Coal Heritage in MarionJune 18, 2018
Did you know coal mining deaths in Marion County rival the number of Marion County veterans who died in foreign wars?
It’s an unfortunate comparison, but one that should be remembered. Coal mining might be coming to an end but there’s no end to history and heritage.
If you want to brush up on your coal history, take a trip to…
Coal Country: Enjoy spring, putt putt and education! There is coal and mining paraphernalia spread throughout the course; and at each hole, read the sign to understand how this quirky course truly takes its cue from the mines. And if fun isn’t enough education for you, head to the museum! Coal Country is also the perfect place to brush up on those coal shoveling skills.
Marion County Historical Society: Coal mining is such a big part of our history for both good and not so good reasons. The Historical Society remembers both sides of this double-edged sword.
Arts and Antiques Marketplace: This business is, unbeknownst to many, more than both arts and antiques! Their Black Diamonds coal mining display is massive and informative. And if that’s not enough, shop around for some coal- and mining-related antiques.
Marion County Visitors Center: The Visitors Center houses a display of coal mining equipment and a coal miner. That’s right. Frankie lives here day and night. Frankie is a very tall, carved, wooden statue of a miner. Stop by and see him sometime!
Palatine Park: A life-size, hand-carved 6 foot tall coal miner statue was included in the park in 2018.
Fairmont: The West Virginia Miners Memorial is much less cartoonish than Frankie and is maintained at the Mary Lou Retton Park. It pays tribute to miners from multiple counties who did not make it home to their families.
Monongah: 361 miners – men and boys – died in the Monongah Mine Disaster. 171 of them were Italians. Although the shock of it has faded, Italy has kept the memory of the men alive. Aside from Italian government officials funding the upkeep of the cemetery, the Italian town of Molise (which lost 87 men in the explosion), donated the the bell in the town square.
Mannington: The No. 9 Mine Disaster Memorial commemorates the mine explosion that occurred Nov. 20, 1968, that killed 78 miners.
Country Club: You don’t even realize that every time you eat a pepperoni roll, you’re celebrating coal mining heritage. This is all because of one very important coal miner: Giuseppe Argiro. He was an Italian immigrant who ate the typical coal miner’s lunch of bread and pepperoni. That is, until one day, when he decided to bake the two together. And the rest is history… and present-day West Virginia. He quit the mines and opened, you guessed it, Country Club Bakery.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re surrounded and filled with the memories of the mines – in the parks, in the stores, in the restaurants, just about everywhere.