Monday, August 8, 2016

Beckley, West Virginia Coal Mine Tour

We took a break in our motorcycle action for some repairs, rest, and some sight seeing of another kind.  It was 80 km east over to a bigger town/city called Beckley, WV.  It was a crazy drive with roads I could only compare to those on Tortola.  It was steep and hilly with tight turns in many spots.  Cresting into the city, we were greeted by a great deal of traffic and congestion.

So we put some new tires on one of the bikes, and changed oil and spark plugs in another....  We found this really comprehensive coal mine village that had been recreated to look like it was operational from the early 20th century.  They offered tours within the mine, and tours of houses and facilities that a mining community would have had.  They had an extensive collection of tools and equipment too.

Without saying, well, with, coal mining was a horrendous job.  The working conditions were terrible.  Pay was terrible.  Safety conditions were terrible.  Company owners used to pay the workers in credit to buy supplies at the stores, which they also owned....  The owners owned all the housing.  Workers had to supply all their own tools and whatnot.  It was just incredible that people would do that.  However, undoubtedly people did.  Little pay, lots of back breaking work.  Yikes.

The narrated tour was interesting and we got a good snap-shot at what it was like.  The museum was really neat with lots of archives and artifacts from the time period.  The region is still highly dependent on coal as evident as the numerous coal mines still in production. 

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