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336 Mate St.
Matewan, WV 25678
USA

304-663-2202

The WV Mine Wars Museum preserves and interprets artifacts and historical records of the local communities affected by the Mine Wars, exploring historical events from multiple perspectives through the lives of ordinary people. The museum is dedicated to educating the public about the events of the Mine Wars era, including the history of the United Mine Workers of America in the local area; the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek Strike of 1912-1913; the 1920 Matewan Massacre; and the 1921 Miners March leading to Battle of Blair Mountain. Finally, it aims to educate youth, promote heritage tourism, and foster local economic development.

 

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Mine Wars History

The West Virginia Mine Wars are a dramatic and often overlooked chapter of American history. In the early 1900’s in the coal fields of Southern WV, miners faced desperate circumstances. Below ground they withstood some of the worst working conditions in America. Above ground they dealt with brutal mine guards and a mine guard system that controlled the politics and economy of the region. 

Mountaineer families from the nearby hollows, African Americans from the Deep South, and immigrants from places like Hungary and Italy all came together to fight for the right to unionize and basic constitutional rights.

While many know that the coal from West Virginia powered the industrial revolution and helped to make America the most powerful economic force in the world, very few people know of the struggle that took place in these mountains, in this place, and the rights that miners fought for between 1900 and 1921. 

From the Matewan Massacre to the Battle of Blair Mountain—the largest insurrection in U.S. history outside the Civil War—the WV Mine Wars are a collection of rich, historical treasures tucked away in these mountains. 

While the limelight of history may focus on people like J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, and what these captains of industry did to build America, it is far past time that we focus on names like Sid Hatfield and Mother Jones and look at their very significant contributions to the fabric of our nation’s history.

Check out our resources page for more information!