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Royal, West Virginia

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Royal, circa 1920s
Royal mine, ca. 1912, when operated by the New River Collieries Co.
USGS 1913 map showing location of Royal

The first mining operation in Raleigh County was opened at Royal in about 1890-1891 and was located across the New River just downstream from the C&O railroad station at Prince. Lacking a rail connection, coal was carried across New River from the Royal mine to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's mainline by use of a wire cable suspended across the river. The span of the cable across New River from the tipple near the mine opening across New River was 700 feet and the entire length of the cable was 2300 feet. Large metal buckets were suspended from the cable, and operated and dumped by use of a pulley system. Thirty-two buckets were employed, and the mine able to produce 400 tons of coal per day using this system. During the mid-1890s, the company built a bank of 78 coke ovens at its loading facilities (on the north side of the New River) at Prince.

Shortly after the completion of a railroad bridge across the river in about 1899, the Royal mine was able to load coal from a tipple on the south side. The railroad bridge was built as part of C&O's Piney Creek Subdivision, a branch line built to open the undeveloped coal fields in Raleigh County, completed in 1901. The W.Va. mining report for the year ending June 30, 1901 stated that during that year the company had built a new drum house, incline, and tipple. The report also noted that the company was still making use of its 78 coke oven located across the river just below Prince. The ovens were being supplied with coal by two ton buckets carried over the river on a cable. The mine opening for Royal was located 710 feet above the level of the railroad, and a 1700 foot long incline connected the mine to the tipple located along the railroad. Two boiler-shaped monitors of 6 tons capacity were used to convey the coal down the incline.

The Royal Coal and Coke Company was incorporated on May 15, 1890 by J. Fred Effinger, F. B. Berkeley, Henry D. Peck , William Prince, and C. M. Figgat. A circa-1896 list of collieries in the Third Mining District of West Virginia listed the Royal Coal and Coke Co. was listed as operating the Royal mine, a drift mine working the Fire Creek seam with thickness of 3 ft. 6 in. James Kay was superintendent, and the company had 169 workers. The company is shown as having 78 coke ovens in operation (at Prince.)

State mining records indicate the Royal mine was operated by the Royal Coal & Coke Co. during 1892-1903; Royal Coal Co. from 1914-1927; and Royal Mining Company 1936-1940. The mining report for the year ending June 30, 1904 states that Royal was among the mine absorbed into the New River Smokeless Coal Co. during that year. Other mines absorbed by the new consolidation included Cunard, Brooklyn, Red As, Rush Run, Sun Nos. 1 & 2, and Lanark Nos. 1 & 2. The mining report for the year ending June 30, 1914 noted that the Royal mine had been idle for several years until being taken over by the Royal Coal Company which had began shipping coal from the mine on Jan. 15, 1914.

The ruins of foundations at Royal may be found near the National Park Service's gravel road from WV-41 to the mouth of Glade Creek.

Rafter's Reference: The ruins of Royal are located at river-left, opposite and just downstream of Prince.


Railroad bridge across New River between Royal and Prince