Wednesday, July 5, 2017

West Virginia Trip Post #9: Eastern Regional Coal Archives

After driving through Coalwood, WV and seeing the Homer Hickman boyhood home we drove to Bluefield, WV to visit the Eastern Regional Coal Archives.  There was a stop in between to have what the outdoor sign said "The Best Milkshakes in West Virginia!"  They were good, but the best?  Hard to say.  :-)

The Eastern Regional Coal Archives are located in the Craft Memorial Library in Bluefield, WV.  I learned later that the high school students we were driving around were not all that excited about the visit to these archives.  That all changed once they arrived.  We were taken into a room and items from the archives were brought out for the students to browse through.  There were high school year books from the 1920s, old baseball uniforms, newspaper articles on the coal mine wars, etc.  The students spent more time at the archives than anticipated, primarily because they dug into this material and were excited to learn more.

The high school yearbooks were quite interesting, and horrifying, given what was contained inside.  There were several comments printed in the yearbook calling girls "fatties".  What?!?!  Under the item 'most likely to be...' there were references to 'a bum', 'homeless', and 'a hooker'.  The word 'hooker' wasn't used, but something else I don't quite remember that had the same meaning.  WOW!  Printed in high school yearbooks!  Yikes!

At the end of our visit I think everyone was glad we stopped at these archives.  We all learned quite a bit!  After this visit we drove to the New River Gorge Bridge, but you'll have to wait for the next post to see my pictures.  For more on the Eastern Regional Coal Archives, go here:

Eastern Regional Coal Archives

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