Glen Rogers is a former company town built by the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company in Wyoming County, West Virginia.
After extensive coal deposits were discovered by Carl Scholz, general manager of the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company, the company town of Glen Rogers was constructed along Laurel Fork in 1918. 1 9 It included a combination board house and hotel, a company store, an amusement hall, and residences. 1 A school was added in 1928 and replaced with a larger facility in 1951.
The town was named after Henry Huttleston Rogers who founded the Virginian Railway 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 from Mullens, West Virginia to ports along the Atlantic Ocean in 1909. It operated in competition with the Chesapeake & Ohio and the Norfolk & Western railroads.
Glen Rogers was served by the Virginian via a 14.8-mile branch line that included a 2,463-foot tunnel at Polk Gap, a 242-foot tunnel at Milam, and a 302-foot crossing over Road Branch, a 515-foot trestle over Mire Branch, a 302-foot bridge over Low Gap Branch, and a 167-foot crossing over Milam Fork. 10
The Glen Rogers No. 1 mine opened in 1921 6 and employed over 1,000 workers within a decade. 1 The Old Ben Coal Corporation of Chicago purchased Raleigh-Wyoming Mining in 1930. The mines, the second largest in the state, produced a combined 867,340 tons of bituminous coal in 1933. 8
Old Ben Coal went bankrupt in 1960 and the mines at Glen Rogers were closed.
Glen Rogers featured some of the most dangerous mines in the nation.
- On September 23, 1922, during the construction of a deep shaft 720-feet in height at the Glen Rogers No. 2 mine, equipment fell on five miners crushing them to death. 2
- At 7:30 AM on November 6, 1923, an explosion killed 27 individuals at the No. 1 mine. 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 backfire of a shot or by a spark from short-circuited wires that ignited volatile coal dust, 4 but an investigation revealed that the blowup occurred because of methane gas concentration. 5
- On January 6, 1931, an underground gas explosion claimed eight lives at the No. 2 mine.
- On December 9, 1957, a roof collapse occurred in the No. 2 mine that killed five. 2
By the time of the closure of Glen Rogers’ mines in 1960, a total of 160 miners had been killed, making it one of the most dangerous places to work in the state and nation.
- DellaMea, Christopher. “Glen Rogers.” Appalachian Coalfields. N.p., 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. Article.
- “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.
- “12 Dead, 30 Trapped in Glen Rogers Mine.” Charleston Daily Mail 6 Nov. 1923: n. pag. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. Article.
- “Mining Town Mourns 27 Dead.” Charleston Daily Mail 7 Nov. 1923: n. pag. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. Article.
- Scholz, Carl. The story of Glen Rogers, West Virginia. N.p.: Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Co., 1933. Print.
- Lilly, Karl C., III. “Glen Rogers Mine Disaster .” West Virginia Encyclopedia. West Virginia Humanities Council, n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. Article.
- Dillon, Lacy A. They Died in the Darkness. Parsons: McClain, 1976.
- Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States. : U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration, 1998.
- Lilly, Karl C., III. “Virginian Railway .” West Virginia Encyclopedia. West Virginia Humanities Council, n.d. 5 Nov. 2010. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. Article.
- Robinson, Ed. Introduction. Wyoming County. By Robinson. Charleston: Arcadia, 2005. 8. Print.
- Amusement Hall. Dobson, Sone & Valente. Oct. 1990. West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
- VGN Track Charts c. 1967, Multimodal Railways.