New River Gorge National River
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
The town of Glen Jean-and a small empire-began as a wedding gift. In 1870, Thomas McKell of Ohio received about 12,500 acres of West Virginia land from his father-in-law. After geologists confirmed the presence of coal, McKell purchased another 12,500 acres. The resulting 25,000 acres formed the McKell empire with Glen Jean at its center.
McKell named the town to honor his wife, Jean Dunn McKell. He opened a mine, leased property to others, and workers rented his homes. By 1904, at least ten mines paid royalties to McKell, and he and the town thrived. When Thomas McKell died in 1904, his son William carried on, eventually reputed as West Virginia's richest man. With no heirs, his death in 1939 marked the onset of Glen Jean's decline.
Collins later sold his mine to one of the largest companies in the region, the New River Coal Company. Each company had its own currency, called scrip, that it used to pay wages and could be used only at the company store. Miners could for cash, but didn't get paid as much if they did.
Erected by National
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 37° 55.666′ N, 81° 9.335′ W. Marker is in Glen Jean, West Virginia, in Fayette County. Marker is on Main Street (County Road 25/9) just south of McKell Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 42 Main St, Glen Jean WV 25846, 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. Glen Jean Athletic Club (within shouting distance of this marker); Bank of Glen Jean (within shouting distance of this marker); Play Ball! (within shouting distance of this marker); Mount Hope Landmarks (approx. 2 miles away); Mount Hope Early Town History (approx. 2 miles away); Mount Hope Coal History (approx. 2 miles away); Dubois School History (approx. 2 miles away); Mount Hope School History (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Glen Jean.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 21, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on January 21, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker in context. • Can you help?