Glen Rogers

Glen Rogers Hotel / Boarding House

Glen Rogers is a former company town built by the Raleigh-Wyoming Mining Company in Wyoming County, West Virginia.






History

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. 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 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.

Mining Incidents

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.







Further Reading


Sources

  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.
  9. Amusement Hall. Dobson, Sone & Valente. Oct. 1990. West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
  10. VGN Track Charts c. 1967, Multimodal Railways.

46 Comments

  1. Try to image how life in Glen Rogers would have been in our town if only both roads had been built into Glen including the present one and the one Carl Scholtz wanted built from Raleigh County through Davis Camp. I have the feeling that traffic through Ravencliff and Saulsville would have been reduced over the years and still today people would have taken the
    5 mile route shorter route to Beckley as Scholtz wanted. The Bolt Mountain round-about would have been much reduced, and people would have traveled through Glen Rogers to get to the rest of the county. Maybe I’m wrong, but I wish Raleigh County had built a road too.
    Laymond North

  2. In the booklet written by Carl Scholz who named Glen rogers after H.H. Rogers entitled The Story of Glen Rogers
    there are several pictures of Glen Rogers in the early days. The first photo is a picture of the Glen Rogers town-site.
    in 1920. It is a photo taken as best I can surmise from above the site of the old school. Five houses are shown where the two creeks used to come together and above the houses is what I called the Cow Road. Looking at the photo closely with a magnifying glass, I see the start of that Cow Road. It has a railway track laid on it. It was probably what they called a tram way in those days. At first they pulled cars loaded with logs, coal or whatever with horses or mules. Later the road became the dinky tracks in other places. The highways were terrible in those days and these were necessary.

    A later photo shows a photo of the first store. It was wooden and had a dinky track in front of it, and a dinky is pictured blowing steam or smoke as it is approaching the store. There is even a flag pole. It must be dated at circa 1922. What happened to that store? I never saw it, and have no idea where it was located. It is not the pool room-
    theater combination that burned down in the 1940’s because it is not next to the creek. Did it burn down too?
    Laymond North

  3. Does anyone know Geneva (Jan) Birchfield? She was born in 1934 and went to Glen Rogers High School. Her father was William Jennings Bryant Birchfield–sheriff, preacher, moonshiner. Her mother was Girthel (Wood) Birchfield. Lots of brothers and sisters. We’re trying to piece together some of Geneva’s family history–she’s getting dementia and can’t remember it all. She was friends with Betty Jean Bilbrey, Sue Marie Petrie, Alice (no last name) and Ray Rudesil. She got married in 1954 to a guy with the last name of Marsh. Anyone familiar with this family?

    1. Jean, I remember you and your sisters well. I once lived right beside you, and I went to school with one of your sisters. We were the Brooks Family.
      James Brooks

      1. gloria
        I tried to send you the reply at your email, but it just came back so I’ll reply here.
        The spray pond was built to cool the hot water and steam that was produced in the power house across the creek and road to make electricity with. I lived above the pond on the Cow Road from 1941 to 1960 when the mine closed. The spray wasn’t used after about 1950 when the mine bought its electricity from the Appalachian Power company. Their line came across the mountain in back of the mine. I hope you are still able to read this although I have my doubts.
        Laymond North

  4. Hi glen rogers, west Virginia I was born in glen Rogers, in 1951 , I am trying to connect with my roots my grandfather, was the late Archie king and his wife Katie bell king , my mother dola ., if anyone knows any of my family please reply,

      1. Hi Gloria, Yes, I’m related to Little Jimmy Dickens. He’s actually my second cousin, my Mom’s first cousin (Betty Marie Dickens (Simpson) and of course my Grandpa and Grandma’s nephew. I lived in Bolt maybe it was 1957 or so. I went to the school there in 1st and 2nd grade. My Grandma Maggie Dickens was the only cook at the school for many many years. We lived in a house when you come up the road and you can turn right to go to the school and the road actually went to the left and down the road a little ways our house was on the left right as you start to go down the hill. There was a road that went up to the right across from our gate. The house looks NOTHING like it was back then. It was beautiful with a swing at one end of the porch and a glider on the other end with rocking chairs of course. My cousin Anita Dickens and I used to ride our bikes all the way down to the hard road and go to the store for candy. We were only maybe 5 or 6. But back then it was called country living and Grandma never knew where I was until someone there in Bolt told her they saw me at so and so’s house. LOL I cherish all the memories from Bolt and Glen Rogers. Where do you live now? I found someone on FB by your name and she lived in Dayton, Ohio. Is that you? Because I’m originally from there but I’ve been in Texas for 36 years. I’m on FB under my name. Look me up.

        1. Well, I am Luanne’s cousin. And probably the
          Best! my uncle Danny and Aunt Betty are simply the best. I just saw the head stone of the uncle my daughter is named after! Such an awesome reminder/ family time frame. Morgan Carr Simpson!

  5. We acquired the grade school in 2001 to build an assisted living facility and bring jobs to the area. I have lived in Pineville all my life and never really knew much about the Glen Rogers area until we started to work there. GR has really good, honest, hard working people in that area, but along with anything good there usually is some bad. We started the major renovation on the grade school and at least once a week someone would break in and steal the tools. Once they wheeled them out the door in our wheel barrow and walked down the road to their home. Finally the man installing the sprinkler system installed an alarm system to keep people from stealing, but that didn’t really help either because even though the staff at Angels packette (across the road) would call and say the alarm was sounding, by the time police or us would arrive, they’d be gone. After we hooked up the hot water heaters someone broke in and tried to steal the copper from the building. The boy pulled the copper and got burnt, this is the only way we found out who had been doing this for months. The police ask what we wanted to see happen and I responded, “make him come work with us building this facility so he can see that good things are available to him”. Instead they put him in jail. His Mother and his brother both have worked for the facility. Bad decisions do not make bad people. Prior to opening Glen Rogers Manor in 2007 we worked with DHHR welfare to work program who had an open house at the facility where we explained what services we provide and the training available so we could employ those living close by. This small act filled an entire room which showed me there were people that wanted to work, but had no transportation. We trained and employed 15 people from Glen Rogers and they went to work and off state assistance. I felt this in itself was an accomplishment, and since we have employed many people from the Glen Rogers area and they are some of the best people I’ve met. My response is in reply to Miss Peggy Annette Philyaw, the “community” of Glen Rogers can not be blamed for what happened to your buildings. You can blame only the select few that actually did the destruction. If a building is allowed to set with no heat, no air and no people to bring it alive, then it becomes a structure of what it once was, and only memories exist. To read what others are writing about growing up in the area, there seems to be many wonderful memories. This makes me smile to think that we were able to go into a community that was once so alive and bring some of that living back by providing jobs close to home where for so long there were none. Thank you GR for allowing us to do that.

    1. So, Luanne, are you related to “Little Jimmy Dickens?” What years did you live in Bolt? I was born in Glen Rogers in 1949. My dad and my grandfather both worked in the coal mine. At some point, we moved to Bolt and lived there until I was about 5 years old. We lived in the house right next to a tavern on the main road. 10 years or so ago, my daughter and I visited the area and i was struck by how very beautiful it was. We pulled into the parking lot in front of the tavern and a very nice woman living in our old home came out and spoke with us, and we also spoke with a man who owned or at least worked at the tavern, and he actually remembered my family. There was a sign on the fence out front that boasted, “Birthplace of Little Jimmy Dickens.” I think my dad went to school with him in Glen Rogers. We used to listen to his music growing up. ☺ My parents were John and Mary Watts. My grandparents, who lived just down the road in Glen Daniels, were Ed and Etta Johnson.

      1. I’m not Laymon but Betty was a good friend in high school. I remember her and her brother, Bobby, but not so much the rest of the family. I would love to know about Betty.

      2. My name is kenneth earl fanning an my grandparents lived down the road from jimmie dickens . In fact their house was mext door to the school. Gramps name was william fanning and his wife was naomi. I used to go there in the summer and it was beautiful. I was born in glen rogers in 1946 my mom was ida mildred and dad was sydney. I remember going yo the company store to biy bb for my red ryder inmy uncles studenaker in 1951. I also vividly remember the multi colored creek behind their house. The last time i saw jimmy dickens was in the 90s in columbus ohio where he was playing at a private sportsman club. I was amazed when talking with him to discover he remembered my grandparents. We left glen rogers about 1949 goong to pikeville then catlesburg then ashland and finally columbus. I spent 22years in the army and retired as a sargeant major in 1983 but bolt and glen rogers have always had a special place in my heart. I havent been thru there since 1985 but am planning a road trip this summer with my grand kids.

    2. What buildings do you own? I would love the opportunity to see what you have done. Apparently, my family was a stample in Glen Rogers” in the 30’s my daughter is named after my 2 great uncle. Would love just to see. Morgan Carr Simpson was his name and is on the Glen Rogers plaques.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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)

    1. Dear Mrs. Sutton. Sorry for the late reply. Just revisited this site and saw your post. My dad passed away a few years ago from lung cancer. My mom lives with me now and she is about to turn 80. My email is frescohomes@yahoo.com so please write me back so I know you got this and we can further communicate.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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

  10. 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.

    1. No,I don’t know when the passenger trains stopped. I suppose that when the roads got built so that autos and the buses could pass, the trains weren’t necessary. I do remember that the trains carried packages into Glen Rogers. I got my first bike down at the freight office not far from the logs kept along the road and not far from the Company Store. I can’t agree with you that the Halloween destruction was minor. I would hate to have to pay the bill out of my Social Security check for cleaning up that damage and having a crew of carpenters rebuild that many coal houses and outhouses for about a month and a half work per year over a period of 30 years. There was a destructive element that I perhaps saw that you didn’t see on the male side of things. Do you remember the Lamphouse with all those broken windows. Thrown rocks broke them? Do you remember the the broken furniture of Mrs. Lilly that the cast in the Sr. play tore up? Without law and no one ever being held accountable for their deeds, the destruction of the buildings followed.

  11. 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.

    1. Of course you are right Laymond. There are always people who would make themselves poor by being just plain mean; but, they are in the minority. You are also right about Halloween. We were never allowed to go out. Pushing over toilets and coal houses once a year does not equate to the kind of destruction that P.P. alluded to.

      I was wrong about the hill road above Davis Camp. That was called the Coal Road.

      The logging trains did run on the narrow tracks. They actually brought in construction materials when the mine was being built. They also added passenger cars sometimes so the residents could travel from one small town to another. I have a very sweet and unusual family story about that. Do you know when they stopped operating in Glen Rogers?

  12. 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 teresa.downey@ang.af.mil

    1. Vera:
      Maybe the people that you knew wouldn’t destroy anything, but that doesn’t mean that no one would destroy anything. I doubt that you ever went out on Halloween Night and pushed over so many toilets and coal boxes that it took the carpenters a month or two to rebuild them. What about the logs at the side of the road that got thrown into the road on Halloween? These activities happened every Halloween. And Vera,
      I found out that the Cow roads were built early and had rails on them to transport logs, coal and other materials on. I have a photo of rails on them.

        1. Hi Laymond

          I was interested in an item of info in your message. We always called that area where you guys lived “Spray Pond Hill.” What we called the Cow Road began at the bridge entering Davis Camp and ran up along the mountain up behind the row of houses that were along the creek that ran behind our house. I am Margaret Alderman’s sister Jean. Just wanted to compare notes.

          Jean Alderman Humphrey Sutton

          1. Hello folks! My name is Ramon Singley. I am the son of Alberta and John Singley and was called Mickey as I grew up in Glen Rogers.

            Mr. King, owned the only shoe repair business in Glen Rogers. My Grand Father was Jake Fullen and he was the only Barber for in the area for the African American population. I knew you family well and went to school with Richard and Skippy.
            We were bused to Conley High School because we
            We no longer had a high school in Glen Rogers
            and we were unable to go to Glen Rogers High School in Mullens because the law kept the public
            Schools segregated until the 1950’s.

            The year after we were moved to Conley High School, the Glen Rogers boys helped Conley win its first, and I believe ever, State High School F ootball Championship. Richard King was a star on that team as an End, commonly called Wide Receiver today.

            I live in Los Angeles and Las Vegas now and seldom get back there anymore, except occasional trips back to attend West Virginia State University Homecoming Football games.

            Contact me at singjoylv@ cox.net or 310-266-7037. I am happy I’ve had an opportunity to communicate with you and I hope we will have an opportunity to talk by telephone or relate on the internet. Take care and may God bless you and your family.

  13. 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.

    1. 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?

      Laymond
      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.

    2. 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.

  14. 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?

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