Remnants of coke ovens at Nuttallburg, a ghost town that was once one of about 50 places that sprang up in the deep West Virginia forests along the New River in the late 1800s in response to America's voracious demand for coal in the heart of the growing nation's industrial revolution. Founded by England-born entrepreneur John Nuttall, the town became the focus of national attention in the 1920s when, in an effort known as "vertical integration" to gain control of all aspects of production, automobile industrialist Henry Ford leased the town's mines to provide coal for his company steel mills. The Fordson Coal Company's plan failed when it became evident Ford could neither control, nor afford to buy, the railroad that shipped the coal his mines produced. He sold interests in the Nuttallburg mines in 1928. Although a National Park Service site today, Nattallburg -- one of the most complete, coal-related historical sites in America, is accessible only along narrow (sometimes one-lane) dirt roads that take some perseverence to find and traverse. Photo by Carol Highsmith, 2015.
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Categories & Keywords
Keywords:coal towns, coke ovens, ghost towns, henry ford, john nuttall, national park service, nuttallburg, west virginia