Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Coal (Ghost) Towns

In his many travels, my Dad sometimes finds places he knows would attact me beyond all reason, places where the details are so fascinating that he could envision me slowing wandering through them time and again, assimilating images into my mind for later use in my art or writing. Usually he calls me immediately (or as soon as cell phone service returns) and taunts me with this knowledge. My jealousy delights him. . . oy.

Well, as I was wandering the by-ways of the internet today I found this site and, like my Dad, it taunted me with environments that could dominate my consciousness for hours, even days at a time. The official title of the site is "Coalfields of the Appalachian Mountains," but its site address ( reveals more about its purpose and content than its title. Specifically, this site describes the coal towns and camps throughout the region, including maps and photos, which began their decline as seams were emptied and Old King Coal died. It isn't the fanciest site, but what it does well it does very well.

The effect is, frankly, haunting. This is one of those sites that, if you're familiar with the region, will bring up many mixed feelings - like visiting a beautiful cemetary, for lack of a better metaphor. I have little doubt that this is about to become one of those sites I check on once a week or so, desperately hoping for updates.


Steven said...

Thanks again, Eric, for sharing another cool bit of info.

clydean said...

Eric, (my youngest son's name) please, can you give me location of photo of houses on hill dated Wed. May 24, 2006? It looks like the hill I remember my grandmother living on in War, W.VA. where I was born, but left in 1957. I was 10 when we came to N.Carolina, but W.Va. will never turn loose of my heart. And I won't let it.
Clydean Stillwell Jackson

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