Kempton, Maryland is located in Garrett County along the North Branch Potomac River along the West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway.

The WVC&P reached Kempton in 1914 2 with a deep underground mine opening a year later by the Davis Coal and Coke Company that included two 10-foot by 20-foot vertical shafts, one for miners and the other for coal.1 From 1915 to 1921, the Kempton Mine Company, a subsidiary of Davis, boasted an annual production of more than 1 million tons of coal. The tunnels extended for 12 square miles.2

The Compass Coal Company later purchased the mine.1

In April 1950, a sign was posted on the Buxton and Landstreet Company store that the mines would close in one week due to the coal reserves being exhausted earlier than expected. On April 15, the mine was closed and the pumps were turned off.1 Within six weeks, the deep mine was flooded. After the mine was capped, the mines held 1.1 billion gallons of groundwater that was used for Kempton, 50,000 gallons of  which entered into the mine every day.2 Three million gallons per day discharged from the mine into Laurel Run, causing acid mine damage that destroyed wetlands and aquatic life downstream.

In 2003, the Kempton Manshaft Sealing Project was completed that involved the construction of a vertical seepage barrier around the shaft to keep clean groundwater from infiltrating the mine. The barrier was mostly built of coal combustion products, such as fly ash.2 3

[stag_toggle style=”normal” title=”Sources” state=”closed”]
  1. Ghost Towns of the Upper Potomac. Parsons, W.Va.: Mcclain Printing Co., 1998. Rootsweb. Web. 12 June 2012. Article.
  2. Display sign.
  3. “Chapter 4 – Impacts of Power Generation and Transmission.” Maryland Power Plant Research Program, Feb. 2012. Web. 12 June 2012. Article.