Glen Rogers, West Virginia

Glen Rogers, West Virginia, a coal camp in Wyoming County, contained a large general store, hotel, fueling station and two schools. It was one of the largest coal camps along the Virginian Railway system – and its mines were one of the deadliest in the state.

Glen Rogers was constructed in 1918 by the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company 1 with the #1 mine opening in 1921.6 Served by the Virginian Railway, Glen Rogers was named after Massachusetts-born business tycoon Henry Huttleston Rogers who founded the Virginian using $30 million of his own money.7 The Virginian was the combination of the Deepwater Railway Company of Fayette County and the Tidewater Railway Company of Virginia, and was completed to the Atlantic Ocean in 1909. The railroad operated in competition with the Chesapeake & Ohio and the Norfolk & Western, and coal produced at Glen Rogers, one of the largest along the Virginian network, was sent to power plants in the United States and to ocean vessels for export.

The Virginian railroad, completed to Wyoming County in 1912, snaked up Marsh, Milan and Laurel Fork, and featured a lengthy tunnel at Polk Gap. At its height, Glen Rogers was served by an elementary and high school, a hospital that later became a hotel, a large two-level company store, an amusement hall and a fueling station. The mines, the county’s largest, employed over 1,000 men in 1930.1 By 1933, the mine produced 867,340 tons of coal, ranked second in the state.8

Mining Incidents

There were some incidents at Glen Rogers that gave the coal mines a terrible, lasting reputation. On September 23, 1922, during the construction of a 720-foot deep shaft at the Glen Rogers #2 mine, equipment fell on five miners killing them.2 An explosion on November 6, 1923 at 7:30 A.M. killed 27 individuals at the #1 mine, and a Charleston Daily Mail article initially reported that 12 had died, with another 30 trapped in the mine.3 6 Twenty-three men, uninjured, were rescued and brought to the surface. The cause of the explosion was reported to be likely the ignition of gas from the back fire of a shot, or by a spark from short-circuited wires that ignited volatile coal dust,4 but the explosion occured because of a methane gas buildup.5

There was an underground gas explosion that occurred on January 6, 1931, which claimed 8 at the #2 mine, and a “mountain bump,” or a roof collapse on the #2 mine that killed 5 on December 9, 1957.2 The mines closed in 1960 and the the Old Ben Coal Corporation of Chicago, who had purchased the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company around 1930, went bankrupt.1 By the time of its closure, a total of 160 employees were killed at Glen Rogers, making it one of the most dangerous places to work in West Virginia.


Glen Rogers is still serviced by a railroad, in the hands of Norfolk Southern, although it has been out of service for over a decade. The hospital still exists, albeit in a state of serious disrepair, and the company store is only a mere shell. The elementary school serves as the Glen Rogers Manor, an assisted living center, while the high school is abandoned.


  1. DellaMea, Christopher. “Glen Rogers.” Appalachian Coalfields. N.p., 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. Article.
  2. “WV MINE DISASTERS 1884 to Present.” West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training. West Virginia Department of Commerce, 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. List.
  3. “12 Dead, 30 Trapped in Glen Rogers Mine.” Charleston Daily Mail 6 Nov. 1923: n. pag. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. Article.
  4. “Mining Town Mourns 27 Dead.” Charleston Daily Mail 7 Nov. 1923: n. pag. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. Article.
  5. Scholz, Carl. The story of Glen Rogers, West Virginia. N.p.: Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Co., 1933. Print.
  6. Lilly, Karl C., III. “Glen Rogers Mine Disaster .” West Virginia Encyclopedia. West Virginia Humanities Council, n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. Article.
    1. Dillon, Lacy A. They Died in the Darkness. Parsons: McClain, 1976.
    2. Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States. : U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration, 1998.
  7. Lilly, Karl C., III. “Virginian Railway .” West Virginia Encyclopedia. West Virginia Humanities Council, n.d. 5 Nov. 2010. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. Article.
  8. Robinson, Ed. Introduction. Wyoming County. By Robinson. Charleston: Arcadia, 2005. 8. Print.


  1. i have lived here my whole life thinking that some one should have fixed these buildings up they would make a wonderful tourist attraction and perhaps bring some business here.

  2. What did you mean about Glen Rogers being on Virginia Railroad was one of the largest and one of the most deadliest. Are you talking about a coal mine?

  3. My Mom and Dad are the owner of Glen Roger Company Store and the Amusement Hall and Fueling Station and they told redone it and it was like brand new and they invested over a Hundred Thousand of Dollar. And the people of that community of Glen Roger Destroy everything that was done. It for sales if anyone want to buy it. It got destroy by the community of Glen Roger. And I forget the year we shut it down. That how it got abandon because it was destroy by the community.

    • I saw your comment online. I was distressed to hear about your Dad investing all that money in the facilities there and having them get destroyed.
      Some people will cut off their nose to spite their face.
      Peggy, I know your dad Benny. He was a classmate of mine through elementary and high school. I also knew his dad Cubie(sp) and used to talk with
      him in the poolroom at times.
      I attended several of the reunions but never saw Benny. Some of the classmates didn’t seem to want to attend the things. How is Benny doing these
      days? What did he do for a living? How many brothers and sisters do you have? Why is our house the only one still standing on the old cow road? Does someone still live there? And one more thing-about how many people live in Glen Rogers now?

      PS-I taught high school chemistry and biology in Hampton, Va. before retiring after 40 years on that job. I have 3 grown children and two grandchildren.

    • I grew up in Glen Rogers and went back many, many times from Va and NC. Exactly when was all that money spent? I went back because my Mom, Blanche Alderman, and my sister, Phyllis Sizemore, lived there for a long time after the mine closed. The buildings decayed because that is what old buildings do. They do not need any help. The people who lived there that I knew would not have destroyed anything.

  4. My Father Earl Day & his brothers & Father worked in the coal mine for many years back in the early 40’s does anyone know where I can get any pictures of the workers or does anyone know them I would love to hear from you Teresa Day

  5. My name is dave fletcher. My parents were boforeveborn and raised in glen rodgers. My father is don fletcher and my mom is wiledene fletcher maiden name cozort. Her mother was adie snuffer. I used to live in glen rodgers as a kid. My grandmother dorthy fletcher owned the last house up in storehouse holler. My parents left glen rodgers to find work in maryland where I now live. I have very found Memories of my short time there and I will forever be attached to glen rodgers because practicly all my family is from there. Most of my surviving relatives now live in beckley.

    • Hi Dave;
      I knew both your Mom and Dad. Your Mom lived for years with Charlotte and Weedy Allen. Charlotte was my Mom’s first cousin. We used to walk down to their house many evenings and watch TV. I remember the night your Mom was saved in Davis Camp Baptist Church. The last time I saw her you were just a little boy and you lived up Store House Hollow. I went to school with your Dad. Are your Mom and Dad still living? My maiden name was Alderman.

  6. I was born in Glen Rogers in 1953 and my family moved to New York in 1964. During a brief visit back to Glen Rogers I ran into some folks that said there is a book about the mines and a list of those that died in the mines. If you have any information regarding where I might find the book, it would be appreciated.

    • There were two books written by Lacy A. Dillon – “They Died in the Darkness” and “They Died for King Coal” – which were written about the deaths of coal miners in West Virginia. My mother, Stella Greer, was born and raised in Glen Rogers. Her father, Charles Smith Greer, died in the Glen Rogers coal mine when she was just three years old (1944). My mother’s aunt, Emily Greer, as well as her son, Dennis Greer, lived there for their entire lives. I have fond memories of visiting my family in Glen Rogers and think it is a shame that the buildings are in such disrepair.

    • John there is a book about Glen Rogers called Reopening Glen Rogers by Bud Perry and Karl C. Lilly III. In the back of the it says if you was to purchase they are priced at $15.00 plus $2.50 for taxes, shipping and handling. Send check or money order payable to PAL Productions and send to Bud Perry, P.O. Box 256, Tad, WV 25201 to to Karl C. Lilly III, 1809 Oakwood Drive, Sissonville, WV 25320. I have the book my Dad and Mom own and doing a project on Glen Rogers but the book is so informative and a great read. Hope you are able to get a copy. Luanne Simpson

  7. what was the names of employees in1956 my dad Arnold French bailey worked there

  8. Was born in Glen Rogers in 1945. Dad had worked there for several years. Beginning in the late 20`s Dr. Took him out of mines in 1950 having been diagnosed with silacous (black lung) So we had to move. Still had family living there until 1960 when mine shut down (Taraczkozy,Herron)

  9. For Peggy Philyaw
    Exactly when was all that money spent? I went back and forth from Va and NC for years and once the mine was shut down I don’t remember anything but gradual decay. (buildings do that without any help) I went there because my mother, Blanche Alderman, lived there for a long time and my sister Phyllis Alderman Sizemore even longer. I grew up there and the people that I knew would not have destroyed anything!

  10. I lived with my Grandparents (Quince/Maggie Dickens) in Bolt, WV when I was maybe 4 and 5 years old. But my Dad was from Glen Rogers (Danny Simpson) and I spent a lot of time at my Grandma’s house (we called her Ma). Her name was Julia Simpson. I remember what a grand town Glen Rogers was. It was way ahead of it’s time. There was everything anyone needed. It was a wonderful place to grow up as a young child. My parents and I drove over the mountain to Glen Rogers some years ago while there for my Grandma’s funeral (Mom’s Mother). I came away from Glen Rogers with a pit in my stomach or a yearning in my heart. I still do just writing this note. It was a place that I would love to go back to in time. It was just so very sad to see the earth taking over Glen Rogers.

  11. I think my late husband, Farley Dean Gross, was born in Glen Rogers in September of 1940. His father is George Gross and mother is Dorothy Price Gross. My husband died in 1970. Both his parents are gone. Best as I remember them talking they moved from Pikeville, Kentucky to either Glen Morrison or Glen Rogers. Then they moved on to Crown City Ohio and from there to Athens Ohio which is where I met my husband. If anyone recalls any of this family, please e-mail me. I’d love to give our kids some OLD family history before I pass.

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