Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine, Pocahontas

4.4
#985 of 1,222 in Things to do in Virginia
Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine, also known as Pocahontas Mine No. 1, or Baby Mine, is an inactive coal mine in the Pocahontas Coalfield, near Pocahontas in western Virginia. The mine was the first in the sub-bituminous coal of the Pocahontas Coalfield, opening in 1882. In 1938 it became the first exhibition coal mine in the United States. Uniquely, it was possible to drive one's automobile through the mine, entering through the fan opening and exiting through the original entry. The practice continued until 1970, when it was discontinued due to damage to the roof of the mine from car exhaust.The site is also notable for its history of coke production on site for transportation by rail to steel mills. Pocahontas coal was especially suitable for coking, and played a significant role in the industrial development of the United States. Coke and coal were shipped by rail to Norfolk, Virginia for trans-shipment to eastern US ports and overseas. Coking on the site was eventually discontinued, and the mine spoil pile now covers all but three beehive coking ovens.This mine, when active, supplied the United States Navy a majority of its coal through both world wars. Its smokeless quality allowed ships to go undetected from distances, thus giving the Navy an advantage over enemies. By the end of the second world war, coal in the "baby mine" was waning. technology was advancing and reducing the number of miners required to do the work and allowed for the creation of the exhibition mine. In 1955 mining ceased in Pocahontas altogether.
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Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
24 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • As a historian studying Appalachian mining communities, I was interested in visiting this mine. However, some of the information relayed during the tour of the mine was inaccurate and incorrect. The m...  more »
  • Easy stroll, very informative. The ladies working there are very nice and friendly. $10 for the tour. It's well worth the price.  more »
  • I visited the mine, but never went into it. I talked to local council member, and she became interested in learning more about him, and where he was buried. But she couldn't find the burial site after...  more »
Google
  • We stopped by to take a look and definitely worth the time. Lots of history in places like this. The museum is free to browse. We paid for the tour of the mine and it was worth it. The mine is very open and well lighted. Our guide was very patient and knowledgeable as I asked a lot of questions. She even pointed out several fossils in the rock formations and helped us to get the lighting correct for a good photo. I would recommend to anyone visiting the area.
  • Lots of good information about mining, exhibits included models, old photos, actual equipment used and an interesting and informative tour of the Pocahontas Coal Mine. Staff was extremely knowledgeable, helpful & friendly. Great value. Tip: take a jacket or sweater for the mine tour.
  • The tour guide was very informative and the museum is excellent! Great experience!
  • Pretty cool for people to see if they don't know anything about mining. If they do know about mining it's even cooler to learn the history of this place and see it in person.
  • Google information is not correct. Drove one and a half hours to visit and it's closed on Wednesdays. Today, I tried calling to suggest they may need to change the information online; the young lady who answered hung up on me not once, but twice.

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