WVExp.com
The West Virginia. Cyclopedia


Fire Creek (historical)

From West Virginia (WV) Cyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
USGS 1913 map showing Fire Creek
1901 C&O track diagram showing Fire Creek

Among the earliest of coal operations in the New River Gorge, the Fire Creek Coal & Coke Company was incorporated in 1877, being largely financed by the Coit interests of Hartford, CT. The incorporators were John Freeman, Thomas Davis, Jenkins Jones, Joseph S. G. Coit and Samuel Coit. A post office and Presbyterian Church were established at Fire Creek soon after the mines were opened.

Sixty coke ovens were operating at Fire Creek in 1880, the number of ovens increasing to ninety-eight by 1892. A circa-1896 list of collieries in the Third Mining District listed the Fire Creek Coal and Coke Co. as operating the Fire Creek mine, and having 142 workers. The mine was a drift mine working the Fire Creek seam with thickness of 3 ft. 6 in. The company employed 142 workers. G. H. Caperton was the mine superintendent, and the company's post office address was Fire Creek.

In a 1906 C&O Railway publication the Fire Creek Coal & Coke Company is listed as operating one mine, a tipple, power plant, 96 coke ovens, a company store, and providing rental homes for miners. The 1910 population of Fire Creek was an estimated 260 persons, according to the West Virginia Geological Survey. The 1920 census listed the town's population as 420.

In 1923, the Fire Creek Coal & Coke Company was operating the Fire Creek mine, a drift opening in the Fire Creek coal bed with thickness of 3 ft. 4 inches. The company employed 62 workers, and had 70 coke ovens, 64 of which were in operation. Only pick mining was done, with one locomotive and four mules used to move the coal.

'Rafter's Reference: the ruins of the community of Fire Creek are located on river-right, around the mouth of Fire Creek. The ruins of the community of Red Ash are located on the opposite side of the river, just upstream of the broad, river-left bottom.

Fire Creek Depot, ca. 1890s
At left, photo of the C&O's 1890s-era wooden depot with octagonal cupola, at Fire Creek. The Fire Creek depot survived until the late 1930s. Photo, ca. 1890s.
coke ovens at Fire Creek, ca. 1890s
At left, photo showing the Fire Creek Coal & Coke Company's battery of beehive coke ovens in operation at Fire Creek, ca. 1890s.
A section of Fire Creek, ca. 1890s
At left, in foreground a section of the town of Fire Creek can be seen, that includes several coal company dwellings and buildings, the C&O Railway depot, and a church. On the opposite side of New River, a section of the coal mining town of Red Ash is shown in the photo.


Dwellings across from coke ovens at Fire Creek, ca. 1890s
At left, laundry is drying on the clothes line at one of the houses across from the smoldering beehive coke ovens at Fire Creek, ca. 1890s.