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Redstar, West Virginia

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Redstar, or Red Star, was developed as a company owned mining town by the Star Coal & Coke Company in the 1890s. The mining operation was located along Dunloup Creek, northeast of Glen Jean, in Fayette County. The first coal shipped from the Redstar mining operation occurred on December 7, 1893.[1] The Redstar operation was among the first group of mines to open in the Loup Creek coal field and it was the only colliery to own its own property. The first mine opened was called the Star mine, a drift mine that worked the Sewell seam of about 4'7" thickness.

The Red Star mining property was opened and developed by George W. Jones, as president, treasurer, and general manager. Jones resided in an elaborate home on a 600-acre tract of rolling farm land (Lundale Farms), adjacent to the town of Oak Hill, West Virginia. The entire output of the Star mines were marketed through the New River Coal Company of Charleston, West Virginia, of which G.H. Caperton was president and George W. Jones was vice-president. Note that the New River Coal Company should not be confused with the New River Company, of Macdonald, West Virginia, which was an entirely different coal company.

Laura Mine

The Laura mine was located along Dunloup Creek about 3/10s of a mile upstream from the Red Star mining operation. The mine, operated by the Laura Mining Company, first shipped coal during the year ending June 30, 1904. The Laura mine was a small operation, having a daily output of 30 tons of coal per day and employing only 8 workers at about the time that the mine worked out, which occurred during FY 1917. The mine worked a parcel of coal land leased from the McKell Coal & Coke Company.

Map: Coal Mines near Red Star, 1919

The 1919 map below shows the mines in the Red Star area, including the Laura Mine. The Red Star coal land extended to the north, towards the community of Hill Top.

Map showing coal lands of the Macdonald mining operation. Click map to view an enlarged version.
   

Map of Red Star and Vicinity

View a larger version of this map

Photos

During 1917, the Star Coal & Coke Company replaced its original tipple with a very up-to-date and modern tipple (by 1917 standards). The tipple was equipped with shaker screens, picking tables, and loading booms, all of which were electrically operated.

Tipple workers tend the picking table at the Star mine, ca. 1919
Tipple of the Redstar coal plant, ca. 1919
The Star Coal & Coke Company's coal plant, ca. 1919

Photographs taken in 1908 at the Laura Mine near Red Star by Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC).

Young boy shovels coal in the Laura mine, 1908
Miners at the portal of the Laura mine, 1908
   
Tipple and power house of the Redstar mining operation, ca. 1906
1894-95 map showing early mining towns of the Loup Creek Coal Field
1911 map showing Scarbro, Wingrove, Glen Jean, Redstar, Hilltop, Harvey, and Prudence

Sources

[1] Shirley Donnelly "Yesterday and Today", Beckley Post-Herald, March 29, 1972