Exploring Red Ash

Red Ash is one of my coal camps along or near the New River in West Virginia and is best known today for its intact coke ovens and cemetery.

Red Ash is one of many coal camps along or near the New River in West Virginia. Developed by the Red Ash Coal & Coke Company in 1891, it was said that the coal deposit was of high quality because its flame burned with a fine “red ash.”

Red Ash was notable for its 80 coke ovens that were unique in that they featured dual doors to facilitate the use of mechanical arms to more efficiently load and unload coke. The community was also near Red Ash Island which was also used to house people that were afflicted with contagious illnesses such as during the smallpox epidemic from 1900 to 1905 and the influenza pandemic in 1918. The island also included a baseball diamond, a dancing pavilion, swimming holes, and a cemetery.

Red Ash’s mines were exhausted by the mid-1950s.

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