The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Kaymoor, West Virginia

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Kaymoor "Bottom" viewed from tram at Kaymoor "Top", circa 1946
The area of Kaymoor viewed from Beauty Mountain
Remains of coke ovens at Kaymoor
Perspective of the New River Gorge at Kaymoor
Kaymoor tipple

In about 1899, the Low Moor Iron Company opened the Kaymoor mine to supply fuel for its iron furnaces in Low Moor, VA. The mine was named Kay Moor, in honor of its builder, James Kay. The company built two complete towns, at the top of the gorge (Kaymoor Top) and at the bottom (Kaymoor Bottom). Coal from the Kaymoor mine was coked at the Kaymoor plant before shipping to the company's Virginia plant. The company also sold surplus coal on the open market. In 1910 the population of Kaymoor was 375 according to the W. Va. Geological Survey (1919).

The Kaymoor mining operation served the company well until 1924, when a fire destroyed Kaymoor's processing plant. Due to the declining market for pig iron, Low Moor chose to sell the mine rather than rebuild. Kaymoor was purchased by the New River and Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company, a subsidiary of the Berwind-White Company, in 1925. Soon afterwards the new owners build a modern corrugated metal processing plant at Kaymoor and continued to modernize the plant in the following decades. The Kaymoor operation was closed in the early 1960s and was the last large mine to operate in the New River Gorge.

In 1923, the Low Moor Iron Co. was operating two mines, known as Kaymoor Nos. 1 & 2 Both mines were drift openings working the Sewell seam, of 3 ft. and 3 ft. 4 in. thickness. That year the company employed 300 workers who worked 152 days. The mine used pick and machine mining, and used two mules and 17 electric locomotives to move the coal. Kaymoor No. 1 had 202 coke ovens, of which 101 were in operation. At Kaymoor No. 1, J. W. Monteith was superintendent and H. E. Clingnman was foreman. L. Montieth was superintendent and D. H. Stull was mine foreman at Kaymoor No. 2.

The ruins, mine openings, and remaining structures at Kaymoor are now historical highlights of the New River Gorge National River. Three hiking trails -- the Kaymoor Trail, Kaymoor Miners' Trail, and Cunard-Kaymoor Trail -- provide hikers access to the remnants of the upper and lower towns. The latter trail also provides access for biking. The National Park Service is building a stairway along the route of the haulage-way from the mine area to the processing plant at river level.

Rafter's Reference: The remains of Kaymoor tipple complex are located at river-left between Upper Kaymoor Rapids and Lower Kaymoor Rapids.

Hiking Trails: The area of Kaymoor and the remains of the Kaymoor mining operation at the bottom of the New River Gorge is accessible to hikers from either the Kaymoor Trail or the Cunard - Kaymoor Trail or the more physically challenging Kaymoor Miners Trail.