A coal mine in the distressed Appalachian Mountains city of Welch, West Virginia. In the first half of the 20th century, as railroads arrived and coal mines sprang up throughout the region, Welch became a prosperous city: the hub of retail business for a county approaching 100,000 in population, and the location for three hospitals. After the production boom of World War II, oil began to supplant coal, and the mechanization of coal mining reduced the number of laborers needed in coal production. McDowell County's population peaked in 1950 and began a decline over decades to follow. In 1960, however, McDowell County still ranked number one in the United States in total coal production. The City of Welch proudly proclaimed itself "The Heart of the Nation's Coal Bin." Photo by Carol Highsmith, 2015.
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Categories & Keywords
Keywords:coal, mine, mural, town, welch, west virginia