Map of 1903-04 labeled the present day location of Thayer as Slater.

The community of Ephram was developed as a company town in the early-1900s by the Ephraim Coal & Coke Company. The mining operation apparently opened in 1901, as the state mines report for the year ending June 30, 1901 identified the mining operation as "a new mine just being opened". The 1902 report shows the company as having two mines in operation, named Buffalo Nos. 1 and 2.

Prior to this development, there was apparently little settlement around Ephram. A C&O map of coal mines circa-1895 showed no mines between Alaska and Quinnimont, and map from 1903-04 showed "Slater" as the only place in the area. A 1906 C&O publication and a 1911 Fayette County publication lists the Ephraim Creek Coal & Coke Company as operating the Buffalo mine, with a post office address at Thayer, W.Va. A 1921 list of mines in West Virginia showed the same company was still operating the Buffalo mine as well as the Slater mine near Thayer. State mining records indicate that the Ephraim Creek Coal & Coke Co. operated the Buffalo-Slater mines from 1903-1926.

Also mapped as Ephraim, Ephram "top" was located high on the flank of the New River gorge above the east bank of New River. The community and mine operated on a bluff below the rim of the gorge, and via a long incline, the coal was transferred down to a tipple located along the C&O Railway just downstream of Thayer. The name of the community may often be confused with that of Ephraim Creek, a tributary of the New River near Fire Creek, located several miles downstream. Ephraim's population in 1910 was 150 according to the W.Va. Geological Survey of 1919.

Variant Names for Ephram, WV



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Additional Sources of Information

The following article about the Ephraim Creek Coal Company from The Black Diamond, Vol. 62 can be read and downloaded (PDF) at Google Books.

Rafter's Reference: High on the flank of the gorge on river-right, Ephram is among the ghost towns of the New River Gorge that is inaccessible to paddlers. The community is located high above Silo Rapids.