Monday, April 25, 2011

This land: How the peaks fall, a coal town disappears

Monday, April 25, 2011

A village called to achieve a lost American place, here just a thin road follow as it about an Appalachian Valley dirty ground, passing on a coal operation or two, a church or two, unspools twilight. Fit of the trucks. Beware the car hunting dog.

Locate agape, on the right side for a lonely House, an abandoned union hall with its front door neat, yellow and hidden in the silence. This is remains of a West Virginia community called Lindytown almost everything.

In the small living room, five generations of the family portraits look on Quinnie Richmond, 85, has convened the memory, and her son, Roger, 62, problems, who can not forget them: many children all about enough to Mr Cook's school bus of every morning; fill the Sunday services in the simple Church; the white linen lined up on clotheslines; The echoing clatter of horse shoe night; the feeling of home.

But the coal, which helped, also destroyed Lindytown. Here was the Church; Here was the Tower; now it is all, gone along with his people. Also the surrounding mountain peaks are over. The soft-rock of me, that we burning, makes our light bulbs, our laptops, our way of life to help heavy equipment has stripped the trees, the Earth, the rock away - call which coal companies the "overburden".

Now, weak, mechanical beeps and grinds from above are that those who quietly, occasional, seam fragmentation blast the Lindytown except for the upset.

A few years before, a subsidiary of Massey Energy bought, a large mining operation behind and above the Richmond home has, Lindytown. Many of the inhabitants signed documents in which they also agreed not to sue against statements, inspection Massey offered by search or "Make a negative comment" of coal mining in the area.

One could say that both parties were motivated. Massey of dear people live so close to the mining on the mountaintop mining have operation. And prefer life in the middle of a dusty industrial operation, which was the natural world of this change some residents, with area roots deep in the 19th century. So sold the Greens, as well as the chefs, and the Workmans, and the Webb...

But Quinnie Richmond husband, Lawrence - who died a few months ago, at 85 - feared that leave the House in 1947 was his wife, could disrupt, has Alzheimer's disease. He and his son Roger, a former miner who lives next door, granting the coal company report certain rights whose properties instead chose easements. In exchange for also agreeing not to negative note Roger Richmond make to, $25,000, received two Richmond households in mind.

"Hush money," he says, half smiling.

As Mr Richmond speaks, continue to the mining on the mountain behind him transform, if not delete, which extends to Woody which he studied in boyhood. It has exposed to a massive rock that almost seems to be fluctuating Richmond home. A few days, a frightened woman Richmond checks step on the rock from her small kitchen window away again to again to verify.

And again.

A dictator of fate

Here in Boone County, coal, and rules. The region of fate the rich bituminous black seams have dictated many generations: the arrival of the railways; the company controlled coal camp; the bloody my wars; the increased use of mechanization and open-cast, including mountaintop; the associated reduction of jobs.

The County has the largest surface mining project (the Massey operation) in the State and the largest number of coal workers (more than 3,600). Every year it gets several millions of dollars in severance tax from coal, and every June plays host of the West Virginia coal Festival with Fireworks, a beauty pageant, a memorial service for the dead miners, and shows the latest mining equipment. Without coal the Director of the County says Larry V. Lodato, community economic development corporation, "you could also turn out to be the lights and leave."

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