Whipple Junction in Fayette County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
Community Life in a Coal Camp
— Coal Heritage Trail — National Coal Heritage Area Interpretive Site —
In many coal camps, there were cash prizes for the best flower gardens, but vegetable gardens were illegal. Why? Vegetable gardens fed families during strikes, something mining companies wanted to avoid at all costs. Many miners wives planted beautiful flower gardens by the house but also secretly planted vegetables in the nearby woods.
Church was an important part of the social fabric of a coal camp. There was a Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Catholic Church, each one identified on its own hill—Methodist Church Hill, Prestbyterian Church Hill and so on. Coal miners worked Monday through Saturday and were expected to be in church on Sunday.
Coalfield baseball was very popular. Every coal camp had its own baseball team and competition was fierce. Miners who could play baseball were recruited and given work assignments above ground. There was a ballgame every Sunday in season and large crowds would gather to cheer for the home team. Some players even made it to the major leagues. Behind the Whipple Company Store was Ballpark Hill, the one ballpark for all five coal camps. Major league teams often played exhibition games in Southern West Virginia after their season was complete. In fact, the Cincinnati Reds played Scarbro on October 10, 1908.
“Not a day went by that you weren’t in the company store.” —Jane Nicholls Burke, daughter of Superintendent of Oakwood and Whipple.
The company store was the hub of the coal camp. Not only was it a commercial center, selling everything from automobiles to zippers, it was the focus of social life and contained the post office, bank, doctor’s office and undertaker. The Whipple Company Store even had a ballroom upstairs for the elite of the community.
Topics. Industry & Commerce • Labor Unions • Natural Resources. A significant historical date for this entry is October 10, 1908.
Location. 37° 57.507′ N, 81° 9.945′ W. Marker is in Whipple Junction, West Virginia, in Fayette County. Marker is at the intersection of Okey L Patterson Road (West Virginia Route 612) and Scarbro Road (Local Route 1/5), on the right when traveling east on Okey L Patterson Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7485 Okey L Patteson Rd, Scarbro WV 25917, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Coal Barons (here, next to this marker); Disaster Underground (here, next to this marker); Labor Strikes and Conflicts (here, next to this marker); The White Oak Valley (here, next to this marker); Hank Williams Memorial (approx. 1.2 miles away); Hank Williams — The Last Ride (approx. 1.4 miles away); Oakwood Mine Complex (approx. 1.4 miles away); Oak Hill Railroad Depot (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Whipple Junction.
More about this marker. This interpretive panel has seven illustrations. Clockwise from upper left, these are the captions: “Scrip from the New River colliery.” The Whipple Company Store. “ Players on the Scarbro team, circa 1906.” “Six young ball players in Nallen, West Virginia.” “The Rialto Theatre.” “Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Whipple, 2012.” “Woman in garden, circa 1904.”
Credits. This page was last revised on October 3, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 106 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on October 2, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 2, 3. submitted on September 26, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4. submitted on October 2, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.