Mary McKinney’s drawings of her “future McDowell.” Really inspiring documents here, folks. This is just a few examples of ideas for Keystone and Landgraff out of a whole package she gave me. I dare anyone to tell me the people of McDowell don’t have ideas for improving their communities. It’s time we take these ideas to those in power and make things happen in the coalfields.
We challenge EVERYONE to share the Hollow teaser today to show the other side of what MSN Money calls “the poorest county” in West Virginia. Despite the abandoned buildings and poverty, there IS hope and beauty in McDowell. https://vimeo.com/44657010
The photo above was taken in Coalwood, WV in December 2011. At one point in time, Coalwood was a booming coal mining town and home to many families and a thriving community. Coalwood reached its peak in the 1960s and finally shut down production on October 1, 1982…today it is left with the scars and skeletons of industry.
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SoLost is the original video series by The Oxford American that celebrates getting lost in the American South. SoLost is an off-kilter video journey through the side roads, backrooms, cellars and psyche of the modern South. With subjects prospected by master image-maker and Southern back-roads champ Dave Anderson, we delight in the tastes, sounds and myriad cultural delights of this our glorious landscape. Join us every month as we unveil a new episode of SoLost: artful, online video shorts that explore the complexity and vitality of the American South.
Children of Clabe Hicks, miner, Ten people, two adults and eight children live in a four room house for which they pay $11 monthly, plus $1 monthly for water and $2 monthly for electricity, 08/27/1946 (NARA)
Interesting slice of a McDowell County community from 1981. A feature Story about Northfork High School. Northfork HS has since been closed and consolidated into Mount View High School. At this time, they had 700 residents now there are 429 (2010 Census)
Al Gravely had one of the few barber shops that I know of in the area. In fact, I can’t think of another one off the top of my head. His shop was located on McDowell Street in Welch, West Virginia. Anyway, I was fortunate enough to have captured this shot of Al not long before he retired. The man in the chair is Henry Paul, former mayor of Gary, West Virginia. This shot was taken in April of 2009. Last account I had someone else had re-opened Al’s barber shop.
Community Blog Post and Photo by Alan Johnston—Hollow
After 70 years together, the pair is still going strong and were recently declared West Virginia’s longest-married couple.
Both McDowell County natives, the two met in War in 1941 and were married six months later on Dec. 6, 1941, the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“I was from War and he was from Coalwood,” Juanita said. “We just met casually when we were both walking down the street in War. I was 17 and he was 19 years old. Our first date was to a place where people went to dance in War. We were together about six months before he asked me to marry him.”
McDowell and Mercer counties have again found themselves in the bottom tier of counties when it comes to the well being of children
Both counties ranked in the bottom 10 of the 55 counties in the state, with McDowell County ranking last while Mercer County ranked 49 out of 55, according to the 2011 West Virginia Kids Count survey released Tuesday.
The report found McDowell County ranked the lowest in the state in seven categories including the highest number of students in the state on free-and-reduced lunch at 82.9 percent, the highest number of children in poverty at 52 percent, the highest high school dropout rate at 23.6 percent, and the highest number of children born to mothers without high school diplomas at 33.3 percent.