The story of a forgotten America.

Itmann Company Store and Office

The Itmann Company Store and Office was developed by the Pocahontas Fuel Company for their mines in Wyoming County, West Virginia.







In 1916, the Pocahontas Fuel Company acquired a lease to over 1,000 acres of land along the Guyandotte River and developed the coal mining community of Itmann, named in honor of the company’s president I.T. Mann. 1 2 The town was served by two small wood-framed company stores.

A more substantial combination office and company store complex, designed by notable architect Alex B. Mahood in the Classical Revival architectural style, was constructed between 1923-25. 1 Stone was hand cut from a cliff across the river, hauled down the hill and across the Guyandotte River, and lifted into place by dozens of Italian immigrant stonemasons. 1 2

The new office building featured offices for the coal company, a post office, a poolroom, a barbershop, and a doctor’s office on the first floor, with apartments on the second floor. 1 The company store sold everything for a miner’s family, from food and clothing to furnishings and burial caskets. Items were sold on the first floor, while the store’s office was located on the mezzanine. Large items, such as furniture, were stored on the third level. A small cafe was located on the ground floor.

By providing all of the goods and services in Itmann, Pocahontas Fuel could recover much of the money it paid in salaries. 1 It was also able to determine to a large extent, the quality of life for its employees.

In 1958, the Pocahontas Coal Company was acquired by Consolidated Coal. 1 The company remodeled the office building in 1976, which involved installing sheet paneling over the plaster walls, removing some of the original woodwork, and adding drop ceilings.

Consolidated Coal’s successor, Island Creek Coal Company, closed the mines at Itmann in the mid-1980s. 1 In 1987, the building was acquired by Billy Wayne Bailey, who maintained the structure for the post office, and for several beneficent organizations, including StoneHaven, a homeless shelter. 3 The post office relocated from the building in 2012.

The Itmann Company Store and Office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. 3 It is notable for its prominence in the mining town of Itmann and for its role in labor management, its representation in the movement of European immigrants to southwestern West Virginia, and its architectural significance.


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Sources

  1. United States. Dept. of the Interior. Itmann Company Store and Office. Comp. Mary E. Johnson. Washington: National Park Service, Jul. 1990. West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
  2. McGehee, C. Stuart. “Itmann Company Store.” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, 4 Dec. 2018.
  3. The Historic Itmann Company Store.” Foxfire Realty.

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