Today was amazingly cool.
I’d been put in contact with a guy who is a well recognized expert in the battle itself as well as the general area in which it happened. He turned out to be my favorite kind of expert. A guy who’s knowledge doesn’t come from reading a million books and writing a thesis, rather his expertise comes from the fact that his grandfather fought in the Battle of Blair Mountain. His local expertise comes from the fact that he’s lived and worked there his whole life.
We went all over the place. He showed me the battle site itself. (Well, part of it. The true “battle site” follows a ridge line for about ten miles. He then showed me the area as it stands today and the effects that modern coal mining has had on Logan County, West Virginia. I saw dozens of places that used to house communities and now stood empty. I saw mountaintop removal mining upclose and first hand. I saw the aftermath; what coal companies euphemistically call “reclamation”.
I have pictures, and I’ll post them, but my time in Charleston grows short. I have to pack my car and hit the road.
Tonight I have a dinner date. With dad and my sister and my nieces.