Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 2, 2013

Exhibition Mine

Great attraction in our own backyard


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — All too often we tend to take our greatest local attractions for granted. There are several great tourism destinations in our own backyard. Unfortunately, not all families in our region have visited these local attractions.

The list of local destinations is long and impressive, and includes the Historic Crab Orchard Museum in Tazewell; the official state coal miner’s memorial in Richlands; the historic Kimball World War Memorial in McDowell County; the historic Sanders House in Bluefield, Va.; Camp Coalwood and the home of the Rocket Boys in McDowell County; Pipestem State Park in Summers County; Pinnacle Rock State Park in Bluewell; the Breaks Interstate Park in Buchanan County; downtown Bramwell and the Historic Home of the Bramwell Millionaires; and of course the new Hatfield-McCoy Trail in Mercer and McDowell counties.

However, one of the oldest and most recognized tourist stops in our region is the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine, an attraction which first opened to tourists in 1938. It is the only exhibition coal mine in the world in which tourists can view the famous Pocahontas No. 3 coal seam, and is the only exhibition mine recognized as a national historic landmark, according to Mike Hymes, the Southern District member of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

Hymes, along with Northern District supervisor Tommy Childress, helped to oversee ceremonies last week that included the unveiling of a new historic marker outside of the exhibition mine.

The small town of Pocahontas is gearing up for another season of the exhibition mine with the added benefit of an influx of out-of-town visitors from the neighboring Hatfield-McCoy Trail in Bramwell. Adding to the excitement is the expected start of construction this summer on the town’s own segment of the new Spearhead Trail system. These are in fact exciting times for the greater Pocahontas area.

Pocahontas Mayor Benjamin Gibson says volunteers have been working for the past several weeks to prepare the mine for this season’s opening. He says the official grand opening date won’t be for another three weeks.

We join the town of Pocahontas in looking forward to another great exhibition mine season. It’s a great attraction in our own backyard that merits strong support.

We also would encourage all area families who have not visited an actual underground mine to consider a tour of the Historic Pocahontas Exhibition Mine. It’s a great way to learn about our region’s unique history, and the legacy of the world-famous Pocahontas coal.