The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Michigan (historical)

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Michigan tipple, circa 1906
C&O track diagram of Michigan from 1901
USGS 1913 map showing Michigan and vicinity

The Michigan mine was opened in 1900 by the Masterson Coal & Coke Co. which operated the mine for only one year as the Masterson mine. During 1901-19, the Michigan Coal Company operated the mine as the Michigan mine. When built, the wooden tipple at the Michigan mining operation was said to be one of the largest tipples on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O). The tipple was built at a cost of $15,000, and had a 14,000 ton daily capacity.

The mining operation was located on the north side of New River, about 14 miles west of Thurmond.

The state mining report for the year ending June 30, 1901 reported that the mine was working the Sewell seam, of thickness ranging from 3'3" to 4' in height. The entry point of the mine was located about 300 feet above the level of the railroad. An 700 foot long incline connected the mine with the tipple located along the railroad. The coal was hauled over the incline by running 2 mine cars per trip, each having a capacity of 1 1/4 long tons.

State mining records ([1] indicate the Michigan mine was operated by: Michigan Coal Company between 1901-1919; New River Export Smokeless Coal Company between 1921-1928; American Export Corp in 1929; and New River Smokeless Coal Co. in 1933. The West Virginia Geological Survey for Fayette County, printed 1919, reported the Michigan Mine, formerly owned by the Michigan Coal Co., was then owned by the Boone Coal & Coke Co.

A 1906 C&O publication listed the Michigan Coal Company as operating the Michigan mine, noting the company was owned exclusively by C. G. Black, W. F. Boone, J. A. Boone, D. Boone, and Jas. D. Boone.

A 1911 Fayette County publication listed E. G. Blume as operating the Michigan mine, with a post office address at Fayette, W.Va. A 1921 list of mines in West Virginia listed the New River Export Smokeless Coal Company as operating the Michigan mine, showing the company's post office address as Fayette, W.Va.

A 1923, the New River Export Smokeless Coal Company as operating the Michigan mine, a drift opening in the Sewell seam with thickness of 3 ft. 6 in. In 1923, the company employed a total of 190 workers at its three mines, who worked 119 days. Only machine mining was done, with 20 mules and 5 locomotives used to move the coal. A. R. Jones was superintendent, with A. Jones as mine foreman at the Michigan mine.

In later decades, the Elmo, Michigan and Newlyn mines tended to be collectively referred to as "Ames" by most local residents, after the name of the mining company that operated a mine in the vicinity of Michigan during the 1940s. See: Ames

Rafter's Reference: the ruins of Ames (Michigan) are located on river-right, just upstream of Old Nasty Rapids.


(1) West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, mine data tonnage reports