Glen Rogers is a former company town built by the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company in Wyoming County, West Virginia.
Glen Rogers, a company town, was constructed in 1918 by the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company. 1 The town included a hotel, a company store, an amusement hall, a fueling station, and numerous company-owned houses. 1
A school was built in 1928 and replaced with a larger facility in 1951.
The community was named after the Massachusetts-born business tycoon 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 West Virginia to ports along the Atlantic Ocean in 1909. The railroad operated in competition with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and the Norfolk & Western Railway.
Glen Rogers was one of the many company towns served by the Virginian and served Glen Rogers via a branch line that included a tunnel at Polk Gap and numerous bridges along Marsh, Milan, and Laurel Fork.
The Glen Rogers No. 1 mine in 1921 6 and by 1930, the mines employed over 1,000 workers. 1 They produced a combined 867,340 tons of bituminous coal in 1933, the second largest output for the state. 8 Coal produced at Glen Rogers was sent to regional power plants for electric generation and to ocean vessels for export.
In 1930, the Old Ben Coal Corporation of Chicago purchased Raleigh-Wyoming Mining. 1 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 720-feet deep shaft at the Glen Rogers No. 2 mine, equipment fell on five miners crushing them to death. 2
- An explosion on November 6, 1923, at 7:30 am, 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
- An underground gas explosion occurred on January 6, 1931, which claimed eight lives at the No. 2 mine. A roof collapse occurred in the No. 2 mine on December 9, 1957, killing 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.
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]
- 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.