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Pocahontas Fuel Company Store and Offices

The Pocahontas Fuel Company operated a company-owned general store and regional offices in two distinct buildings in Jenkinjones, West Virginia.

Table Of Contents


Prior to the arrival of the coal industry in southwest West Virginia, the area consisted of scattered self-sufficient farmsteads and houses. Jordan Nelson, a local blacksmith, began selling coal from his land in the 1860s from a seam that was easily accessible. 3 During the Civil War, Confederate cartographer Jedediah Hotchkiss noticed coal outcroppings while surveying along Laurel Fork in Tazewell County, Virginia. He later hired Isaiah A. Welch to map commercially viable timber and coal reserves in the area. It was discovered that some coal seams were thirteen feet thick. 2 Hotchkiss boasted about the coalfield in his publications and exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. 3

The Southwest Virginia Improvement Company, organized by G.C. Wharton, was chartered by the Virginia Legislature in March 1880 to develop mining operations in Tazewell County, Virginia, and Mercer and McDowell Counties in West Virginia. 3 4 In March 1881, Dr. James O’Keefe of Pearisburg, Virginia, was hired by the Graham Group to serve as its land agent to acquire land north of Flat Top Mountain, and within a few months, O’Keefe had options on 31,000 acres of land along the Bluestone River and Laurel Creek.

In 1911, the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Company began construction of Jenkinjones, a company town to support their new No. 6, No. 7, and No. 8 coal mines in the Pocahontas No. 3 seam. 8 Jenkinjones was named for coal baron Jenkin B. Jones. 7 8 Along with his son, James Ellwood Jones, who was General Manager of the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries, they built a community with a general store, schools, a theater, and housing, among other amenities. A post office was formally established on October 15, 1912.

The Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Company became the Pocahontas Fuel Company in 1917, the same year that it erected a brick company store and office building. 1 5 The two-story buildings, designed by well-regarded Bluefield architect A. B. Mahood, exhibited simple Colonial Revival detail, brick walls, metal frame windows, flat roofs, and minor ornamentation atop a cut sandstone stone foundation. Atop the buildings are cornices where the company’s name was inscribed prominently in concrete. The southernmost structure housed a two-level company store and post office, while the northernmost building across the street had company offices.

The company’s Jenkinjones mine was one of its most successful operations, as it featured a unique drainage tunnel that allowed it to mine millions of tons of coal under 12,000 acres without the expense of pumping water out of the mines. 1

Production in the No. 8 mine ceased in 1953. 8 In 1955, the company signed a contract with the Daniels Company Contractors of Indiana, Pennsylvania, for a new preparation plant for its No. 7 mine. 9 The new facility included installing a DMS dense media system for preparing an eight-inch by ¼-inch run of coal.

The Pocahontas Fuel Company was acquired by the Consolidated Coal Company in 1956, which opened the No. 4 mine in the Pocahontas No. 4 seam in 1978. The No. 6 mine closed in 1980, followed by the No. 7 mine in 1983 and the No. 4 mine in 1989, ending all coal production at Jenkinjones.

The abandoned Pocahontas Fuel Company store and office complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.



  1. Pocahontas Fuel Company Store and Offices.” National Register of Historic Places.
  2. Fisher, Terri L., and Kirsten Sparenborg. “Pocahontas, Tazewell County.” Lost Communities of Virginia. Earlysville, Va.: Albemarle Books, 2011, p. 204.
  3. A Guide to the Pocahontas Mines Collection, 1883-1997.” Virginia Heritage, 2019.
  4. Schust, Alex P. “Into West Virginia 1881-1883.” The Norfolk & Western in West Virginia 1881-1959, Two Mule Publishing, Harwood, MD, 2018, pp. 1–26.
  5. Hunter, William M. “Pocahontas Fuel Company Offices.” West Virginia Historic Property Inventory Form, 16 Jan. 2012.
  6. Hunter, William M. “Pocahontas Fuel Company Offices.” West Virginia Historic Property Inventory Form, 16 Jan. 2012.
  7. Lewis, Ronald (2008). Welsh Americans, A History of Assimilation in the Coalfields. University of North Carolina Press, 2008, pp. 74–75.
  8. DellaMea, Chris. “Jenkinjones, WV.” CoalCampUSA.
  9. “Fuel Firm to Build New Cleaning Plant.” Post-Herald and Register, 18 Dec. 1955, p. 19.

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