About two weeks ago we decided to head to Beckley and check out one of their attractions- a real life coal mine. That’s quite the novelty for a couple of South Carolinians that have no coal mining experience.
The tour when we first arrived was full and they actually gave us a discount to join the next tour into the mine (score!). While we were waiting for our allotted tour time we pulled our packed lunch out of the car and ate at a covered gazebo where there were some picnic tables. After lunch the kids checked out the train and then we headed to explore the buildings on the property. Among the building were a miners company house, a bachelor’s shanty, church, schoolhouse and superintendent’s house.
The buildings were moved to the property from authentic coal mining towns. We learned about the company store and how miners became indebted to the store. After exploring the buildings it was time for our tour. We boarded a little train that headed into the coal mine. This was a working mine until 1920 when it was closed. In the 1960s the property was purchased and the mine was opened to tourists. Our tour guide used to work as a coal miner. He talked to use about coal mining history and was able to show us some equipment used from various times.
It was a neat experience going into the mine. The temperature was cool and when the lights were turned out- it was very dark. I would hate to be down there with no light. Once the tour was over we visited the museum and checked out all kinds of coal mining artifacts.