The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Finlow (historical)

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Tipple, coke ovens, and incline of the Brooklyn mine, ca, 1919
1901 C&O track diagram showing Brooklyn mine
1911 topo map showing Finlow/Brooklyn area
1929 topo map of Brooklyn/Finlow area

Brooklyn/Finlow was located on the south side of New RIver, about 5 and a half miles west of Thurmond, WV. Both the name of the mine and the railroad station established here were named Brooklyn. However, the post office was named Finlow. The date the post office was established is unknown but most likely about the time the mine was opened in the 1890s. Finlow was included on a 1917 list of West Virginia post offices. According to the W.Va. Geological Survey of 1919, the population of Brooklyn (Finlow) in 1910 was 166 person. The town's population in 1920 was 420.

The Brooklyn mine was opened at about the time C&O's South Side Branch was extended from Rush Run to Bridge Junction, a point just downstream and opposite Sewell. The corporate charter for the Brooklyn Coal Company was issued December 26, 1891.

State records indicate the Brooklyn Coal Co. was operating the Finlow mine during 1894-1895, and the Brooklyn mine from 1896-1904. The Brooklyn mine was operated by New River Smokeless Coal Co. between 1905-1908; New River Collieries Co. during 1909-1910; and Scotia Coal & Coke Co. from 1911-1953.

A West Virginia mining report for the year ending June 30, 1899 indicated that 50 beehive coke ovens were "about completed" at the Brooklyn mining operation. In a report for the year ending June 30, 1900 the Brooklyn Coal Co. was listed as operating the Brooklyn mine, a drift opening in the Sewell seam of 4'2" thickness, with 72 employees.

The report for the year ending June 30, 1901 indicated that the Brooklyn Mine opening was located 795 feet above the level of the railroad and that an incline 1,800 feet long connected the mining opening to the tipple located at railroad level. Three mine cars were run down the incline per trip, each having a capacity of 1 and 1/2 tons. The mining operation was using Sullivan and Harrison compressed air machines, and the steam-powered power plant supplying electrical power for the operation was located at the foot of the incline.

The mining report for the year ending June 30, 1904 states that New River Smokeless Coal Co. absorbed the Cunard, Brooklyn, Red Ash, Rush Run, Sun Nos. 1 & 2, Royal, and Lanark Nos. 1 & 2 mines during that year. That year the mine had 48 employees. Late in the winter of 1906, C. J. Wittenberg, of New York, assumed control of the New River Smokeless Coal Company.

In 1909, the New River Collieries Company improved the methods used to transport coal up and down the 1,800 foot long incline used at the Brooklyn coal plant, which apparently increased the loading of coal into the tipple by 50 percent. An article in the September 1909 edition of 'The Colliery Enginer' provides many details about and drawings of the improvements made to the incline used at the Brooklyn mine.

Finlow was listed on a circa-1896 map of the New River Gorge as the site of the Brooklyn Coal Company and, in 1906, as Scotia Coal & Coke Company, operating 65 coke ovens.

Little if anything is left of Finlow/Brooklyn today. Finlow (Brooklyn) is accessible from the Brooklyn-Southside Junction Trail or the Cunard-Kaymoor Trail.

Rafter's Reference: Remnants of this small community, if present, would be located on river-left, just downstream of Plowshares Rapids.