Sunday, December 6, 2015
Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine- Beckley West Virginia
I have really wanted to stop at the Exhibition Coal Mine for some time, and I finally got the chance on our way back from our trip to Gettysburg.
This attraction was even more cool than I imagined.
You buy your ticket inside of the museum area. This is a nice place on its own, as there are some interesting displays on coal mining, specific to this area of West Virginia. I personally enjoyed seeing a display on the baseball teams the miners would form!
After exploring the museum, our tour was called and we got on a very interesting cart to explore the mine.
The carts run on a track, and you go through the mine seated sideways. This was a confusing way to move at first, but you quickly get used to moving left and right instead of backwards and forwards.
We had a great guide named Roger who would stop at certain points and explain parts of the mining process. He covered issues including getting paid in scrip, the company store, the (often lack of) help given to miner widows, housing, safety and many other topics.
No walking is involved on the tour, and the carts move at a generally slow pace. Plus, with an animated and knowledgeable miner guide like Roger, this is a great trip for anyone.
After the tour through the mine, you can explore the various buildings at the exhibition mine. Most were authentic structures brought in from other nearby mining towns. Each building has a staff person available to tell you about the building. We particularly enjoyed the church and schoolhouse.
Before leaving, we did visit the Exhibition Mine's well stocked merchandise area. I was VERY pleased to see a HUGE selection of local interest books!
Check Beckley out when you can, this is a great little community with a lot to do!